European Neighbors’ Day is celebrated annually on the last Friday of May and this year will be marked on May 31. The day aims to promote interaction and camaraderie amongst community members. Individualization, loneliness, and withdrawal seemed to be on the rise. Communities and neighborhoods were not interacting socially and people weren’t networking. European Neighbors’ Day encourages people to get together and get to know each other to deepen bonds within communities. Despite the name, European Neighbors’ Day is celebrated around the world. With its growing success, it has even crossed European borders. 1,450 partner cities are involved, housing organizations & associations are participating in over 49 countries, and there have been more than 30 million participants.
History of European Neighbors' Day
The idea of European Neighbors’ Day was thought up by Atanase Périfan and a group of friends. They created “Paris d’Amis” or “challenges for friends” in the 17th district of Paris. Several “Paris d’Amis” were launched and most of them were successful and warmly received. The association received sponsorships for a variety of its causes. They helped neighbors who may have financial difficulties, hosted family-style Christmases for those who had no family, arranged transport for those without the means to get around, helped find employment for those unemployed, and arranged child care for children who needed it.
In 1999, Atanase Périfan and the “Paris d’Amis” Association launched “Immeubles en Fête” or Neighbours Day. The goal was to strengthen neighborhood ties, develop a sense of belonging to the same neighborhoods, closeness among neighborhoods, and counteract isolation and exclusion. More than 10,000 residents from 800 apartment buildings participated. The following year, with the support of the Association of the Mayors of France and the Union Sociale pour l’Habitat, 500,000 people gathered for neighbor’s celebrations.
By 2003, Neighbors Day managed to rally three million Europeans in France and Belgium, mainly in Brussels. It was in 2004 that European Neighbors’ Day was officially launched. About 3,500,000 participants joined the launch in Europe, and over 3,000,000 in France. In 2012, over 14 million people in about 1,400 towns hosted gatherings around Europe and beyond.
European Neighbors' Day timeline
"Immeubles en fête - la fête des voisin," aka Neighbors Day, is launched.
One million people partake in the festivities.
Three million Europeans in France and Belgium, mainly in Brussels, get involved.
Neighbors Day becomes European Neighbors' Day and is officially launched.
European Neighbours Day is celebrated in 450 cities in Europe and brings 4.5 million people together in the first meeting of European citizens.
1,400 towns with over 14 million people host gatherings all over Europe.
About 30 million people and 1,250 town halls and landlords take part in the initiative.
European Neighbors' Day FAQs
What is the meaning of Neighbors Day?
It aims to build and support relationships across communities, while also helping to address loneliness across the nation.
Does neighborhood mean city?
It is a geographically localized community within a larger city, town, suburb, or rural area.
What are the three types of communities?
Rural, urban, and suburban
European Neighbors' Day Activities
Gift your neighbors
A simple gift would be fantastic to put a smile on their faces. It is a great way to indicate how much you care about them.
Host a dinner with a neighbor
Invite your next-door neighbor for a meal. You could also prepare a warm meal and surprise them.
Talk to people or post on social media about this wonderful day. Have more neighbors join in and bond together today.
5 Facts About Community
Community is French
The word community is derived from the Old French 'comunet' which comes from the Latin ‘communitas.’
It is important for man
Humans are social beings and connection to one’s community is good for our well-being.
It helps nurture children
Children grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically through their relationships and through their community, which gives them a sense of belonging.
It is great for social health
Studies show that those who lack strong social connections are also more likely to suffer from high levels of stress and inflammation and face a higher risk for suicide and early death.
It promotes better brains
Research suggests that our brains function better when we interact with others and experience togetherness.
Why We Love European Neighbors' Day
By people for people
European Neighbors’ Day is organized at a grassroots level. Everyone is free to choose where and when their events will take place.
Along with the community, municipalities, landlords, local associations, and public and private partners promote the movement in their region and get involved. Everyone comes together on that Day.
It promotes a sense of oneness
European Neighbors' Day strengthens social ties and brings communities closer together.
European Neighbors' Day dates