Survived, but viable? Villages on the edge of the "big hole

Locked windows, bricked-up doors, abandoned cemeteries, roads lead nowhere, only a few signs of human activity can be seen. Ghost villages have sprung up on the edges of Europe's largest lignite mining area in western Germany.

Like many villages in the decades before, these places were to fall victim to the voracious, gigantic excavators. Except for a few remaining, the residents have bowed to the supposedly inevitable in recent years and have resettled. They have moved to new houses, to new villages with the same name. Places that will probably only be home for the next generation when the memories have faded. In 2022, the German government decided to prematurely phase out climate-damaging lignite mining, dredging the old villages is no longer necessary.

What future do these places have? Is life coming back there, do the former residents want to return, is something completely new being created there? Until then, they seem like "lost places".