Living in Switzerland For Members

What happened to the Swiss village that offered cash for people to move there?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
What happened to the Swiss village that offered cash for people to move there?
Swiss cow bells are on display, with Albinen in the background. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The hamlet of Albinen in Switzerland made international news in 2017 when it offered to pay tens of thousands of francs to individuals and families who settled in the Valais village. What's happened since then?


Though scenically located in the Swiss Alps, by 2016 Albinen saw its population dwindle to 248 mostly elderly residents, to the point that a village school had to close.

In a bid to attract ‘fresh blood’ to its shores, Albinen residents voted to earmark 100,000 francs per year from the council's coffers to “bring life back to the village,” as the then-Mayor, Beat Jost, said.

Specifically, the proposal, which was unanimously accepted, called for 70,000 francs to be paid out — 25,000 francs to each adult and 10,000 per child — to eligible families to live in the community.

With this monetary incentive, the village hoped to entice 10 families in the next few years.

But some strict conditions were set.

A view of Albinen.

A view of Albinen. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


What were the conditions - and who moved there?

To be eligible, candidates had to be either Swiss citizens or permit C holders, be under 45 years of age, and agree to live in the village for at least 10 years.

They also had to commit to buy or build a house for at least 200,000 francs, and use it as a permanent home, not a second residence.

Following the offer, which made rounds of the social media, Jost was swamped with 12,000 queries from all over the world.

“There were people who arrived with their suitcases and asked where the money and the apartments were. It was crazy,” Mayor Jost said in a 2021 Swiss news report

Since the scheme was launched, the village council has accepted 38 people, including 11 children. By the end of 2019, four babies were born to the newcomers — “a new 20-year-record,” Jost said.

READ MORE: Albinen: first family approved for cash-for-settlement deal

The new families moved to Albinen from within Valais and from other parts of Switzerland as well.

To date, the village has approved incentive payments totalling 880,000 francs, sparking 6.6 million francs of investment in the process. 

In 2019, as it was experiencing its much-awaited ‘revival’ (in terms of population growth), Albinen was selected as ‘the most beautiful village in Switzerland’ by Schweizer Illustrierte magazine.

In the meantime, Albinen has morphed from a dying community to a “bustling village in the Valais Alps,” as it calls itself on its website.

And interest in the village continues - applications can still be submitted by those who qualify and want a spot in this stunning village. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also