Bad Schandau, Saxony, Germany

The village community Flegessen–Hasperde–Klein Süntel, Lower Saxony, Germany, an administrative unit of the municipality Bad Münder in the Weserbergland, impresses with an exceptional bottom-up-process through self-determined and self-responsible renewal that could serve as inspiration to many of Europe’s rural areas. On the basis of an interconnected global knowledge- and experience exchange with representatives of the transition-town-movement and the usage of concrete local potential measures and projects were generated, conceptualized, funded, realized and operated in a participative, grass-roots democratic, across clubs, parties, and generations, “ideas workshop village future”.

Concrete realizations include an art house cinema at the church, a film working group simulating ironic self-reflection, the village newspaper “Süntelblatt”, a real estate vacancy agency for “new life in old walls”, a repair-café, a carpool point with a carpool schedule, a joint housing project in the former parsonage which is currently being planned, and a true lighthouse project – a village shop run as a business- as well as consumer community exclusively selling organic regional groceries. By running this shop through member-based voluntary work it is possible to sell the high quality products at a low price.

Integrated business development through the “Regionalwert AG” and a regional currency in the Weserbergland are long-term plans based on the belief that a future-oriented and sustainable life in rural areas can be achieved with a regionalized agriculture, economy, nutrition, energy production, and mobility oriented towards the common good.

Therefore, Flegessen-Hasperde-Klein Süntel is awarded the Innovationprize in memoriam Camille Gira and a European Village Renewal Award for sustainable, holistic and motto-adequate village development of excellent quality.