"Land(auf)schwung": Support for Pilot Projects

The model project Land(auf)Schwung ("Rural upswing") is intended to support structurally disadvantaged rural regions in dealing actively with demographic change, in increasing regional added value, in securing rural employment and hence also in shaping the diminishing process.

With this model project, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) wanted to give a boost to 13 selected districts in structurally disadvantaged rural areas. The districts developed creative solutions for actively shaping demographic change, creating new jobs and increasing regional added value. The Rural Development Competence Centre at the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) supports the regions in implementing the "Land(Auf)Schwung" programme. The Thünen Institute for Rural Areas provides the scientific support. The model project is part of the Federal Rural Development Scheme (BULE).

Autonomy thanks to a regional budget

The BMEL supported the regions with a total of approximately 32 million euro. The rural districts chosen for the programme were each provided with a regional budget and had complete autonomy in managing the local project support, based on a development contract. This contract set out the objectives that each region was pursuing within the priorities of “basic services” and “regional added value”.

Flexible support

This autonomy regarding the financial management and structure of the measures deliberately allowed the districts much more freedom than is usual for funded projects. In this way, the stakeholders on the ground could adapt the support conditions to their specific needs and implement even very complex schemes. In addition to this, it created a wealth of experience within the regions, which the districts will now be able to use even after the model project ended in 2020.

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