Seeham, Salzburg, Austria

The municipality Seeham lies 22 km north of the state capital Salzburg on the west bank of the Obertrumer lake.At the moment 1783 people live there as principle residence and 103 as secondary residence. The village has along with its farming characteristic a tourist orientation with about 37,000 overnight stays a year. The tourism is based on the concept “Bio-village Seeham” and provides numerous attractions for holidaymakers due to its charming Alpine foothill landscape with the Obertrumer lake.

On the periphery of the state capital Seeham is subject to a special settlement pressure that is met by the municipality with a controlled settlement policy.After strong growth up to the nineties of the last century the moving in was reduced by allotting back building land and the allotment of building land for locals with definitions of clear residential areas to maintain the village character. Municipal buildings, such as the provisional municipal office, the primary school and the kindergarten are characterised by the traditional architectural form. But now the municipality has decided on demanding architectural qualities with competitions and well thought out renovations. In addition simplified building regulations make contemporary energy efficient buildings possible. The renovation of the so-called „Schmid Farmstead” should be especially mentioned. With the help of a crafts programme the renovation was done in a professionally demanding manner also from the point of view of monumental preservation and shows the sensitivity towards the upkeep of historical buildings as a feature of the village character.

The municipality strengthens its position in the region by intercommunal cooperation on different levels.The „Keep the Obertrumer Lake Clean“association was able to restore the water of the lake to drinking quality. Trade areas are brought together in communal cooperatives to balance tax incomes.Thereby making use of synergy effects, giving a choice of ecological acceptable locations and avoiding uncontrolled development.

The twenty clubs of the municipality are brought together under one umbrella organization. By awarding distinctions especially eager volunteers are paid respect and their voluntarycommitment is given formal appreciation. Citizen participation is exemplary, it takes place in the various working groups that each have a very dedicated speaker and in the municipal meetings open to the public in the inn.

Farming is enormously enhanced by the focus on biological cultivation and the cooperative “Bio-Hay Region” (consistent traditional use of hay for milk production).The awareness of the great importance of farming and a regional circulation economy (regarding manufacture, marketing and sales in the local restaurants and in the area of tourism in the form of holidays on farms) form sustainable structures that strengthen the local economy.The club „Teufelsgrabenbach“offers with its EU subsidised “Eco-Culture Project” not only a tourist attraction (high wire park exhibition cave) but also a holistic show and tell for the themes food, movement, leisure, learning and farming. Regional energy circuits have been created; a cooperative operated wood chip heating plant with wood from the municipal area provides public buildings, restaurants and some of the houses with energy.

Highly notable are also the activities for elderly citizens. Although Seeham does not have its own old people’s home (participation in homes for the elderly in other municipalities) it does have its own social worker. She coordinates the voluntary social service that offers information, cooperation with professional partners and car pool services. Since 1991 a several generation house offers an alternative to living in an old people’s home and in this form (the older co-inhabitants are taken care of by younger families) has proven its worth.

The regular visits of Alternative Nobel Prize winners shows that the municipality is looking for international contacts to implement a sustainable development. During the summer months the nationally known Seehammer Seebühne (stage on the lake) offers a discerning programme with professionally directed amateur actors. At the same time it is also a stage for the church and other municipal events and is completely self-financed. The Seeham culture catalogue lists all buildings, facilities, personalities and documents of the municipality giving a very descriptive access to the architectural and cultural heritage.

The municipality of Seeham is characterised by especially exemplary efforts in economical, social and cultural areas. Despite settlement pressure it managed to keep its village structure and character and with notable social innovations based on a pronounced citizen participation, a willingness to cooperate put into practice and a lived network orientation is on the way to a sustainable development.

Evaluated: 2008