Armenia. The Path to European Values

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8 АААOn March 1, 2021, Armenia-EU signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). It is a partnership agreement between the European Union and Armenia. The agreement advances the bilateral relations between the European Union and Armenia to a new, partnership level. Nevertheless, there is a fierce debate in Armenia about whether the country should implement the democratic values that became the basis for the formation of the EU. The problem is that due to economic and visa restrictions, the majority of Armenian citizens have never been to the EU countries. This is especially true for young people. They know about democracy and democratic values only from the Armenian media, a significant part of which is Russia-oriented.

The Armenian team returned very inspired after the project in the Hague in 2022 supported by the Erasmus+ program (   In August 2022, after the conference, the Armenian group had a meeting with the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Armenia in Yerevan. During the meeting, the Ambassador asked the group about their plans, which they promised to think about. Later on, the Armenian group discussed the importance of providing an opportunity for other Armenian young people to experience the Netherlands. As the debates on whether European values are important for Armenia or not are very relevant today, the chance to communicate with Dutch peers is of vital importance for Armenian youths to realize the essence of those values.

11 АААThe Armenian group discussed the importance of providing an opportunity for other Armenian young people to experience the Netherlands. As the debates on whether European values are important for Armenia or not are very relevant today, the chance to communicate with Dutch peers is of vital importance for Armenian youths to realize the essence of those values.


Dutch National Agency Erasmus+ supported our project – the youth exchange, called «Armenia. The Path to European Value» in July 2023


5 АААProject objectives are

1. To foster intercultural dialogue between young people from Armenia and the Netherlands  

2. To create the opportunity for youth from Armenia to feel and experience what means to be European

3. To better understand European values and breaking down prejudices and stereotypes

4. To create and develop a network of young people from Armenia and the Netherlands.  


Due to the project from 18th till 27th of March there was realized a youth exchange in the Hague, each national team consisted of 15 youth activists from youth or student NGOs from Armenia and the Netherlands. Several participants from the Dutch team were with Armenian roots - they were born in Armenia but their families migrated to the Netherlands and now these young people are Dutch citizens. The age limit for the youth participants was from 18 to 30.

3 АААThe first part of the youth exchange 18 - 22 Mar, took place in Vakantiepark Kijkduin, a place which is very loved by residents. Participants stayed in comfortable 6-bed bungalows equipped with kitchenware. The beach is located within walking distance, there are cozy terraces, an indoor swimming pool, and much more.

The group was scheduled to move to the Hague city center on March 22 and they stayed there until March 27. They lived in StayOk hostel which is known for its great location, cleanliness, and hospitable environment. The hostel is conveniently located at the very center of the city, where famous sites of The Hague are within walking distance.

The project participant shared how they understand the European values, what do they mean for them. They participated in different interactive activities both in indoors and outdoors. They met with the students from Leiden University and with experts from Clingendael Institute. They visited the House of Representatives of the Netherlands and the International Criminal Court. A meeting in the Armenian Center Abovian was organized for them. The Armenian Ambassador to the Netherlands took part in it.

4 АААOn the sixth day of the youth exchange a role-play was organized for the project participants. Youth participants were divided into three mixed groups and in those groups they made videos on the streets of the Hague. The videos appeared to be very touchy. They provide the opportunity to get acquainted with the Hague in those spring days and with the mood of young people from Armenia and the Netherlands who participated in these stories. The videos can be found via this link

The project participants learned a lot about Eastern Partnership Program. Why was it established and the participants talked a lot on how young people can contribute to its realization. They came with several concrete ideas on what should be done. One of their ideas was developed into an application form for another Youth Exchange. A network between youth from Armenia and the Netherlands was established. Youth from Armenia learned a lot about different opportunities for volunteering, studying and learning which they can use to experience more the life in the Netherlands. In particular, there was a meeting in Leiden University where they learned a lot from their peers. Armenian participants shared that they learned and understood deeper and better the role of European values. Due to the project, they had the chance to look at their lives in Armenia from some other angle and learn where the European values are violated and started to think on the strategies on how to share their knowledge in Armenia, why European values are so important for the society. Dutch young people learned more about Armenia. Some of them shared that they have never heard about Nagorno-Karabakh region before and the war there. It was very interesting for them to learn about the political life of the country - the reforms, the Velvet revolution, due to which new politicians came to power who want to realize democratic reforms and establish good relations with EU.

9 АААThe stereotypes which Dutch and Armenian young people had somehow about each other were erased and very positive and respectful attitude was established in a group.


