Beyond the Citylights: 7 Steps towards the Developing Digital Nomadism in Rural Areas with a Focus on Youth Work

Odenwald © Susanne Fritzsche

Welcome to a future where rural areas thrive with digital nomad activity. This guidebook is your key to turning this vision into reality. Learn how to market your community, provide essential amenities, foster a vibrant remote work community, and ensure long-term success.

Whether you’re a local government official, entrepreneur, change-driven youth, or community leader, this guide is for you. Together, let’s transform rural areas into flourishing hubs for digital nomads, preserving them from outmigration.

Discover the growing appeal of the digital nomad lifestyle, where individuals can work online from anywhere worldwide. These highly skilled nomads, with disposable income, seek meaningful experiences in communities like yours. Rural areas offer affordable housing, breathtaking scenery, and a relaxed pace of life. Join us in creating a world where rural and digital coexistence thrives.

Learn more about youth work and what experiences you need to prepare a retreat for digital nomads! Explore financial opportunities for financing your retreat!

Digital Nomads and Youth Work – Impulses for Regional Development

For many years, rural areas and smaller towns in the Odenwald have seen an outflow of young people and an increasing aging of the population. This leads to stagnation in regional development, social inequality, economic challenges and inadequate use of public infrastructure. Particularly since the economic crisis of 2008, migration has increased throughout the EU, with many young people often moving to larger urban areas in search of better opportunities.

At the same time, the digitalization of jobs and the emergence of new industries, such as digital content creation , digital marketing, etc., ushered in another trend: the possibility of remote work. This trend has continued to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. The phenomenon of “digital nomadism” has also emerged, where thanks to modern technology, young freelancers can work from anywhere in the world and have the freedom to choose between different locations.

Since rural communities are often characterized by strong social connections, they could prove to be an ideal place for (digital) work and the life of digital nomads. Qualified youth work could therefore have positive effects for both digital nomads and local youth. Developing new opportunities for young people in the Odenwald will then help to stop migration and promote the growth and development of the region.

Are you interested in how digitalization and the settlement of young creative people can provide positive impulses for regional development in the Odenwald, e.g. in tourism? Are you looking for ideas to redesign “living in the country”?

Then we cordially invite you to take part in our discussion forum “Digitization – Mobility – Tourism: Regional Development in the Odenwald” on November 28th, 2023 in Waschenbach. The aim of this compact event is to show how developing new opportunities for young people in the Odenwald can help stop migration and promote the growth and development of the region.

Take advantage of the opportunity to learn about good practice examples and to openly discuss this topic with the speakers.

Address: Waschenbach community center, Maiacker 8, 64367 Mühltal

The event is free. Drinks, finger food and networking are provided.

12 reasons why you should visit Bergstrasse-Odenwald in Germany

Aerial view of Frankenstein Castle in southern Hesse, © Biathlonua

The Bergstrasse-Odenwald region in Germany offers several attributes that make it attractive for both tourism and digital nomads. Here are some reasons:

1. A Germany’s Hidden Gem

The Odenwald region is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, including rolling hills, dense forests, and charming river valleys. It offers abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and nature exploration. The region’s scenic beauty and tranquility attract tourists seeking a peaceful escape and provide an inspiring environment for digital nomads looking for a serene work setting.

2. Immerse Yourself in History and Inspiration

The Odenwald region boasts a rich cultural heritage with its historic towns, castles, and traditional half-timbered houses. Places like Heidelberg, Michelstadt, and Erbach offer a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history and architecture. Tourists can immerse themselves in the local culture, visit museums and galleries, and experience traditional festivals. Digital nomads can find inspiration in the region’s historical ambiance while enjoying a vibrant community of artists and creatives.

3. Embrace Nature’s Playground in Odenwald

The Odenwald region offers a range of outdoor recreational activities, making it appealing to both tourists and digital nomads. The area is crisscrossed by an extensive network of hiking and cycling trails, providing opportunities to explore the region’s natural beauty. Additionally, there are numerous lakes and rivers for swimming, boating, and fishing, providing ample leisure options.

