Press Release

Opening of the Fuggerei NEXT500 anniversary pavilion in Augsburg, Germany by the president of the European Commission and the Secretary General of UNIDO

  • The Fuggerei in Augsburg, Germany, the oldest social housing complex in the world, celebrates the 500th anniversary with international top-class guests

  • Fuggerei NEXT500 anniversary pavilion will display pioneering architecture and serve as an inspirational model for the unique “Fuggerei Code” (providing homes for those in need since 1521)

  • Launch of the NEXT500 initiative to inspire the foundation of new versions of the Fuggerei all over the world, starting in Lithuania and Sierra Leone

The Fugger family are delighted to announce that the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen and UNIDO General Secretary, Gerd Müller will open the new “Fuggerei NEXT500 Pavilion”, in front of the City Hall in Augsburg, Germany, as part of a five-week international festival starting on May 6, 2022.

Started as a thought 500 years ago by the German merchant Jakob Fugger, the Fuggerei is still operating in the city of Augsburg, Germany, as a vital home for people in need and for a rent that has not increased since 1521 (around 0.88 Euro today). The Fuggerei’s success story has lost none of its appeal and is even more relevant today. In our increasingly fractured society, there is an ever-growing need for affordable housing, social proximity, stability and inclusion globally.

The President of the EU Commission and the Secretary General of UNIDO will talk about the Fuggerei as a model for new social housing estates in the world

The festival will be launched by Ursula von der Leyen, who will speak about the New European Bauhaus movement and how “Fuggerei of the future” was part of the inspiration for this EU initiative. She will also enter into discussions with Rip Rapson, President of the US-based Kresge Foundation (, the international guest of the opening weekend. The Kresge Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to expanding opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing. 

This first summit on the topic of "generating sustainability" will be followed by further summits and special events until June 12, 2022, and will feature Felix Neureuther, Neven Subotic and Jutta Speidel, among others, as donors and with Julian Nida-Rümelin, Wolfgang Ischinger, Franz von Metzler, Sandra Breka and Father Anselm Grün, as further prominent keynote speakers. 

At the final summit on June 11, 2022, the central topic of “mastering need” will be discussed internationally with Darren Walker, President of the American Ford Foundation (, a US-based  billion dollar non-profit, international social justice and philanthropic organization.

To address these societal needs and under the brand "NEXT500", the Fugger Family Foundations will culminate their year of celebration with an open invitation to discuss the major and grave social issues of our time and to this end, they have brought together thought leaders and experts from various fields to share their perspectives on how to effectively tackle seven key social challenges facing global society today. These range from social housing to the importance of self-determination, from the value of spirituality to an eco-sustainable lifestyle.  

From May until June 2022, together with the Bavarian Minister of State, Christian Bernreiter, Lord Mayor Eva Weber and international guests, the 16th generation of the Fugger family will be delighted to see an inspirational anniversary pavilion constructed in the heart of the city of Augsburg, as the highlight and centerpiece of the 500th anniversary of the Fuggerei. And it will be from the NEXT500 pavilion that the findings and ideas for social improvement will be presented to the public.

The chairman of the Fugger Family Senior Council, Alexander Erbgraf Fugger-Babenhausen, explains: "The secret of the Fuggerei, which has existed for 500 years, is being communicated and broadcast to the world, as an exemplar, catalyst and inspiration for the creation of new social housing estates, which can be established individually by new donors and can become new versions of the Fuggerei all over the world - the Fuggerei of the Future ".

The anniversary pavilion will display pioneering architecture and serve as an inspirational model

The Fuggerei NEXT500 pavilion has been designed by the internationally renowned Dutch architects, MVRDV, and will have a novel timber construction, created especially for the 500th anniversary and will be built by construction partner, Züblin Timber, with all the wood for the construction coming from the Fugger Foundation forests. With its pitched roof, green shutters and a front garden, the building will mirror the historic rows of houses of the Fuggerei, all framed within a curved “floating” projection and large window, opening out over the Augsburg City Hall Square. Inside the building, an exhibition with photos by the photographer Daniel Biskup will enable the Fuggerei code to be understood in the context of seven social challenges. 

