Why are we running this project?

Although immigration and the integration and participation of migrants is a key issue for the future of communities in the countryside, it wasn’t just with the mass arrival of refugees in 2015 and 2016 that this became a hot topic. For years, rural regions have been contemplating the demographic change, its ramifications for life in smaller communities, and the community itself as a social space. Many townships are aware that their development depends strongly on their ability to tap existing potential and attract new residents. The question of (new) population distribution is equally relevant for large cities: In metropolitan areas, there is a shortage of housing, prices are going up, and integration is becoming more and more of a challenge in sometimes considerably fragmented urban societies. Compared to cities, and especially to metropolitan regions, rural areas have their own specific issues when it comes to migration, integration, and diversity, which also impact how newcomers are integrated and enabled to participate in social life.

What are the project goals?

The “Land.Zuhause.Zukunft – Integration und Teilhabe von Neuzuwanderern in ländlichen Räumen” program (Country.Home.Future – integration and participation of immigrants/newcomers in rural areas) aims to develop and enhance innovative and viable approaches to the integration and participation of migrants in rural regions, enable and strengthen their connection to these regions, bring together integration experts and professionals, share advice, and initiate local model projects.

How does the project work?

The first round of the Land.Zuhause.Zukunft program will consist of a pilot phase from January 2018 through June 2019. During this time, six participating counties will have an opportunity to develop successful concepts, models, and initiatives for the integration and participation of migrants, setting an example for other rural regions. The participants receive ongoing support in the form of expertise and practical examples, as well as funding to put their (innovative) ideas into practice. This setup should ensure the sustainable qualification of all relevant local parties.  

Furthermore, the Land.Zuhause.Zukunft program serves as a platform for counties and their multiple representatives to develop recommendations for state and federal bodies, based on the structural challenges of their communities.  

Who supports the program?

The Robert Bosch Stiftung is in charge of running the program, with support from a program office chaired by Rainer Ohliger.

Participating counties:

  • Coburg (Bavaria)
  • Goslar (Lower Saxony)
  • Harz (Saxony-Anhalt)
  • Ludwigslust-Parchim (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
  • Prignitz (Brandenburg)
  • Vogtlandkreis (Saxony)

Background information

Between March and July 2017, the Robert Bosch Stiftung compiled a needs analysis on the integration of refugees in rural regions as an initial exploration of the topic and the groundwork to derive recommendations and approaches for a support program. In total, researchers conducted 95 systematic interviews in seven different counties to identify needs and pressing issues that should be addressed in a large-scale support program. The following counties took part in the needs analysis:  Ludwigslust-Parchim (Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania), Lüchow-Dannenberg (Lower Saxony), Prignitz (Brandenburg), Goslar (Lower Saxony), Harz (Saxony-Anhalt), Coburg (Bavaria), and Vogtlandkreis (Saxony).