Neulandia is the name of a social enterprise, a movement and network with a special mission: “We initiate changes that are bigger than us, so let’s collaborate”. They rely on visionary representatives of the community, citizens with an open mind and willingness to experiment. Their focus is on rural areas because they believe that changes are possible there faster than in metropolitan areas. They have started the project Summer of Pioneers, a special group experience in the countryside.
Before launching “Summer of Pioneers”, the Neulandia team organised special research to understand “why do you stay in cities if you find them boring and expensive?”. Two main findings were made: The first is “job opportunities” – many people would leave a big city only if they could take their jobs with them. The second one is the uncertainty of social integration in rural areas.
Consequently, the Neulandia team created and launched the “Summer of Pioneers” concept in 2019. The idea is that “Summer of Pioneers” always creates a group experience in the countryside, bringing people together so that no one feels alone. Neulandia, in collaboration with local municipalities, organises coworking spaces and increases interest in village life.
The initiative attracts mainly young people – digital nomads and remotely working people, as they are flexible in terms of travel and work – to „test“ living in rural areas in Germany for six months. Young people come with fresh ideas and perspectives, with different experiences of how they can really make a difference and push the transformation process.
Usually, the municipalities are the ones who finance the “Summer of Pioneers”. They also are the ones that officially invite digital nomads and external remote workers and create an authentic, welcoming atmosphere. This is key to attracting young people and removing the feeling of being aliens there.
“Summer of Pioneers” was launched for the first time in Wittenberge, Germany. The initiative is already taking place in five different small towns in Germany. At the end of 2022, the first city in Switzerland was announced, where the “Summer of Pioneers” started to take place. In 2023, it is planned to extend to Austria and, in 2024, to Spain, Ireland and Denmark. Thus, Neulandia will spread its concept throughout Europe.
Cover photo: Herzberg (Elster), where Sommer of Pioneers took place in 2022. (C) Neulandia
- Additional income for the areas, involved in the project
- Many new creative projects of digital nomads have been started involving the local people
- Millions were reached with media news about the programme, which brought focus to the towns in rural areas.
- Art, cultural programmes and exhibitions to reframe empty buildings in a completely new way