The Europe Challenge Back

The Europe Challenge

The Europe Challenge addresses some of Europe’s pressing challenges in a networked way, by working with libraries and their communities across Europe.

“The library is among the most critical forms of social infrastructure that we have”- from Erik Klinenberg’s ‘Palaces for the People’

Local questions are often shared questions in a European context. With the Europe Challenge, we support libraries working with their communities to prototype solutions to some of the most pressing challenges we face across Europe. Whether it is war, climate change, economic crisis or polarisation, our greatest challenges can only be solved when people – across Europe – lead the way in solidarity. Libraries, with their connections to communities and to municipalities and local governments, are safe spaces where people can come together to work on identifying challenges and solutions.

The Europe Challenge connects local communities and knowledge, offers a European experience and imagines a better Europe.

  • public libraries bring wellbeing to our societies and neighbourhoods; they are safe spaces where people with all kinds of backgrounds can have access to curated knowledge, experience and participation;
  • the Europe Challenge is engaging a growing network of libraries across Europe: from public libraries, to mobile, rural, school, university, and prison libraries, municipal and national libraries;
  • the network involves citizens and communities with great ideas in shaping solutions for our future that can be shared with other Europeans and replicated in other contexts;
  • the Europe Challenge facilitates the prototyping of solutions by providing funding and support through co-learning with peers from across Europe and expert support in citizens’ engagement and co-creation;
  • every Europe Day (9 May) the Europe Challenge provides a central stage for the participants to showcase their solutions and connect to wider audiences and possible new stakeholders and funders.

The Europe Challenge is an annual programme by the ECF, in collaboration with partners:   Amsterdam Public Libraries (OBA), Democratic Society and Public Libraries 2030.  

In the pilot edition, running from 9 May 2021 to 9 May 2022, seven libraries and their communities took part: the Amsterdam Public Libraries OBA (NL), DOKK1 Aarhus Public Library (DK), Central and Regional Library Berlin (DE), De Krook Ghent (B), Kranj City Library (SLO) Tordi Rubio i Balaguer Library (Sant Boi, ES) and Valmiera Public Library (LV).

From 9 to 27 May 2022, we are welcoming applications for The Europe Challenge 2022 – supported by the Fondazione Cariplo. Read all about the programme, get inspired by the challenges and solutions by the participants of the pilot edition and learn how to apply to the 2022 edition at  

We will launch the EUROPE CHALLENGE 2022 with a Europe Day online event featuring the libraries and communities who took part in last year’s Europe Challenge.

You can watch it online at 16:00 CET, Europe Day, 9 May 2022:

Future & partnerships

The Europe Challenge is a programme by the European Cultural Foundation in collaboration with partners:

The 2022 edition is supported by ECF & Fondazione Cariplo (Italy)

Are you a municipality, local or regional public institution or foundation, and do you support citizen-led change in your local area?

Then join us in growing and scaling the impact of the Europe Challenge locally and across Europe. Get in touch with us to discuss opportunities for collaboration at