Comeback Elbe-Elster aims at motivating and supporting returnees, newcomers, commuters and/or job changers to move to their (home) region in Brandenburg.
The objective of "Comeback Elbe-Elster" is to curb the demographic change in the countryside of the Elbe-Elster region, an economically weak area in southern Brandenburg on the border with Saxony. The initiative aims at better marketing and campaigning for the economic and social potential of the region. CEE pursues this goal through the provision of bespoke consulting services to prospective returnees or newcomers as well as via further marketing and outreach campaigns and services.

Resources needed

There is no information provided.

Evidence of success

Of the estimated 400 consultations with individuals interested in moving to the Elbe-Elster region, an estimated 100 persons have eventually decided to move (back) to southern Brandenburg. Besides this benefit for municipalities and the entire region, the upsides for returnees are manifold: Moving to a rural area usually means significantly lower living costs and higher disposable income. Another advantage for many families moving back to their home region, is the closeness to their social ties.

Difficulties encountered

CEE relies on a significant amount of voluntary engagement and lacks a business model to finance its activities directly through the provision of its services – it seems unlikely that potential movers will be ready to pay consultancy fees to a welcome agency such as CEE.

Potential for learning or transfer

By now, Welcome Centers such as CEE have spread not only in Brandenburg (there are now 13 Welcome Agencies in Brandenburg), but throughout all of Germany. Thus, the concept can be regarded a successful social innovation, particularly useful for sparsely populated areas which often need such advocacy and consulting agents.
Main institution
Willkommensagentur “Comeback Elbe-Elster”
Brandenburg, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
July 2016
End Date


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