The Political Festival of Europe is a yearly democracy festival that aims to gather citizens of Europe over the course of four days to discuss politics and embrace Europe’s rich history and cultural heritage. The Political Festival of Europe takes place in a town called Mariager – also known as the city of roses – an old, idyllic medieval town with crooked houses, cobblestoned streets and timber framed houses. With a modest population of just over 2,500 inhabitants, Mariager town will soon become the place where European democracy will come to life gathering hundreds of thousands of Europeans who want in on the future of Europe. Our mission is to be a place of: Courage – where we dare discuss the future of Europe “Peoplelization” – where we build communities as well as celebrate, showcase, and spread insights to local, regional, and national cultures Inspiration – where we establish debates, dialogues, hearings, and citizen involvement Accessibility – where we create an informal environment for citizens, politicians, and business leaders to meet Anchoring – where we anchor and raise the importance of our democracy for the future of Europe at a local level In line with our missions, our vision is to “peoplelize” European politics and become a platform, where we strengthen democracy and unity in Europe. We aspire to become the political Olympic Games, where everyone has the possibility of participating in creating the future of Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all the more reason to create a platform, where we together can discuss European politics and its future. A platform, where people actively can get involved in developing European democracy. The inspiration behind Political Festival of Europe comes from the Nordic tradition of folkemøder – a concept we want to take to the next level and raise from national settings to a pan-European setting in order to discuss matters that influence everyone in Europe. What is a Folkemøde? The Danish tradition of Folkemøde [Folk – people; møde – meeting] is a public meeting that dates back to 1839. It is a political event that gathers people with different political views and positions in the interest of democracy. A Folkemøde takes form of informal discussions and speeches across opinions and hierarchy that strengthens active involvement of all participants – every one has a say, every one is heard. After the concept faded away in the 1940s, neighboring Sweden’s own form of folkemøde – Almedalsveckan introduced in 1968 – became the inspiration and groundwork for Denmark to revive the concept on the island of Bornholm in 2011 with their very own annual Folkemøde. It took on popularity fairly fast and has generated thousands of national visitors ever since. So far held at national levels, we aim to expand this concept to the whole of Europe. Here is why. What the purpose of a Folkemøde? The Danish model of Folkemøde is the cornerstone for democracy and pays tribute to the community. The foundation of a Folkemøde lies in dismantling barriers between citizens, politicians and decision-makers in order to bring politics closer to the people and to make society a better place for everybody. The aim is to lead discussions about how to improve the future of the society and have citizens participate in shaping change. A “folkemøde” aims to: o Inspire and challenge political views and visions o Let people meet and listen to politicians they voted for o Let people have a say and be heard o Increase trust between citizens and decision-makers and hold politicians accountable o “Peoplelize”, ;build a community where culture is showcased and celebrated o Facilitate meaningful debates and anchor them in the political agenda As cultural heritage is also celebrated in a Folkemøde, entertainment and good food are an integral part of such an event. Hence, at the Political Festival of Europe, you will be able to find arts and crafts, music and gastronomy, alongside the political debates, speeches, workshops, hearings etc.