CIPRA representatives:

Personal tools

  Search filter  

Further Information


Point of view: We need more young people in the Alps

Dec 11, 2022 / Kathrin Holstein, CYC
Ageing, emigration and dying villages are typical problems for many mountain regions. It must therefore become attractive for young people to live in the Alps again, says Kathrin Holstein, member of CIPRA’s Youth Council and staff member of the Alliance in the Alps network of municipalities.
Image caption:
Kathrin Holstein, Member of the CIPRA Youth Council (CYC) © Private

Where are the young people from Europe’s mountain regions drawn to? According to a study by Euromontana, 95% want to stay in the mountains, with a small proportion temporarily relocating. Only 5% intend to move away. It is mainly the proximity to nature, the variety of leisure activities and the quality of life that drives young people’s willingness and desire to remain as residents in the mountains. In fact, however, most of them do move away. They lack the appropriate infrastructure, a wide range of jobs and educational opportunities, and the chance for self-fulfilment.

Today, at least within the EU, you can live and work anywhere, can’t you? Theoretically, yes. The only question is in what form. Despite the increasing availability of mobile work, the employment and educational prospects in the Alps are not diverse enough: they are more likely to be found in the urban centres of the foothills of the Alps. Inadequate public transport also discourages young people from staying or moving to inner Alpine regions. It is hardly possible to get around without a car if you are looking for connections to nearby cities. How will the sustainable development of the Alps be possible in the future if we ourselves cannot set a good example for the next generation?

Young people must have the opportunity to realise themselves in the Alps. They must be given the chance to set a good example for environmentally conscious and sustainable living and get to know their place of residence better, as you will only protect what you know. Open meeting spaces must be created without the need for compulsive consumption, with showcase examples gathered and public transport expanded. We have to stop thinking in numbers and should see the economic efficiency of these measures as secondary. The value of such changes cannot be measured directly: they will only be felt by future generations. Sustainable development will require more young people who want to live in the Alps.