Smart Villages support in Germany

How is the concept of Smart Villages defined?

No formal definition of ‘Smart Villages’ in Germany.

Is digital a key feature of Smart Villages?

Digital is a key feature of Smart Villages. Smart Villages in Germany are always associated with digital solutions.

Is social innovation a key feature of Smart Villages?

Social innovation is not identified as a key feature of Smart Villages.

How is the CAP supporting Smart Villages?

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)


CAP SP 2023-2027 Factsheet

CAP 2014-2022

Indirectly, no specific Smart Villages intervention


CAP 2023-2027

Indirectly, no specific Smart Villages intervention


Village strategies such as smart village strategies can be funded through LEADER.

Federal Office for Agriculture and Food / National Rural Network (DVS) (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung, BLE / Deutsche Vernetzungsstelle Ländliche Räume, DVS)


Anke Wehmeyer, Team rural and village development


CAP Network support

Yes, specific Smart Villages activities of the network.

Training/ workshops on Smart Villages

The NRSU is regularly organizing workshops and exchanges.

Further information: Workshop 2021; Workshop 2022

How are other policies supporting Smart Villages?

EU-Interreg / Alpine Space


Lisa Regina Horn


Yes, other policies also support Smart Villages

National (non-EU funded): National “Digital Countryside” (Land.Digital): funding of 61 innovative projects (2017-2022) through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), addressing digital change in rural areas within the framework of the Federal Rural Development Scheme (Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung, BULE).

National (non-EU funded): Local ‘Smarte LandRegionen’ (‘Smart Rural Regions’) – funding through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL): It is a model project (based on a competition in 2019) which addresses regional digital services within the framework of the Federal Rural Development Scheme (Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung, BULE). In total, 22 regions receive funding for projects (7 regions selected by a jury in 2020, and 15 additional regions). The project is accompanied by scientific experts (Fraunhofer IESE).

National (non-EU funded): National “Heimat 2.0”  is a project of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community in cooperation with the Frederal Office for Region and regional planning especially for rural areas in Germany. It is funded through the Federal Rural Development Scheme (Bundesprogramm Ländliceh Entwicklung, BULE). Aim of the project is to support equivalent living conditions all over Germany by funding innovative concepts in rural development, which can be implemented through individual pilot projects and science.

Regional (non-EU funded): Local “Digital villages Rhineland-Palatinate” is a project funded by the Ministry of the Interior and Sports of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate and implemented by Fraunhofer IESE. An online platform providing digital solutions for rural communities and local enterprises was developed. The approach is of interest and being taken up by villages in other parts of Germany. It started in 2015.

Regional (non-EU funded): Local „Digital villages Saxony“ is a project in the framework of the future initiative  simul+ of the Ministry of Regional Development Saxony. Scientific institutions, companies and the administrative sector working together on innovative solutions (products, technologies, procedures) in rural areas. The basis is digital solutions already developed by Fraunhofer IESE. The area Lommatscher Pflege is the rural area where all solutions are going to be tested.

Regional (non-EU funded): The project “Digital villages Lower-Saxony” is a cooperation project between Fraunhofer IESE and the foundation Digital Opportunities. It is funded by the Ministry of National and European Affairs and Regional Development of Lower Saxony. In the first step of the project, the needs of citizens in rural areas to be more active in digital participation were identified. In the interface of citizens and administration, it was tested how digital village solutions are used and how they can be developed to enable a higher quality of life in rural community interactions. The local engagement of the inhabitants and the connection to the administrative structures are always in focus.
In the second step of the project since July 2022, all villages in Lower Saxony can apply for using the digital solutions.

Regional (non-EU funded): Regional “Digital village Bavaria” is a cooperation initiative of five rural areas in Bavaria, Fraunhofer IESE, scientific and technological institutions funded by the Bavarian Ministry. It is a joint initiative with the citizens to find out how to manage daily challenges with digitalisation. It is divided into 11 fields of action.

Regional (non-EU funded): Regional “Smart Country Brandenburg” is a project for Brandenburg as an area of economy and innovation with its districts, cities and villages connected to the capital Berlin in the centre. It was developed and funded by the institution of promotion of economic development and Fraunhofer IESE and Bitkom with different partners. It is a project for Coworker, user, digital worker, developer and innovative networker in Brandenburg with the city of Berlin in the centre. Heim[at]office ( is a model project running until summer 2022.

EU – Interreg: The transnational approach makes it possible to bring new ideas and new tools for the implementation of a smart village strategy. The Smart Villages project in the Alpine Space is one example that brings together thirteen partners from six countries.

Please find further information about Smart Villages support in Germany on the Smart Rural 21 project’s Germany country page.

Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce

Information will follow soon.

Smart Villages in Germany

Want to get involved or know more on what Smart Rural 27 is doing in Germany? Contact us!

Last update: November 23, 2022