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In pictures: The Swiss villages that will pay you to move there

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24 Sep, 2019 Updated Tue 24 Sep 2019 15:31 CEST
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The village of Grossdietwil has become the latest in Switzerland to offer cash or other bonuses in exchange for choosing to live in the region. And there are more.

While other countries and states pursue the route of tax breaks to encourage people to move or stay, Switzerland has routinely rejected such a move on the grounds that it would violate the universality of taxation requirement and the principle of equality under the law. 

Here are some of the Swiss towns and communities offering cash bonuses to encourage people to relocate or stay to help deal with a declining population - particularly among younger people. 


Under the plan, people under the age of 30 are offered 1,500 francs if they move out of home and rent an apartment in the region. 

As yet, there has been no minimum time period required for those who choose to accept the bonus. 

After the plan was originally announced in the region’s municipal newsletter in August, five people have chosen to take up the offer. Grossdietwil, with a population of just under 900, is a mountainous region around one hour from Lucerne. 

Image: Creative Commons/ DidiWeidmann


Albinen attracted international headlines for offering 25,000 francs for anyone who would relocate to the picturesque alpine village - along with 10,000 francs for each accompanying child. A referendum on the bonus plan took place in 2017, with 71 per cent of the town approving the proposal. In total, 100 of the village’s 248 residents voted. 

Eligible applicants had to be under 45 years of age and must promise to stay in the region for at least ten years. In addition, the chosen house has to have a value of 200,000 francs or more and it must be the applicant’s primary residence. 

The town council has allotted 100,000 francs per year to fund the ongoing scheme. 



#Albinen #Valais Wallis #Switzerland#Leukerbad

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A stone cottage in Sciaga?

The mountain region of Sciaga, in Gambarogno on the Italian border, is offering stone cottages for sale at a price of CHF1 - that’s one franc to own a traditional stone cottage. 

As with the other bonuses on this list, there’s a catch however - albeit not a very onerous one. Purchasers of the stone cottages are required to renovate them ‘within a reasonable time frame’. 

The region is one of the most remote in Switzerland. The long-term plan of the council is to regenerate the area into a hiking and cycling destination. 



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Baby bonuses? 

Several Swiss cantons are offering cash bonuses for babies - whether new born or adopted - with some as high as 3,000 francs. The cantons of Ticino and Geneva offer the highest in Switzerland with 3,000 francs, while bonuses in Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri, Fribourg, Jura and Neuchâtel range between 1,000 - 1,500 francs in cash. 

Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

In total, ten Swiss cantons offer some kind of cash bonus to encourage people to have children. Others, such as Bern, have rejected the move - arguing that it is not sustainable and doesn’t support population growth. 

So close but so far in Rheinau

While not quite a relocation bonus, the Swiss desire to experiment with unusual payment schemes again drew international attention in 2018 when a Swiss filmmaker sought to set up a universal basic income scheme test in Rheinau.

Image: Roland zh/Creative Commons

While more than half of the town’s 1,300 residents signed up to participate in the experiment - run by Swiss filmmaker Rebecca Panian - the scheme fell well short of its crowdfunding goal of six million francs. Panian’s campaign received only 150,000 francs, a mere 2.5 percent of her total.

A referendum in 2016 for universal basic income to be implemented across the entire country was soundly rejected by voters, with 77 percent voting down the measure. 


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2019/09/24 15:31

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