4. Unveiling Odenwald’s Authentic Haven for Work and Leisure

The Odenwald region is known for its peaceful and authentic atmosphere. Away from the bustling city life, the region offers a slower pace of living and a close-knit community. This serene ambiance is highly valued by tourists seeking relaxation and digital nomads looking for a calm and focused work environment.

5. A Culinary and Cultural Journey Like No Other

The Odenwald region is renowned for its culinary traditions and local delicacies. Visitors can indulge in regional dishes, such as the famous Odenwälder Äppelwoi (apple wine) and hearty local cuisine. Exploring the local gastronomy adds to the overall tourist experience and provides digital nomads with opportunities to savor authentic flavors during their stay.

6. Where Accessibility and Serenity Meet

The Odenwald region benefits from its convenient location in central Germany. It is easily accessible by train, car, or bus from major cities such as Frankfurt, Heidelberg, or Mannheim. The well-connected transportation infrastructure enables tourists and digital nomads to reach the region quickly and efficiently.

7. Odenwald is Tech-Ready Haven for Digital Nomads

Digital nomads require reliable internet connectivity and adequate infrastructure to work remotely. The Odenwald region has made significant strides in providing high-speed internet access in both urban and rural areas. Several coworking spaces and business centers have also emerged, offering digital nomads the necessary facilities to work efficiently.

8. Thriving Community Life in Odenwald

The Odenwald region has a thriving community of artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals. This community creates opportunities for networking, collaboration, and social engagement. Digital nomads can benefit from connecting with like-minded individuals, attending local events, and joining professional networks in the region.

While the Odenwald region in Germany is known for its natural beauty and tranquility, it may not have as many dedicated coliving and coworking spaces as larger cities. However, there are some options available for digital nomads and remote workers who are interested in staying and working in the region. Here are a few possibilities:

  • CoWork & Sleep (Heppenheim): Located in Heppenheim, a town in the Odenwald region, CoWork & Sleep offers a combination of coworking and accommodation. It provides shared workspaces, private offices, meeting rooms, and fully furnished apartments. The space is designed to cater to the needs of digital nomads and offers a comfortable environment for both work and relaxation.
  • Coworking Space Erbach: In the town of Erbach, you can find a coworking space that provides a flexible workspace for individuals and small teams. It offers amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and a collaborative environment for professionals seeking a dedicated workspace.

9. Going beyond traditional workspaces

While not exclusively coliving or coworking spaces, there are regional initiatives and hubs in the Odenwald region that support entrepreneurship and digital nomadism. These initiatives may offer events, networking opportunities, and resources for remote workers. Examples include the Odenwald Start-up Center and regional economic development agencies that promote innovation and provide support to businesses.

As an alternative, you can also consider renting an Airbnb or vacation rental property in the Odenwald region. Some accommodations may provide suitable workspaces and amenities for remote work. It’s worth exploring the listings and contacting hosts to inquire about their internet connectivity and suitability for working remotely.

While the options for dedicated coliving and coworking spaces may be more limited in the Odenwald region compared to larger cities, the serene environment and community spirit can still be conducive to remote work. Additionally, exploring local cafes, libraries, or community centers can provide alternative workspaces with internet access.

It’s recommended to conduct thorough research, contact the available spaces, and inquire about their amenities, services, and pricing before making any decisions.

Overall, the Odenwald region’s combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, accessibility, infrastructure, and peaceful environment make it an appealing destination for both tourists seeking relaxation and digital nomads looking for an inspiring and well-connected work environment.

Learn more about digital nomadism and Nomadland project:

Nomazine – a ticket into the world of digital nomads

Picture: Arctic Coworking Lodge, in Lofoten, Norway

The youth energy, amazing stories and inspiring places are the focus of the Nomazine – a magazine about digital nomads in the countryside. The colourful and youth-friendly magazine brings 11 stories of digital nomads with an insight into their world and places. Prepared by the international European Team from Slovenia, Spain, Germany and Croatia and as a part of the Nomadland Erasmus+ project, the magazine Nomadland is a journey into a modern countryside, combining the best approaches from rural and urban areas!

