The 3rd European Rural Parliament will be held 18 to 21 October 2017 in the village of Venhorst in the Netherlands.  It will include a day of field visits in North Brabant region, which is not only truly rural but also remarkable for its high-tech agro-food and other industries.  This will be followed by two days of working groups and plenary sessions, in order to bring together the outputs from the series of working groups and to enable an updated debate about the state of rural areas in the wider Europe and the policy challenges and opportunities which must be faced in the coming decade.  

Venhorst, with a population of 1,700, may seem an unlikely setting for an international gathering of 300 people from 40 European countries.  But this village, founded 100 years ago as part of an ambitious programme to create fertile farmland out of former peatbogs, is a lively and outward-looking community.  Its Parish Hall will be the main venue for the Rural Parliament.  Surrounding buildings, including the school and church, will provide extra meeting places.  Many residents in the village will provide overnight accommodation for participants in the event: others will stay in farms and guesthouses in the surrounding area.

The Gathering will be hosted by Landelijke Vereniging voor Kleine Kernen LVKK (National Association of Small Towns) and its provincial partner Vereniging Kleine Kernen Noord-Brabant VKKNB (North Brabant Association of Small Towns), supported by many provincial and local organisations and by student volunteers.  Funding for the event has been promised by the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs, the province of North Brabant and the municipality of Boekel, alongside our own funds from the European Commission’s Europe for Citizens programme.

If you wish to express interest in attending the Gathering, please contact the Joint Coordinators.