• What is RYEurope?
• What do we do?
• Find out more on this page!

Rural Youth Europe (RYEurope) is an European Non-Governmental Organisation for rural youth. Established in 1957, it functions as an umbrella for youth organisations working to promote and activate young people in the countryside. It provides international training possibilities and works as an intermediary between national organisations, youth organisations and public institutions on an European level. Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted and led by young people for young people.

Why Rural Youth Europe?

The objectives of Rural Youth Europe are to

  • Educate and train young people and create an awareness of rural and social issues
  • Actively encourage rural populations and industry
  • Support the development of new rural youth organizations
  • Network with other European NGOs
  • Lobby and highlight the problems and needs of rural youth to focus the attention of international and national bodies, as well as the general public

Furthermore, Rural Youth Europe promotes

  • activities of rural youth organizations
  • youth participation
  • exchange of best practice
  • intercultural dialogue
  • sustainable regional youth work
  • participation in the formation of (rural) youth policies
  • European citizenship
  • networking between rural youth organizations
  • intercultural learning through participative youth work
  • setting up projects to involve young people

How does Rural Youth Europe work?

An eventful organisation

Rural Youth Europe uses events to create a platform for learning, developing and improving life for youngsters in rural areas

RYEurope aims to unite rural youth organisations across Europe to promote rural development, environmental-friendly lifestyle, youth participation. Moreover we wish to raise awareness on human rights and intercultural diversity. In order to lobby and highlight the needs of rural youth and to draw the attention of international and national bodies as well as the general public RYEurope arranges yearly seminars and a rally to discuss and share knowledge on topics such as rural development, youth participation, intercultural dialogue and human rights. We also encourage members to participate in other European youth events too.

A structured organisation

Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted and led by young people for young people

The governing bodies of Rural Youth Europe are the Board and the General Assembly. The Board has a maximum of 7 members. It implements the policy formulated by the General Assembly, and is responsible for all business not undertaken by the General Assembly. The General Assembly consists of representatives of all member organisations, and meets at least once a year. The Assembly elects the members of the Board.

The member organisations are divided in 4 regional groups:

  • Group 1 – United Kingdom & Ireland
  • Group 2 – Central Europe
  • Group 3 – Nordic Countries
  • Group 4 – Eastern Europe

Each of these regions has a representative in the Board. The countries in the regions take turns in nominating a Board member. Besides the 4 regional representatives, the Board has a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson who are independently elected. The term of office is 2 years. The Board meets at least 3 times per year.
The daily affairs of Rural Youth Europe are run by the Secretary General, who is employed by the organisation on a permanent basis. The Secretary General attends all statutory meetings and runs the office. Rural Youth Europe also employs a part-time Media and Communications Coordinator.


Did you know that…

Rural Youth Europe was founded as a European Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Rendsburg, Germany in 1957. It was formerly named “European Committee for Young Farmers and 4H Clubs”. The current name, Rural Youth Europe, was adopted in 2004.

The first steps of the organisation were taken after the Second World War, when leading persons of British, Scandinavian and Central European rural organisations wanted to establish their vision of a pan-European network. Later on, Southern and Eastern European members joined to develop the organisation.

Today, 20 member organisations from 18 countries and more than 500,000 young people are part of Rural Youth Europe.

The main idea of Rural Youth Europe was to bring together the traditional out-of-school organisations of Western and Central Europe and the in-school organisations of Scandinavia. Leadership trainings, courses, seminars, exchanges and other practical activities were organised in order to encourage this idea. These activities received funding from local sponsors and then later from the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

Today the three main activities of Rural Youth Europe are the Spring Seminar, the Autumn Seminar and the European Rally. Especially the European Rally has a long history and it is a fundamental part of RYEurope’s activities. The first Rally was held in 1960 in Zuidlaren, Netherlands. Over the years the European Rally has become a major event on the calendars of all member organisations.

Our vision and mission

Our Vision for rural youth

Young people in rural communities should feel part of a larger European community where human rights and equality are respected regardless of opinion, background and beliefs.

Our Vision for our organisation

Rural Youth Europe is known among European institutions as an educational organisation and its learning outcomes are widely recognised.

Our Mission

Rural Youth Europe works to enhance the lives of rural young people through providing intercultural learning opportunities which encourage advocacy and respect for others, and:

  • Bring together and develop a network of European rural youth in order to enable the sharing and promotion of best practice in an interactive, inclusive and collaborative community. We encourage a safe and supportive environment where young leaders can be empowered and reach their full potential.
  • Provide the tools, skills and knowledge for rural youth to develop and be motivated to pursue their ambitions.
  • Provide a voice for rural youth to be heard by European institutions and decision makers on key topics

Find our statutes here. The English version is a translation and thus not official. If you want to access the official statutes in German, please contact office@ruralyoutheurope.com

Statutes in English