Alsómocsolád, Hungary

Alsómocsolád is located in Transdanubia at the northern limits of the Komitat Baranya, about 60 kilometres away from the centres of Pécs, Kaposvár and Szekzárd. In the East, the landscape around the village shows gentle slopes, in the West there are three fish ponds of 138 ha altogether. The settlement structure of the location that can only be reached following a dead-end road, shows the traditional rural family homes. Between 1949 and 2000 the number of inhabitants reduced by half from 749 to 348, since 2007 the number has increased slowly through migration to currently 380 inhabitants.

The “new life” started in 1991, when Alsómocsolád again became an independent municipality and the development of the village started with the objective to strengthen the community and make it more inhabitable. This was to be brought upon with the help of the villagers, investments into infrastructure, institutions and work places and consulting with a circle of experts, through services in order to increase quality of life and through regional and national cooperation and networks.

Under direct involvement of the citizens, a number of measures based on a project plan were implemented, which can only be mentioned briefly here: Extension of the road net, supply with potable water, TV and Internet, canalization with biological water plant, Telehaus, health, service and community house, morgue, youth hostel, sport and festival facilities, residential living for the elderly, guest house and conference centre, settlement of institutions such as mail office, district notary, village maintenance service and library and the creation of numerous offerings for further education and leisure activities. In order to farm the usable surfaces two enterprises have been established by the municipality: a cooperation for the marketing of crops in the year 2000 and since 2002 the Magro 2002 GmbH, who farms the majority of the agricultural areas of the municipality according to the guidelines of the agrar-environment program. Special attention was given to the topic energy saving in all walks of life and industry.

Some 19 objects in Alsómocsolád are subject to local protection laws or environment legislation and since 2004 the surface use and development plans apply. Every year in the summer the “Sculpture Weeks” take place. Objects created during that time will be exhibited in the village or inside the houses and distinguish the outlook of the village. In order to keep traditions and language alive, the community has published a number of books and pamphlets, which are delivered for free to the families in the village. Furthermore, different cultural, sportive or social events are organised almost every week. There is also a number of active societies and interest groups.

The social care is exemplary, either in the hands of the municipality or inter-regional, under consideration of the economic synergy effects. Apart from the so created 21 work places, the local pub should be mentioned, which delivers lunch for the social services, organises medicine, takes over transport for ill people and therefor as some extra income. Central point is the residential home for the elderly “Herbstlicht”, which offers 40 inhabitants from Alsómocsolád and surrounding villages complex services. From there, the mobile supply to another 29 seniors is organised, who still can live at home. The program “Bridge and Generations” is another remarkable initiative, based on an exchange of experiences between young and old, as is the fact that young people belonging to the German and Roma minority have self-independent administration rights. The municipality also supports some societies financially and the migration of young people and experts is actively supported with financial incentives.

From that point of view Alsómocsolád is a treasure trove of energies, which preserves traditions in a balanced way, realises innovations, creates alliances to improve the quality of life of the locals and strengthens the sense of community. Alsómocsolád was therefor awarded the European Village Renewal Award for holistic, sustainable and motto-orientated development of exemplary quality.