Sarah Wiltschek

Everyone is talking about the good life here in the countryside. More and more city dwellers move their residence temporarily or entirely to the country. The Corona situation gave the trend an extra boost, property prices in Berlin‘s surrounding areas are exploding.
But what about the infrastructure and supply routes in rural areas? How do the villagers get to school, nursery, shopping, the swimming pool, the doctor, the hairdresser, the next train station?
A bus runs regularly to the nearest small town. But the bus stop is on the main road and the elderly villagers in particular hardly use it. Cycling is far too dangerous without cycle paths on the winding avenues. You don‘t really have a chance without a car.
I concentrate my questions on a small village northeast of Berlin. There I meet Heinz. Heinz is 88, lives alone and takes care of himself. He cooks, looks after the garden and goes on long bike rides twice a day. His wife used to run a Konsum grocery store in the village. It has not existed for a long time. He does not make use of the offers of mobile bakers and butchers. His daughter says he no longer likes to socialize. Since her father stopped driving, she comes by every three weeks to deliver groceries.
Many believe that life in the countryside is greener and more climate-friendly. But the smaller the village, the less local supplies there are and the more its inhabitants are dependent on a car.