Giersleben, Saxony Anhalt, Germany

The municipality Giersleben, consisting of the villages Giersleben, Strummendorf and Hopfenberg, has some 975 inhabitants and is located in the valley of river Wipper, close to its mouth into Saale, in the district Salzlandkreis. Larger cities in the area include Aschersleben, Bernburg und Straßfurt. The municipality is situated right next to a natural reserve. Nature and environment are important themes in Giersleben, not least because of the regions efforts to establish itself as a local recreational area due to its attractive riverside landscape.

Over the last decades, Giersleben has become an attractive living location within the rural space, mostly because it consequently and successfully expanded local supply as well as technological, social and other infrastructures. Subsequently, the small municipality provides everything one could need on a daily basis: it boasts a solid road and transport network, excellent childcare facilities, schools, medical and nursing care facilities. Considering its size, the municipality also offers exceptional leisure activities, especially sports and a fibre-optic network is currently being installed. Also outstanding is the dedication to creating accessibility in public spaces and in parts of the housing spaces.

Another focal point in Giersleben is the renovation of valuable old building structures, some of which are revitalized through repurposing. One highlight in this context is the preservation of the old water mill, cared for by a specially founded club. Other examples include the restoration of the pigeon tower as part of the parsonage, the repurposing of a wing in the knight’s estate as a retirement home, the restoration of several historic buildings around the church and the rearrangement of the church hill, the renovation of the school and the town hall as well as attempts to turn empty buildings into new housing space.

Aside from the very active club life, the variety of activities and services for children and parents is outstanding, which led to an influx in young families settling in Giersleben. The female employment rate is above average, not least due to excellent child care facilities and their family-friendly opening hours.

Especially noteworthy is the excellently thought-out flood prevention plan, which includes the restoration of the dike, elaborate dam construction, diverse measures of object protection, the elevation of a pedestrian bridge and of course sustainable farming of the surrounding fields. Implementation of the plan began in 2012. In regards to climate change, Giersleben invests in renewable energy through solar and hydroelectric plants.

Gierlseben is an active municipality where community and togetherness is prioritized, civic participation and volunteer engagement serves as a central resource. Both the turnaround in the early 1990ies and the transformation from a small farming village into an attractive community for young and old were gracefully overcome. Jobs were created and maintained through targeted promotion of trade and the service sector as well as the creation of local recreational tourism.

Evaluated: 2020