It looks like we have a simple formula for holding successful events - youth + Erasmus + the Netherlands.


After two months, we asked young participants to share their impressions. During this time, they managed to return to their daily activities and thus their assessment of the youth exchange in The Hague was more objective and less emotional. The results of this survey are shown below.

 12 аааDaniel

During the youth exchange ‘Armenia. The path to European values’, I learned a lot about Armenia and its beautiful culture, and also about their battle to become part of the European Union. It was a real eye opener to get to know more about Armenia and to have interesting debates from the participants and to learn from each other. As a Dutch participant, it was truly meaningful to me to broaden my knowledge about Armenia and their people and values. We took part in a nice program that was educational, while also having fun with each other and enjoy our time together. I believe this opportunity was perfect for Armenian youth to feel and experience what it’s like to live in The Netherlands. For me as a Dutch participant, it was also very interesting to learn more about the differences between Dutch citizens and Armenian citizens. I learned about Armenia’s history and resilience. I’m honoured to have been part of this amazing YE and I’m grateful that it was in The Hague! I enjoyed it!!


22 ааа I would like to share my impressions of the latest youth exchange in TheHague, where youth representatives from Armenia and the Netherlands werepresent. It was an unforgettable and inspiring event, filled with many interesting meetings and productive discussions. Participants from both countries showed a high level of engagement and openness to new experiences and cultural exchange. We discussed many current topics such as European values, education, ecology, human rights and intercultural cooperation. I was especially impressed by how easy and natural the communication and interaction was. Despite language and cultural differences, we quicklyfound a common language and were able to cooperate fruitfully. This shows that young people have great desire and potential to work together for the benefit of our common future.

I am very glad that I had the opportunity to take part in this exchange and hope to continue similar initiatives in the future.



37 aaaDuring the Erasmus programme we had in the Netherlands me and my team of fine intellectuals were given the chance to interact with the culture and the customs of western Europe. As a part of “effective” (historical) Europe Armenia is not up to the current European standards because of former ways of governance in our region. We, the youth, are keen on changing those old-fashioned ways and going for the prosperous future. My main objective in the course of the programme was to gain more information about the European customs to then inform my compatriots about said customs. Just like I did in the past when also I had a chance to participate in such programmes. Furthermore, I would like to implement quality life improvements which have become European standards in our mother land, which include, but are not limited to: recycling of plastic, advanced cycling infrastructure and sorting of rubbish. I plan on accomplishing said objectives with the help of my classmate, namely Gor Avetisyan, who was also one of the participants of the programme and who is also very keen on implementing these means of progress and improvements in the country. We have already started taking steps towards the accomplishment of these tasks by using bicycles as our one and only means of transportation. Moreover, we have already begun negotiating with our local municipality about the potential implementations of the recycling process.



33 aaa uyyI would like to start with the fact that every single one of us has to pay attention to the things or people who surround us. We have to be responsible for the things we do, i.e. throwing rubbish in places where it should not be. We have to sort out rubbish, spend more time outsides where the air is fresh, eat healthy food, be warm and welcoming when talking to others and, most importantly, we should value the world around us. I have started going to places, where I would normally go by taking a cab or a bus, with a bike, which has a lot of plus-sides, of which, firstly is the physical exercise that you achieve by doing it. Not only that, but it is also faster than going by bus. Lastly it makes me wake up early in the morning without the need of getting a coffee to make me concentrated for the rest of the day, which also makes me feel a lot better in the long run. Shortly, I will implement rubbish sorting solutions at my shop, with which I would love to be an example to other companies and people who should also learn how to control their waste for a greener future.



During my 10-day visit to the Netherlands, I was struck by the profound politeness and respect exhibited by its residents, as well as the robust democracy that permeates Dutch society. From the moment I arrived, it was evident that these values are deeply embedded in the culture. One of the most striking aspects of Dutch politeness is their direct yet considerate communication style. Whether I was asking for directions, ordering food, or engaging in casual conversation, people were always willing to assist with a smile. Their efficiency in communication, devoid of unnecessary embellishments, made interactions straightforward and pleasant. In restaurants and shops, staff members consistently demonstrated a high level of customer service, treating each person with equal importance and courtesy. Respect for others was also apparent in everyday interactions. For example, in public transportation, people would patiently wait for others to get off before boarding, and there was a noticeable absence of pushing or rushing. In conversations with locals, I learned about the country’s proportional representation system, which ensures that even smaller parties have a voice in government. The presence of multiple political parties and regular, fair elections highlight the vibrancy of Dutch democracy. Overall, my time in the Netherlands left a lasting impression of a society where politeness, respect, and democracy are not just ideals but lived realities. The Dutch people's courteous interactions, mutual respect in public spaces, and active engagement in democratic processes create a cohesive and inclusive community, making the Netherlands a remarkable example of how these values can shape a nation's character.