In terms of exhibition content, the "Fuggerei Code" and visions of new Fuggerei of the future will be a prime focus, among other public events centered on the pavilion. In addition, a modular system of timber construction has been developed with MVRDV, which it is hoped will offer inspiration for new Fuggereis of the future - the three visions of new Fuggerei (from Lithuania, Sierra Leone and Augsburg) will be revealed for the first time in the NEXT500 pavilion.

“The NEXT500 Pavilion is an extraordinary wooden building and the final highlight of our anniversary year. A varied program will be offered over a period of five weeks, to which the public is invited. As a foundation, we want to open a new chapter in the history of the Fuggerei together with interested parties. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Fuggerei, we developed an initiative to ensure that the Fuggerei of the future can be replicated worldwide”, adds Alexander Erbgraf Fugger-Babenhausen in conclusion.

Notes to Editors

About the Fuggerei

The Fuggerei settlement in Augsburg was donated in 1521 by Jakob Fugger for "eternity" for needy fellow citizens. Around 150 people currently live in the 67 terraced houses with 140 apartments - for three prayers a day and 88 cents a year cold rent. To this day, many needy people find safe housing there and receive support for a successful, self-determined life in dignity. As the oldest social settlement in the world, the Fuggerei has been fulfilling its foundation purpose of offering a home to many people in need since 1521. According to the deed of foundation, the Fuggerei should exist ”forever“ and, if possible, also be expanded. Jakob Fugger's successors have lived up to this responsibility and have maintained and even expanded the Fuggerei despite major crises over the past half millennium.

In order to put the secret of the Fuggerei into words, the guidelines from the foundation deed were compared with their current interpretation. It has been shown that there are provisions that have stood the test of time and crisis - just like a DNA formula or a code. On the basis of this code, ”Fuggereien of the future“ can be created, which are implemented individually depending on the will of the donor and still contain the core Fuggerei ideas. In this way, founders can successfully set up residential foundations based on their personal goals and under their name, which bear the world-renowned “Fuggerei” quality mark.

"Fuggerei of the future" and concrete goals

Donors can now combine their personal idea of social action with the core ideas of the Fuggerei code and develop individual Fuggerei of the Future“. The anniversary year 2021/2022 is already starting with concrete plans. There are already commitments for a Fuggerei in Lithuania with a focus on "care" and a Fuggerei in Sierra Leone, which is intended to specifically empower women and girls.  Another Fuggerei could be established in Augsburg itself, with a focus on “education”. In connection with affordable living in urban areas, this Fuggerei would link two key issues in society. The aim now is to win over interested citizens as donors or donor communities for this project.

The Fuggerei Code

A central feature of a Fuggerei is to strengthen the self-determination and dignity of its residents. A goal that is important all over the world. The advantages of a Fuggerei are its quality as a living space and its rules and regulations, which are geared towards participation and respect for other people: the construction of a Fuggerei is of high quality, it offers dignified living with space for individuality and self-determination, but also for community. The weighting depends on the needs of the local people and the focus of a Fuggerei. With the help of flexible modules, planning can react to whether proximity or space for individualization is the goal. In addition, the residents decide for themselves how they live. The rules of living together are based on tolerance and respect for others. A Fuggerei is curated on site to ensure these rules and thus the dignity of the individual. The principle of consideration – even if it is small – establishes a connection of mutual giving between the donor and the residents. The residents are not recipients of alms and are also strengthened in their personal responsibility by helping them to help themselves. This is also what constitutes dignity.

The seven social challenges

The core ideas of the Fuggerei are open to contemporary interpretation. You can also contribute to overcoming social challenges today and in other places and make social home a reality. That is the idea behind the "Fuggerei of the future". A "Fuggerei of the future" should provide answers to these seven challenges that are relevant in many societies:

  • Strengthen self-determination and dignity
  • Give safety
  • Guarantee humanistic values
  • Develop spirituality
  • Create living space
  • Generate sustainability
  • Cope with neediness