Fighting Depopulation And Revitalising Villages In Rural Spain

A rural village in Spain

The programme helps entrepreneurs move to rural areas. Credit: Holapueblo

Redeia, AlmaNatura, and IKEA have jointly launched the fourth edition of ‘Holapueblo,’ a platform dedicated to combating depopulation in villages with fewer than 5,000 residents, with the aim of increasing their population and revitalising their local economies.

This initiative collaborates closely with municipal authorities, forming connections between individuals interested in living and starting businesses in rural Spain, thereby fostering economic activity, job creation, and prosperity.

‘Holapueblo’ has helped with the relocation of 133 individuals from 51 families to 34 villages.

This resulted in the establishment of 30 new businesses in various sectors such as rural accommodation, bakeries, artisan workshops, and elderly care services. These developments had a profound impact on these 34 communities, which had previously grappled with depopulation and the erosion of essential services.

Moreover, the platform successfully reclaimed two disused municipal spaces in participating municipalities, namely Almedina (Ciudad Real) and Jaraba (Zaragoza), transforming them into a co-working space and renovating a cultural centre, respectively, as part of the Reactivators Project.

Opportunities remain untapped.

Roberto Castro González, the Deputy Mayor of Ribas de Sil (Lugo), said, “We’ve often heard that opportunities are scarce in small towns. While it’s true they may not be abundant, many existing opportunities remain untapped. This means that there is ample room for entrepreneurs to build a promising future in our rural areas.”

Castro, whose municipality is participating for the second time, praised ‘Holapueblo’ as “a highly compelling initiative that allows us to showcase what we have to offer.” He expressed hope that families would be able to pursue their life projects in Ribas de Sil through their involvement in the fourth edition.

The fourth edition is open to municipalities committed to rural development and in search of new residents who can make a positive impact on their communities. The initiative enables these municipalities to connect with individuals interested in settling in rural areas, contributing to the local community, and embarking on new ventures.

As a significant innovation, the fourth edition will focus on researching ongoing initiatives and successful cases addressing the challenge of housing access in rural areas. The objective is to develop a roadmap that assists municipalities in creating or enhancing housing options within their localities.

Find out more here.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.


    • M

      25 September 2023 • 14:07

      The lack of goverment grants is a big factor in detering population of declining village numbers, IVA attached to basic repairs like roofs and water supplies are putting people off. I have witnessed people turning up to view properties and walking away when the basic repairs + IVA attached is offputting. Italy came up with a scheme to prevent small villages from being ghost towns and if the Spanish government wish to avoid the same then a radical rethink is long overdue?

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