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Introducing Matadepera, Spain's richest town
13 October 2020 @ 19:47

TREE-LINED, lush, green and on the edge of the Sant Llorenç del Munt i Serra de l'Obac nature reserve, Matadepera is home to just 10,000 people, 30 kilometres from Barcelona, about 10 kilometres from Sabadell and six from Terrassa – and has just knocked a Madrid celebrity belt off the number one spot as the richest town in Spain.

Pozuelo de Alarcón had held onto its crown for at least the past five years, with its average gross annual income per resident having risen from €70,298 in 2016 to €79,506 by the end of 2018.

Residential areas in the élite commuter town of around 90,000 inhabitants are largely made up of gated urbanisations, the most famous being La Finca, where former Madrid CF and FC Oporto goalkeeper Iker Casillas and his reporter and fashion designer wife Sara Carbonero own a 2,000-square-metre villa, currently let to tenants as they have just returned to the capital region after a five-year stint living in Portugal.

They are far from being the most blue-chip residents in Pozuelo de Alarcón, however – they're among equals in terms of fame and fortune. Actors, sports personalities, politicians and property tycoons are some of the typical fabric of the local community, although given that their earnings probably run into hundreds of thousands a head, it does seem that it must be home to a hefty number of much more average-to-low-income earners if the mean figure is only just short of €80,000 each.

Also in the Greater Madrid region, Alcobendas comes immediately after Pozuelo, with pre-tax per-capita income of €68,842, leapfrogging Boadilla del Monte, with the average resident earning a before-tax annual income of €61,910, despite having been ahead of Alcobendas until this year.

Number-seven wealthiest town in Spain is also in Madrid – Majadahonda, where a typical inhabitant nets €54,506 a year, gross – and numbers five and six are in Catalunya, both in the province of Barcelona: Sant Just Desvern, with a mean average gross pay per resident of €58,875, and Sant Cugat del Vallés (€57,565).

Avinyonet del Penedès was ahead of Sant Just and Sant Cugat last year, with a typical individual inhabitant getting €57,843 a year before tax, but for reasons that have not been explained, this has now plunged to less than half – a gross annual €28,347 per head.

So Matadepera, with a yearly pre-tax income per capita of €218,788, leaves them all standing.

And the richest town in Spain joins these three in being within the same province as the second-largest city in the country – but its profile seems very different.


Quaint, pretty and low-key: What's in Matadepera

As well as being considerably smaller than those that typically hog the top 10 or so, this big village in the department of Vallès Occidental is almost entirely residential, rather than commercial or industrial: It is split into neighbourhoods and urbanisations, such as Les Pedritxes, Cavall Bernat, Can Robert, Rourets and Pla de Sant Llorenç.

Matadepera does have what would be considered 'essential services', such as a GP clinic, nursery schools, primary and high schools, a library, a music school, a municipal police force and – fruit of its being in the depths of hundreds of acres of dense woodland – a volunteer fire brigade and forestry brigade.

Here, though, you won't find shops, aside from the bare necessities like supermarkets, nor shopping centres, industrial estates, nightclubs, or even many bars or restaurants to speak of.

It's nestled at the foot of the La Mola mountain, which stands 1,104 metres above sea level and serves as a base for the attractive Sant Llorenç del Munt monastery (second picture), built from local stone in the 10th century but largely reconstructed about 120 years ago (Napoleon's troops destroyed the original in 1809), and also for the Can Pobla stately home, commissioned in the early 20th century by the then owner of the mountain, Antoni de Quadras.

Over half the village is nature reserve, and its other attractions include the mid-14th-century Santa Agnès hermitage chapel on the slope of the El Drac cave (fourth picture, by Ramon2222 on Wikimedia Commons); the chapel and estate known as La Barata, restored in 1940 after being wrecked during the Civil War; the Torre de l'Àngel, or 'Angel's Tower', which isn't a tower at all but is actually a modernist-style house designed by local architect Lluís Muncunill in 1907; the old Romanesque-style Sant Joan de la Mata Xica church, rebuilt in the 17th century; the 'new' Sant Joan Baptista church, built between 1911 and 1917, and the Can Roure estate, which is said to date back to the 13th century and serves as the grounds for the Sant Joan de la Mata Xica church.

This beautiful ivy-covered building in acres of verdant gardens was recently the venue for an open-air concert to mark the 25th anniversary of the 'Musical Autumns' (Les Tardors Musicals) festival, and dedicated to a much-loved local resident, Sílvia López, who 'left us in November 2019', according to the town hall.

The photo of the church (third picture) and a close-up of the concert (fifth picture) are both from its Instagram page, ajmatadepera, and the first picture, of its main annual fiestas, from the town hall website.


How Matadepera became Spain's richest town

Fewer than half the inhabitants in this quaint little town, or 4,812 in total, filed a tax declaration in 2018, the year for which gross income was calculated to work out which was Spain's wealthiest municipality – according to its local government, of whom 12 out of 13 councillors are on pro-Catalunya independence parties, this was because the others were either exempt from doing so due to having worked for the same firm all year with their earnings below the required figure to declare them in this situation or because what they actually got did not reach the minimum taxable threshold.



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