Hepstedt is a village of approximately 1050 inhabitants in northern Germany, near Bremen. Meadows and forests surround it. There are still 15 families working in agriculture. Most of the other people work in Zeven (15km away) in the food industry or the service sector, or in Bremen with Mercedes Benz.
The children go to school in the nearby villages Tarmstedt or Zeven. Hepstedt may not have hypermarkets, but it has a splendid farm shop, where you can buy fresh seasonal vegetables and other products that are produced in the village. Several cafés and small shops sell handmade wooden toys.
Hepstedt also has a swimming pool with adjoining campsite at “Ummel”, one of the largest forests in the area. However, Hepstedt is not only calm and peaceful. There are many clubs and associations, including the association for young country people and one for countrywomen, where they can follow interesting courses or join excursions. There is also a voluntary fire brigade. Furthermore, there is a theatre group that performs in “plattdüütsch”, the local dialect that is related to the Dutch language. And of course there are the “friends of Europe”, the organisation which maintains the contact with the Charter and other countries.
Hepstedt is lucky that their village and the surrounding villages have no inconvenience with heavy traffics, but that the motorway to Bremen and Hamburg is close by. The former school building is located in the centre of the village, which now accommodates a community room, the Kindergarten and the mayor’s office. In 1994, when a Charter meeting took place in Hepstedt for the first time, they placed here a “stone of Europe”. The stone shows the map of Europe and a chain of little goats in different European clothing.
In 2004, Hepstedt organised the European Event again to celebrate that it was for 1000 years that Hepstedt was first mentioned in history. For this event, a local artist created a signpost that shows the distance to all members of the Charter. They placed the signpost in the centre of the village.
Mayor Markus Schwiering