Anyone want to buy a German village? On Saturday, the entire hamlet of Alwine, in the south of Brandenburg state, will be up for auction with a starting price of €125,000 ($147,230).
Alwine has around 20 residents who are, with the exception of one family, retired. As local news outlets have reported, its dilapidated state is characteristic of much of the former East Germany.
The village had around 50 residents at the time of reunification with West Germany in 1990. However, the coal plant that owned it shut down the following year, so its younger inhabitants moved west. None returned.
A private investor bought Alwine in 2000 for one Deutschmark (Germans started using the euro in 2002) but, according to reports, that did not stop the village from falling further into disrepair.
Andreas Claus, the mayor of the Uebigau-Wahrenbrück district that contains Alwine, told TheLocal.de that he only learned of the proposed sale when he saw a report in the media. He said the residents would not try to buy it.
Claus said he would invite the buyer “to see how we can try to develop something here, in collaboration with the people, and not against them.”
In Germany’s federal elections in September, almost a quarter of Uebigau-Wahrenbrück voted for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, reflecting disillusionment with traditional parties. Nationally, the AfD only got an eighth of the vote.