Preface by the organisers
From 18 to 21 October 2017, the third edition of the European Rural Parliament will be organised in and around the village of Venhorst in the province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands (ERP 2017).
Our objective is to compile a program for this edition of the European Parliament that appeals to all parties involved.
It should also address some of the urgent challenges that Noord-Brabant and other regions in Europe are facing at present. The ERP 2017 should not only be of interest to our visitors, the European delegates and the networks they represent. This gathering of the European Parliament will also be highly relevant:
– For directing developments in our own region,
– For the people of Venhorst,
– And for the inhabitants of other small villages and the Noord-Brabant Association of Small Communities
– For people who live, and work in this region or are visiting the beautiful urban and rural mosaic that characterizes the region of Noord-Brabant.
The third edition of the European Rural Parliament will prove to be a success if it turns out to be a memorable experience for everyone involved with a message that will not easily be forgotten.
A growing number of inhabitants of Venhorst are excited and have been busy for months already, preparing for the logistical and organisational aspects of the event. This paper presents a ‘story under construction’ and focuses on the content matter of the ERP 2017. Its purpose is to evoke a positive response from a large group of people – our ERP 2017 family – that is crucial to turn this event into a success. It is meant to offer inspiration, provide individual contributors with a sense of direction, and help all to join forces in delivering a strong and clear message.
The storyline is built around three major themes that are strongly related and are known to have a tangible impact on the multifunctional landscape around Venhorst:
The historical traces that can be discovered in the cultural landscape and the local architecture will guide our European visitors when interpreting the message in view of their own regional context.These traces refer to the profound changes the countryside is confronted with through the fast acceleration of technology, trade and economics, by depopulation and ageing, environmental pressures and climate change.
These profound changes are accompanied by a growing demand for care but also by a reduction of public services on offer, by real estate that is no longer needed, as well as by the demand for suitable housing and office space, for access to high speed Internet and for more direct connections with the urban environment.