There is a social revolution going on in northern Germany. The rebellious residents of the lowest populated district have refused to follow the rise of xenophobia in the country and all over Europe. Instead they welcome arriving refugees with open arms.
For over 30 years the inhabitants of the Wendland have resisted dumping nuclear waste in their backyard. This social struggle unified people from all walks of life and shaped a unique local culture of solidarity and openness.
But although the nuclear waste deposit is put on hold, the Wendland faces threats. The population is declining, the economy is stagnating, and people’s future remains uncertain. In other underdeveloped areas this uncertainty combines with a paranoid fear of change, culminating in a critical rise of xenophobic demonstrations and an alarming wave of violent attack against asylum seekers housings.
Meanwhile the Wendlanders warmly welcome the new arrivals as a chance to revitalize their region. A local initiative even calls for a proactive resettlement of 10.001 refugees in the district of only 49.000 inhabitants.
„Refuge Wendland“ explores how a social movement formed the societal structure and collective mindset of a rural community. It also documents the result which may hold answers on how to turn the so-called „Refugee Crisis“ into a more plural, more diverse future for Germany and Europe.