Johanna Funck is the project manager for Hej Hemby at Pajala municipality
What to do in a situation where many towns and rural areas across the Nordics and Europe are struggling to retain, let alone attract talent? Young people are moving to bigger cities where there are more opportunities and that have an attractive life-style. The buzzing city. However, there might be change in the air. According to a study commissioned by AFRY, a Swedish engineering firm, the majority of European youths want to live in cities that have 100 000 or less inhabitants. This coupled with reports of people (with means) moving away from large metropolitan areas like New York to the countryside may augur a new era for smaller places.
How to go and try it out for yourself
Hej Hemby is a project in the utmost north of Sweden, where the sun shines 24/7 during summer, the winters are filled with northern lights and snow. There is , a lot of space and nature – but not that many people. Hej Hemby is a joint project between two municipalities and they offer people a chance to move temporarily – and permanently – to Övertorneå and Pajala near the Finnish border. The approach is simple for end users: if you want to test living in a smaller place, with WIFI and perhaps even with children, Hej Hemby is here to help you.
Change made possible
Hej Hemby works as a bridge between the real estate agents, the open market, and the house owners. Hej Hemby can also help prepare a property for sale if there is a need for parcelling out a piece of land or intermediate between several owners. If you are not looking into buying a property just yet, you will get help finding the right rental place. Guidance to get children to daycare and schools is offered as well. The team is available throughout the selling process, as well as the moving in-stage. For new residents, Hej Hemby can help you start up your business or find employment.
All of this catering to the vision to increase the number of new residents and create vibrant, cared for villages in Torne Valley, by getting more houses for sale on the open market.
If this works in the most northern part of Sweden, why should it not work elsewhere?
Johanna and Therése will talk about how to create a successful programme that offers people the opportunity to test living in a new town.