Steffeshausen, German speaking community, Belgium

Steffeshausen has 120 inhabitants and is part of the municipality Burg-Reuland. In the gentle hill landscape of a border region rich in jobs the village presents itself as a place to live with an excellent standard of living. Without the basis of a village or community development concept the activities of the inhabitants are proof of a natural feeling for a comprehensive approach to the further development of their village.

The bond of the people of Steffeshausen with their village has its roots in the in-depth preoccupation with the past. The latest proof is the recently finished elaborate village chronicle.This rootedness is at the same time a chance for the future.

The standard of living in the village induces people to remain, attracts outsiders who are quickly integrated and brings those who have left back time and again. The preservation, care and careful development of the town’s picture is documented both in the cautious handling of old rural buildings and the conservative addition of integrated new buildings. The erected cultural heritage like the four village chapels or the veteran’s monument and the distinctive public places such as the entrances to the village or the square around the church have been renovated by the villagers themselves and are maintained by them.

The open-mindedness of the people is clearly reflected in the well looked after and mostly traditionally laid out gardens that normally get along without any massive fences.

But the outstanding strength of Steffeshausen is the self organisation of its inhabitants. Here there is a “village elder”, namely Michel Dhur, who received his mandate through his personal example, charitable commitment and an infectious enthusiasm. The collective action on different projects and the cultural events with the neighbouring village Aul reflect the cohesion of all generations of the village community that is considered to be worth living. To bring the community that is supported by strong personalities into a club would possibly stabilise the process of village renewal in the long run.

Undoubtedly of great importance are the two dairy farms still in existence in Steffeshausen that farm the surrounding pastures with environmental awareness and the carpenter and joiner shop. They not only provide jobs and a economical vitalisation to the village but also support the voluntary commitment to the village community.

The quality of the countryside of the Belgian Eifel in the surroundings of Our valley definitely holds possibilities to expand a gentle tourism. The creation of several holiday flats by converting former farm buildings proves that with a profitable utilisation possibilities for the development of additional sources of income in the future can be seen.

That the process of village renewal in Steffeshausen takes place without financial aid from outside or above underlines the fact that the attitude of the people and their energy is the driving motor. However it would be good if the protagonists could receive more support than just general recognition. Then the path would lead to success.

Steffeshausen in Belgian Eifel can show off the asset of a magnificent countryside in the border triangle Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany From the starting point of a traditionally guided village a self organised intact community is working on the sustainability of its home town. The collective implementation of numerous small projects with the involvement of all generations secures the strong bond of the inhabitants to their environment. The beginnings of the development of gentle tourism can be seen as an opportunity.

Evaluated: 2008