The Fuggerei In Bavaria: The World’s Oldest Social Housing Complex

The Fuggerei in Augsburg, Germany

House Crazy Sarah is a firm believer that in order for humans to live fulfilling, thriving lives, they must have a home that is safe, beautiful, AND affordable.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei in the city of AugsburgBavaria (about an hour from Munich), is a historic place that checks all these crucial boxes.

The Fuggerei is a beautiful walled enclave that resembles a picturesque medieval village. It is known as the world’s oldest and longest surviving social housing project.  Most notably, the rent has not changed in 500 years!

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Residents pay about $1.30 (USD) — or 0.88 euros — per year for their apartments.  In return, they must commit to daily spiritual reflection.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

About 160 residents currently live in the Fuggerei, ranging from retirees on small pensions to low-income young adults.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei was founded in the year 1516!  Within ten years, 52 housing units had been built, as well as a church for the residents.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is named after its founder, Jakob Fugger the Younger (also known as “Jakob Fugger the Rich”). His intention was to create a desirable place where the needy citizens of Augsburg could be housed in a safe, secure setting.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

In exchange for low rent, the residents were and are still required to live a life of gratitude and devotion by making three daily prayers for the current owners of the Fuggerei — the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed – and, to work a part-time job in the community.

The Fuggerei is centered around the Catholic faith and in order to qualify as a resident, applicants must be practicing Catholics.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The other two conditions to live there remain the same as they were 500 years ago: one must have lived at least two years in Augsburg, and be indigent but without debt.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The five gates were locked at night and continue to be locked precisely at 10:00 pm, making the Fuggerei similar to a small medieval fortress.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The red clay tile roofs and baked yellow walls covered in vibrant green ivy make this an idyllic and desirable place to live.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

If a resident is late getting back after 10:00 pm, they must tip the guards to be let in.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Housing units consist of 500–700 square foot apartments, but because each unit has its own street entrance, it is similar to living in a townhouse.

Each apartment includes a kitchen, a parlour, a bedroom, a bathroom/laundry, and a spare room.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Many ground-floor apartments have a small garden and a garden shed, while upper-floor apartments have an attic.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

All apartments now have modern conveniences such as television and running water.

Below are some floorplans of typical apartments in the Fuggerei:

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

One single ground-floor apartment is uninhabited because it serves as a museum that is open to the public.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

This model unit is decorated as it would have been some 500 years ago.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Guests pay an entry fee to get in and can also tour through the scenic streets of the Fuggerei.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Another unique feature is the doorbells. They all have different shapes, dating back to before the invention of streetlights when residents could only identify their door by feeling the handle in the dark of night.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Let’s have a look inside these adorable dwellings…

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The interiors are all quaint and cozy but apart from that, they vary as much as the residents.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

A number of the residents enjoy inviting media members into their homes to take photos since this is such as special and historic place.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

The people who reside here have such pride in their living space.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

A sad part of the Fuggerei’s history is that large parts of it were destroyed or heavily damaged in bombing raids during the Second World War.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

You can see the devastating cost of war in these old photos.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Residents sheltered in bunkers that still exist to this day.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Visitors can go down and tour the bunkers and view relics from the war there.

The Fuggerei has been lovingly rebuilt and maintained. It remains a place of history, fellowship, devotion, and safety, even 500 years after its founding.

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

Residents can sleep well at night, knowing the old walls of the Fuggerei will protect them, and their rent will never go up!

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use in Augsburg, Bavaria

 

 

Sources:

www.fugger.de/en/fuggerei

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuggerei

www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/after-almost-500-years-german-utopia-is-still-going-strong

https://www.elledecor.com/life-culture/news/a7635/german-village-with-88-cent-rent/

theculturetrip.com

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