Großseelheim, Hesse, Germany

The village Großeseelheim with its some 1.955 inhabitants and an area of 952 ha is part of the municipality Kirchhain (17.419 inhabitants). It is located ten kilometres from the university town Marburg in the center of Hesse.

Until the 1960ies, Großseelheim was mainly characterised by agriculture and handicraft. The first new construction areas in the peripheral parts were developed in the 1950ies and 60ies by around 500 expellees. Since the 198oies Großseelheim has been gaining relevance as an attractive living space for young families from the Marburg area due to its location and excellent local infrastructure.

The village has an almost undamaged and revitalized core of restored half-timbered houses and former, now unused four-sided farms. The village does not have vacancies and is in good, authentic shape. This has a reason: Since the 1990ies, the community dedicated itself to the motto “inner development through repurposing before outer development”, in the context of which vacant farms were reused by local entrepreneurs and incurred designers for living and business reasons.

Of the numerous association and initiatives, the committed local working groups “Our Village” and “Citizens’ House” as well as the social association for senior care and the district heating network with the biogas plant Grossseelheim are especially noteworthy. In 2005, a centrally located refunctioned four-walled farm was turned into an innovative network “Werkhof 07” dealing with planning and building. This network can be considered an instigator within the village in many regards. Also a contributor is the initiative “Adventsmarkt”, founded in 2009 and developed an event that annually attracts 5.000 visitors. Other noteworthy initiatives are the maintenance of the local cemetery, the remodelling of waste ground in the village core into “Luthergärtchen” as well as the recently design historical and cultural path with 13 distinctive spots and info boards within and around the village.

With over 160 local businesses and a total of 380 working spaces, diverse economic branches are present within the village: agriculture and forestry, gardening, bio delivery service “Ökokiste”, a poultry farm as well as a baker, butcher and carpenter. Additionally, there is a gas station with a workshop, the previously mentioned planning, design and construction network “Werkhof 07” and a variety of services. An autonomous local supply is thereby ensured.

In the fields of education and culture, the local elementary school, school assistance agency Großseelheim as well as the initiative “KID”, founded in 2000, which organises child care, holiday activities as well as playground design, are noteworthy. The local native museum as well as the commendable concept of “Luther-Gärtchen” as communal meeting spots as well as the innovative historical and cultural path strengthen the identity of the citizens.

The motto “being open” is exemplarily followed. The village community is characterized by an aktive, self-sustaining and exemplary citizen participation, which also serves as an integrating factor for new inhabitants. The social togetherness between generations is working well and is enhanced by cooperative projects such as school assistance, senior care, youth work and integration of asylum seekers. the dynamic evangelic church community plays a major role in this. Commitment and participation are evident in project finalization as well as implementation.

Evaluated: 2016