Rural areas in Europe face both challenges of the outmigration of young people and the increase in the ageing of the population. Day by day, there are fewer job opportunities, and challenges are growing. Although the trend started already before, the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that a countryside is a place for creativity. Due to the digitalisation of jobs and the emergence of new industries, a new trend has begun – an increase in remote work. Many employees began to understand that they could be as successful working from their home garden as in the office.

11 authentic stories of digital nomads

Nat Riley has been an entrepreneur, business coach and digital nomad since 2020. She’s one of 11 digital nomadas, presented in the Nomazine

We asked 11 digital nomads about their first steps into stepping out of their comfort zone and searching for their new home in the countryside. The journey was not easy; many obstacles and challenges were on the way, but benefits prevailed. Nature and rural life make way for an inspirational new start, as Gokulnath, interviewed digital nomad, acknowledged: »Walking in nature daily is a great inspiration and makes me more productive. I even noticed that I achieve better results at work now«. Each story is unique, revealing a part of the modern digital nomads’ world.

Soil, Sea, Ice and fire

“Coliving life, especially rural coliving, is like umami in cooking – many ingredients, colour, sensations, tastes, aftertastes, emotions, passion, laughter, tears, work, fun, relaxation… and all this – in perfect balance.” Katya Dimitrova, founder of Burgas Coliving in Bulgaria

Digital nomads have their stories, but the same applies to places that connect them to the local community and other digital nomads. Many new colivings, retreats and other projects have recently developed around Europe. A former farm has become a centre for makers, and a castle again has become an ideal place for remote work. In Nomazine, 20 unique places in the countryside are presented for the first time – each a hotbed for creative and innovative projects. Exploring interesting places has never been easier – complemented with attracting images, information about its funding and impact, and founders’ quotes. To quickly navigate the sites and their stories, we have sorted them into four groups: Soil, Sea, Ice and Fire.

Understanding sustainability

The Anceu Coliving in Spain has many activities where they also work with the local community

The new trend of digital nomadism is about new sustainable approaches for the countryside. Many digital nomads in Europe have found a new home in former or abandoned mansions, farms or houses. Instead of building new houses and creating an unnecessary carbon footprint, the precious cultural heritage is revitalised and ready for new settlers. Many ambitious and inspiring founders understand what technology and digitalisation can bring to the countryside. As co-founder of Project Bay, Toni Gurski said: “A supposedly structurally weak rural region can become a technology hotspot through the shift to digitalisation and thus lose its image as a purely agricultural and touristic region.” By settling in the countryside, digital nomads bring life, new skills and knowledge and support the local community by buying local food, developing new local projects and making new connections.   

Some coliving places, such as Anceu Coliving or Coconat, support working with the local community by organising unique festivals (Rural Makers, Coconauts programme).

Coliving – when young people return to their roots

Recently, many European rural areas have experienced the ageing of the population. Many young people have moved to the bigger urban areas. Established good practices and stories of digital nomads show us that new and innovative solutions already exist. Colivings are spreading into the rural areas from overcrowded cities.

Based on our survey, also published in the Nomazine, the cost of living is the most important aspect for digital nomads when choosing a place to live, followed by a reliable internet connection and a strong community.

The Nomazine serves as a first step towards the guide for attracting digital nomads in the countryside, which will be published in autumn 2023. It will be aimed at tourism workers, youth workers and other decision-makers interested in bringing the philosophy of digital nomadism to their areas. In May 2023, a training activity will be implemented in Iž, Croatia, which will help us to develop a strategy for attracting young digital nomads to the countryside and improving rural youth work. As recognised in the survey, 90 % of digital nomads would prefer to have a local facilitator to help them settle down in the area. Within the project, we will explore how youth organisations, including youth centres, can make a change by attracting digital nomads to the rural areas.



