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Foreigners tempted by Swedish town's cash incentive

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Foreigners tempted by Swedish town's cash incentive
16:15 CEST+02:00
The northern Swedish town of Arjeplog has been inundated with requests in recent days from prospective migrants interested in cashing in on the municipality's innovative new repopulation scheme.

As reported in The Local last week, Arjeplog council is offering 25,000 kronor ($4,000) to anybody willing to set up a new home in the inland municipality located just 50 kilometres south of the Polar Circle.

"Our current population has dropped to 3,100 from a high of 5,500 thirty years ago. We want to eventually get it back up to maybe around 4,000," council spokesman Bengt-Urban Fransson told The Local.

In recent days, The Local has received correspondence from interested parties from as far afield as Pakistan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia and Gothenburg.

And Bengt-Urban Fransson confirmed that the council's mailbox was also beginning to fill up.

"We have had a lot of interest from other parts of Sweden but also from places like Russia, Germany and the Netherlands," he said.

The area's natural beauty and remote location were proving a major draw for people looking for a change of lifestyle, said Fransson.

"Hopefully the people who come here will bring with them new business ideas and plenty of creativity.

"We who have always lived here are perhaps somewhat blind to the possibilities a new perspective could provide," he said.

Anybody registering as a resident of the town between November 2nd 2007 and November 2010 will be eligible for a "welcome bonus". The bonus also applies to the children of newcomers as well as any additional children born during this period.

The money is to be paid out in the form of 500 kronor coupons - 20 per person in the first year, 30 in the second - which can only be spent within the municipality.

As of yet, information about the scheme is only available in Swedish on Arjeplog's official website, www.arjeplog.se.

"But we are hoping to have something on there in English soon," said Fransson.

Candidates for a move would however do well to remember that it's not all midnight sun and serene landscapes in Arjeplog. Last year the average temperature in both January and February was -13.5 degrees Celsius (7.7 Fahrenheit).

One area in the immediate vicinity has a record low of -52.6 degrees.

But for anyone undeterred by the cold, Arjeplog has much to offer in terms of job opportunities, accommodation, childcare and breathtaking vistas. And a wad of cash, of course.

See also: Photos of Arjeplog

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