The Bavarian city of Augsburg is getting ready for a big celebration. 500 years ago, on August 23rd, 1521, the merchant Jakob Fugger started the foundation that still operates the oldest social settlement in the world. This summer, 500 years later, guests of honor, residents and citizens of the city of Augsburg will come together to celebrate this unique and timeless social innovation.
Idyllically situated, the so-called Fuggerei offers needy people a home, a supportive community and all of that at a rent that has not increased since the year 1521. For just one Rheinischer Gulden (around 0,88 Euro today) per year, low income Catholic residents would get an apartment and just had to say three prayer per day for the founding Fugger family.
Ready for the next 500
The Fuggerei is a success story that has lost none of its appeal and relevance. Even today, there is a need for affordable housing, social proximity, stability, and inclusion – globally. Therefore, the Fuggerei will not only celebrate its anniversary, but also take the opportunity to look into the future. Under the motto "Next 500" the Fugger Foundations will kick-off a year of celebration on August 23rd, 2021.
The anniversary is an invitation to discuss the major social issues of our time. Starting in September, the Fuggerei will bring together thought leaders and experts from various fields to share their perspectives on seven top themes over the course of seven month. From social housing to the importance of self-determination, from the value of spirituality to an eco-sustainable lifestyle.
From Mai till June 2022 the findings and ideas from this process will be presented to the public at pavilion right in the center of the city of Augsburg.
A driving force for social innovation and an invitation to the world
In the stone tablet above one of the Fuggerei's gates, it is written that Jakob Fugger donated the Fuggerei in his time `in exemplum', thus offering people and institutions all over the world the opportunity to join the foundation idea and be inspired. "From the very beginning the Fuggerei has set standards that have the power to positively change society and provide an innovative answer to social challenges of our time. The Fugger
idea is for everyone, it knows no boundaries. We invite the world to be part of this anniversary," explains Alexander Graf Fugger-Babenhausen, a member of the Fugger Family Senior Council.
"We see this anniversary as an opportunity to bring new insights into social settlements of the future to life and allow the idea of the Fuggerei to become a driving force for social change for the next 500 years," adds Count Fugger-Babenhausen.
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