Are you interested, how digital nomads feel about the countryside? Explore 11 stories of digital nomads who found their new home in the countryside! 


Would you like to find inspiration for your place? Then our magazine Nomazine is a great starting point with 20 selected good practices from  all over Europe!

Nomadland – a future in the countryside for young people

The project Nomadland is a story about life, new beginnings and adventure. Within the project, we want to show that the countryside is a perfect destination for digital nomads – through stories, a blog, a special guide and a magazine. The future of the countryside is in attracting young people who will become an active part of society! 

© Simona Pilolla |

The rural areas in Europe are facing the outmigration of young people and ageing of the population, leading to stagnation in regional development, social polarization, impoverishment, underutilized public infrastructure and a negative image of these areas. 

At the same time, due to the digitalization of jobs and the emergence of new industries (digital content creation, digital marketing, online sales …), a different trend began – an increase in remote work, which became significant during the COVID-19 epidemic. We believe that digital nomads are the new future for the European countryside! 

An inspiring gate into the countryside

Henry Miller, a prominent American novelist, once said, that “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” We believe that the countryside is an inspiring destination for young people. It’s a paradise, waiting to be discovered.

The partnership of the project is composed of partners that understand, feel and believe in the countryside. The organizations ID20 Institute (Slovenia), ATPERSON (Spain), Prizma Association (Croatia) and INI-Novation (Germany), which are forming the partnership of the project, have one common goal – bringing new hope to the European countryside. The project is co-financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ project.  

In recent months, a new webpage has been launched, which should become an inspiring gate into the countryside. A webpage will bring up-to-date information about the advantages and disadvantages of the countryside. Take a tour into inspiring new destinations for digital nomads which are spreading throughout the European countryside or read personal stories of digital nomads who developed their passion for the countryside and delved into the world embraced by nature and adventures. Understand the power of nature by reading the stories of young people, living in the countryside.  

A year of new ideas 

Next year, 2023, will be full of positive insights into the countryside and life of digital nomads. In the spring, we will publish the first magazine, dedicated to the world of countryside digital nomads and organize a training activity for youth workers from 4 different countries – Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, and Germany. A special guide for implementing digital nomadism in rural areas will be published in the autumn of 2023 with 4 insightful events in our home areas where we will work with the public and private stakeholders in developing new digital nomad paradises! 

Many adventures ahead 

The Nomadland: digital nomads – a new opportunity for the European rural areas project will: 

– explore how digital nomadism can provide a positive impact on the development of youth work and young people’s personal and professional development in rural and peripheral areas (including smaller towns); 

– develop the first guide to help youth workers and decision-makers in providing conditions for attracting digital nomads to rural areas; 

– present the countryside as an innovative, multicultural area with many new opportunities for young people; 

– raise awareness of remote work in rural areas as a possible response to the outmigration of young people (all intellectual results); 

– address the digital transformation of rural areas, with a special focus on the areas of Idrija (Slovenia), Odenwald (Germany), Iž (Croatia) and Cuenca (Spain).  

– bring together young people, decision-makers, and youth workers to provide new ideas for the local community. 

Become a part of our community

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Nomadland launched

On 12.04.2022, an extremely exciting European project named Nomadland was kicked-off online. The project will tell stories about the young people (millennial and generation Z), about the identity and needs of rural area, about the support and helping each other.

The project is a voyage through different rural areas of Europe, exploring stories of the digital nomads, discovering young people in rural areas, believing in the potential of rural areas between different generations and guiding youth workers on the same path.

© Simona Pilolla

The representatives of all partner organizations in the consortium of four European countries Slovenia, Croatia, Spain and Germany met online in high spirits and good mood. Under the leadership of ID20, our project coordinator from Slovenia, we laid the foundations and distributed our first tasks together.

We, at INI-Novation GmbH, are proud to be part of this great consortium. Stay tuned for more news and information about the project Nomadland.