40 aaaDuring my time with the "West-East Bridges Foundation," I had the opportunity to participate in a dynamic and enriching program that left a lasting impression on me. The blend of educational and cultural activities provided a comprehensive experience that deepened my understanding of international relations and cultural diversity. One of the most memorable part of the program was interviewing young people on the streets of various cities. These interactions were eye-opening, as they provided diverse perspectives on social issues, aspirations, and everyday challenges faced by youth in different parts of the world. It was fascinating to hear their stories and understand the commonalities and differences in their experiences compared to our own. The intercultural night was a highlight, bringing together participants from various countries to share their traditions, music, and dance. This event fostered a spirit of unity and mutual respect. As part of this night, we prepared Armenian food, which was a delightful way to share a piece of our culture with others. Cooking traditional dishes like dolma and lavash not only allowed us to introduce our culinary heritage but also sparked engaging conversations about cultural similarities and differences. Meeting with the Ambassador of Armenia to the Netherlands was a prestigious and insightful experience. The ambassador shared valuable insights into the diplomatic relations between Armenia and other countries, the challenges faced, and the strategies employed to enhance bilateral ties. This meeting underscored the importance of diplomacy and international cooperation in addressing global issues. Overall, the program offered a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experiences. It enhanced my intercultural communication skills, broadened my perspective on global issues, and provided invaluable experiences that will undoubtedly influence my future endeavors. The connections made and the lessons learned during this program are something I will carry with me for a lifetime.



50 aaaAs this was my first time outside of my homeland, Armenia, I experienced many cultural shocks, particularly regarding transportation. I’d like to share my observations about the roads dedicated to bicycles. In Armenia, I often blamed unreliable buses for delays. However, during my time in the Netherlands, I witnessed a highly efficient transportation system that you can truly rely on. One of the most pleasant surprises was discovering that people in the Netherlands mostly use bicycles, allowing them to manage their time effectively. Unlike cars, which often get stuck in traffic, bicycles provide a quicker and more reliable mode of transport. I was also struck by the absence of traffic jams and the calm demeanor of the people. The patience of the people was another striking difference, whether it was waiting in line, getting in and out of transportation, or simply finishing your sentence in a conversation. Life in the Netherlands feels more calm and comfortable, leading to better mental and physical well-being. Interestingly, the lifestyle of people in the countryside does not differ drastically from those in the cities. Participating in activities that encouraged reflection on life choices and future decisions was also a valuable experience. Overall, I enjoyed staying in the Netherlands and drawing parallels between Armenia and the Netherlands. Regarding bicycles, I must admit that I am still afraid to ride my bike to work in Armenia due to chaotic traffic and reckless driving. The way Dutch people cycle freely without fear is something I cannot yet imagine doing back home. Nevertheless, I believe that taking small steps towards cycling can be beneficial for individuals and the environment. In the Netherlands, even in crowded cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the air felt clean and fresh. I often said that it felt like we were "breathing trees" because of the clean environment. Inspired by this experience, I am motivated to take the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle and encourage those around me to do the same.



60 aaaUnforgettable memories, friendships and adventurous and informative 10 days in The Hague or as the locals say, Den Haag. A group of students from major Armenian universities had the opportunity to be in the Netherlands for 10 days, to admire and be surprised by cultural monuments, architecture and exchange experience with Dutch students. Despite the fact that almost all important international affairs take place in this city, this does not prevent Den Haag from being one of the most colorful, bicycle-filled, clean and culturally rich cities. Armenia. The <<Path to European values>> project within the framework of the Erasmus+ program gave Armenian and foreign students the opportunity to become participants in the initiative. The city of The Hague hosted the students, but this did not prevent the young people from being on the famous bridges of Amsterdam, taking pictures in the most aesthetic Rotterdam and having an informal meeting with the students of Leiden University over a cup of beer in Leiden. This was not a hindrance. It's amazing that it rains here almost all year round, but the Dutch never use raincoats, instead they always wear raincoats because it's easier to ride a bike. Bicycles, bicycles and bicycles again. About 17 million people used this vehicle with wheels, and the number of bicycles reached 23 million by 2023. The students visited scientific institutions, visited the National Library of The Hague, visited cultural places, visited the Parliament of the country and the International Criminal Court of The Hague. The foreign guests had to be surprised in an unfamiliar city and the Armenian group of 15 people prepared the most Armenian and the most delicious dishes for the guests during the cultural evening. The 10 travel days were full of important educational information, unforgettable memories and positive impressions for us. This was a great opportunity to communicate with Europeans and become a part of European values. Of course, to make new friends and accumulate positive emotions for the whole year.



