© Lisa Aigner

Villages & hamlets

The towns and municipalities in the Bergisches Land Nature Park include a total of more than 2,000 villages, hamlets and districts that are undergoing profound changes, especially against the background of demographic change. At the same time, however, this special rural-village structure is one of the strengths of the Bergisches Land and accounts for a large part of its original attractiveness. The cultural landscape impresses with its small-scale structure and an alternation of forest, open countryside, stream valleys and well-known natural and cultural monuments as well as the settlement areas. The villages in the Bergisch region impress with their exemplary association structures and active voluntary work. Most people also live in the villages - i.e. not in the main towns. So it goes without saying that village development is and must be an important part of nature park work.


Village development

In recent years, the nature park, on behalf of the three districts of Oberberg, Rhein-Berg and Rhein-Sieg, has primarily focused on helping people to help themselves and supported the villages in their activities with the Future Village Workshop. Strengthening the commitment in the villages also has a strengthening effect on the region. In addition to the strategic goal of village moderation and networking described above, it is also important to identify and implement sensible village development measures in cooperation with municipalities and village stakeholders from an urban development perspective. This also includes the acquisition of suitable funding and support for the villages in applying for and implementing the funded measures. So-called village inner development concepts offer good opportunities here. Support is provided in particular by the specialist departments of the participating districts or by the regional management of the LEADER or VITAL.NRW regions.


© Naturpark BL / Jens Eichner
© airpicture24

Future village life

If the Bergisch village communities succeed in keeping young families in the villages by maintaining the necessary infrastructure, but also in offering the elderly the desired quality of life, the Bergisch Land will benefit from the commitment of the village communities with regard to demographic change.


The challenge must be to keep village life attractive and to look beyond the municipal boundaries. The interaction between districts, municipalities and local associations lays the foundation for this.

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