Friends of Europe

Friends of Europe Associations in the Charter of European Rural Communities

As the European Union grows with new member countries, the role of the Charter always becomes increasingly relevant to enabling connectivity in Europe. Part of this connectivity has seen the birth and growth of the Associations of Friends of Europe, which is part of our Charter. This Association cultivates and encourages additional programmes such as exchanges of friendships, schools, sports clubs and participation in each municipality’s festivals.

The Associations of Friends of Europe was the concept of Esch in the Netherlands. From this Municipality, the Friends of Europe has grown to ten municipalities: Esch (Netherlands), Næstved (Denmark), Hepstedt (Germany), Bièvre (Belgium), Samuel (Portugal), Bienvenida (Spain), Cissé (France), Desborough (United Kingdom), Nagyçenk (Hungary) and Cashel (Ireland). It started in 1996 as “Esch, meetingpoint in Europe”. Since then the concept and activities remain unaltered, with the name changing to its current form under Charter ratification in 2009.

Here you can zoom to our Friends of Europe and use street view. Place your Cursor over each Icon to discover the name of the town or village, or Click on the Icon and follow the Link to discover more of each Friends of Europe…

The Friends of Europe works closely and in partnership with their municipality’s role in the European Charter. Where the European Charter is a more formal arrangement of administration of European Twinning by the municipality and for the citizens, the Friends of Europe is more citizen-centred. The European Charter and Friends of Europe have a strong bond in each municipality, which is seen in the Mayor, or elected councillor and Charter Communications Officer have a committee seat in each Friends of Europe.

By this the citizens of the municipality have an active role to support the member municipality in its administration of the European Charter by:
• Assisting in the organisation of hosting a Charter Meeting
• Promoting awareness of the Charter and its activities to the public
• Undertaking Delegate selection of citizens to attend Charter Meetings
• Arranging Friends of Europe get-togethers with Charter municipalities
• Creating bonds of friendship across Europe through the Associations of Friends of Europe
• Organising or assisting their own visits, and exchanges (such as school groups, sport clubs and community organisations), as well as participating in each others festivals
• Assisting other municipalities to establish their own Friends of Europe.

The relationship between Charter, Municipality and “Friends of Europe” organisations was established at a Presidium Meeting on the 13th of November 2008.

Please find here the guideline on how to establish a Friends of Europe organisation: Guideline for Friends of Europe

Here are our Friends of Europe associations:


Cashel, Irelanddownload



Cissé, FranceCissé, France


Desborough, United KingdomDesborough Crest



Esch, NetherlandsDesborough Crest



Hepstedt, GermanyHepstedt Logo



Nagyçenk, Hungarydownload




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