70 aaaDuring these 10 days I managed to improve my communication skills, made new acquaintances, got to know my friends from a different perspective. I had 10 fantastically interesting and active days. I visited many cities of the country and got to know the way of life as well as the culture.





80 aaaFirst, I want to mention that this trip was my first time traveling outside of Armenia. During our 10-day stay in the Netherlands, I had many enriching experiences. I explored their values and culture and was particularly amazed by their impressive architecture and art, which clearly demonstrate their deep appreciation for art and historical heritage. The people were incredibly kind, polite, and open—eager to help, communicate, and share their experiences. I was also impressed by their traffic system, where bicycles are a primary mode of transportation. This not only reflects their commitment to environmental sustainability but also promotes a healthy lifestyle. Every day, I saw people running and engaging in outdoor activities, which underscored their dedication to maintaining good health and fitness.


Hovhannes Babayan

20 gggMy 10-day Erasmus trip to The Hague, Netherlands, was an amazing experience. From the moment I arrived, I loved the city's mix of history and modernity. Getting around was easy with excellent public transport and bike paths, and the locals were very welcoming. The city has so much to offer! I visited the Mauritshuis museum to see Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring," explored the historic Binnenhof, and enjoyed the serene Japanese Garden at Clingendael. The food scene was also fantastic, with a mix of traditional Dutch dishes and international cuisine. The West-East Bridges foundation packed our schedule with great activities. We had city tours, cultural nights, and even a few parties. These events were perfect for meeting new people and diving into local culture. Even though it was a short trip, my time in The Hague was filled with learning, new friendships, and unforgettable experiences. I highly recommend it to anyone considering an Erasmus trip!



Within the framework of the Erasmus+ program, the Armenian and Dutch teams convened in The Hague from March 18-27, engaging in a comprehensive exploration of democracy and European values. This period was marked by vibrant discussions, meaningful games and immersive study sessions, aimed at delineating the similarities between European and Armenian youth. The delegation visited Leiden, fostering meaningful connections with local students and facilitating a dynamic cultural exchange. A pivotal highlight was the visit to the International Criminal Court, affording firsthand insights into the intricacies of the judicial process. Additionally, the teams collaborated on the creation of social clips, aimed at conveying our respective identities and origins. Further enriching our experience, we toured the Hague Parliament building, gaining valuable insights into governance structures. Our time in The Hague was not only educational but also served to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations, because before leaving for The Hague, we had a meeting and an interesting discussion with the ambassador and deputy ambassador of the Netherlands in Armenia. Through this exchange, we deepened our understanding of democratic principles and forged lasting connections, embodying the spirit of Erasmus+ collaboration.



200 kkk

During this Erasmus+ program, we became acquainted with European values. We were particularly surprised by the sincere and relaxed communication of people, as well as the big, bright houses with their always open windows. These 10 days were packed with activities. The first 4 days were spent at Roompot Kijkduin, located on the beach. We played interactive games and had discussions on European values. A highlight was our discussion with Geert Ates, which left everyone very impressed. We also met with Clingendael experts on EaP countries, Mr. Wouter Zweers and Mr. Tony van der Togt. An informal meeting over a glass of beer with the people of Leiden allowed us to exchange insights about our daily lives and lifestyles. We organized cultural evenings, which helped us fully understand the peculiarities of Armenian and Dutch cultures. Afterwards, we moved to a hostel in the center of The Hague, which facilitated even closer communication with the locals. We created social videos with the participation of local people. One of the most impressive experiences was visiting the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where we watched a trial, visited the parliament, and explored The Hague library. The visit to the Abovyan Armenian Center and the warm reception from the Armenian delegation in the Netherlands made us feel completely at home. Through this program, we not only made new friends in the Netherlands but also discovered new aspects of ourselves. We returned motivated and full of irreplaceable impressions.