Swedish town: 'Go north and claim your reward'
Published: 28 Jul 2008 15:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jul 2008 15:14 GMT+02:00
In an innovative move to arrest depopulation, Arjeplog, a municipality in the far north of Sweden has offered families up to 100,000 kronor ($16,000) to move into the area.
Arjeplog took this slightly unusual measure at a recent meeting of local councillors.
"No one has done this before. We were sitting in a meeting and this came up as a suggestion for raising our profile. All parties jumped at the idea," said Bengt-Urban Fransson at Arjeplog council to The Local.
The Local asked Bengt-Urban Fransson what the area had to offer apart from a cash reward of 25,000 kronor per person or 100,000 kronor for a family of four.
"Everything is close by. Here you are not anonymous, but part of a social context. There is a lot of interesting things happening. Especially in the winter with the car-testing."
"Our population doubles in the winter with engineers from across Europe who come here to test cars. It becomes very international," Fransson explained.
The Local: Is the offer open internationally?
"We haven't advertised as such but only recently a group of Germans that had heard about us through the car-testing operation have moved into the area."
The great outdoors is also an attraction for prospective Arjeplog residents.
"We have the space and many people want to move out to the countryside," Fransson said.
Located in inland northern Sweden, a short distance from the Arctic circle, Arjeplog does indeed have the space. It is Sweden's fourth largest municipality in terms of surface area and the country's most sparsely inhabited.
Arjeplog's ambition with the initiative is to increase the municipality's population by 1 percent per year over the three years of its duration. This equates to 30 new residents per year.
The Local asked Bengt-Urban Fransson if he is satisfied with the media exposure that the initiative has received.
"Yes, very much. But then it is the summer and there is not much news about."