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Unique job ad Swiss town seeks outgoing hermit

The Hermitage of St Verena will get a new house-sitter in July

The Hermitage of St Verena will get a new house-sitter in July

(Keystone)

The community of Solothurn has placed a job advertisement for a local hermit to continue a 600-year-old tradition. But this time, they are looking for someone who’s sociable enough to get along with curious tourists and locals.

 “Are you an idealistic, religious person who gets joy out of meeting people?” asks the notice in the regional Protestant Press publication advertising the position.

While those criteria may not seem to meet those of a typical hermit, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper reports that hermits who previously occupied the position were often overwhelmed by the number of hikers and visitors coming by their house in the Verena Gorge near Solothurn.

So, the community is now seeking a more sociable person who doesn’t mind greeting visitors or hosting events like weddings and baptisms that take place in a nearby chapel.

The most recent hermit, the first-ever woman to take the job in its nearly 600-year history, announced her departure in March following five years of living in the gorge and caring for the house. She moved to a retirement facility citing health reasons, according to the Solothurner Zeitung newspaper.

During her time as a hermit, she had expressed difficulty in dealing with the hype surrounding her role and retreated to a nearby monastery for one day each week.

The Verena Gorge is one of the places in Switzerland believed by some to hold mystical powers related to its geography. The first records of a hermit in the gorge date back to 1442.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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