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‘Outgoing’ applicants sought for hermit job

Old building isolated

A council in Switzerland is looking to recruit a new hermit. But will they be able to find a recluse with good social skills?

A Swiss council is advertising for an ‘outgoing’ individual to take on a job that involves living like a hermit in a cave.

The position at Verena Gorge, north of the city of Solothurn, Switzerland, became vacant after the previous employee retired, apparently because she didn’t enjoy the attention that came with the role. Although the job requires the successful applicant to be willing to live alone in a cavern, an “open and communicative” personality is also said to be important.

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

In addition to tending a small garden, responsibilities include “dispensing wisdom” to passers-by and holding courses in meditation three times a week. And if that wasn’t enough, the lucky recluse must also be amenable to local wedding and baptism groups who regularly gather at a small chapel near the cave.

Finding a recluse who appreciates visitors may seem unlikely, yet the council claims to have received over 40 applications for the job to date – and not just from Switzerland.

Mayor Sergio Wyniger said: “We were surprised by the amount of interest we had this time around. We have had applications from all over Europe.”

“The cave is a protected monument and a valuable part of the region’s cultural heritage,” Wyniger added. “The job of hermit is an important one.”

The closing date for applications is the end of this week, so applicants will need to be quick if they want to make the shortlist.