A Pan-European online collecting action on formative rail experiences across the continent
In 2021 we celebrated the European Year of Rail. The EUROPALIA programme “Trains & Tracks” explored the impact of the train from artistic and societal perspectives. To contribute to the EUROPALIA Trains & Tracks programme, the House of European History created a pan-European online collection of personal stories about train travels across national borders as a common formative European experience. These connected and compared shared experiences from across the continent, highlighting a multiplicity of perspectives on movement, mobility and the European dimension in the debate on the historical and contemporary role of trains in Europe.
Interview series by the museum team
In this interview, the Sicilian-born artist Beddru recounts his memories of train journeys across Italy, and how travel-related themes influence his work today.
Filmed at the artist's studio in Brussels on 22 October 2021.
With thanks to Beddru for his kind participation
In this interview, former train conductor turned poet Jan Ducheyne explains his experience of life ‘on the tracks’. He also previews his project “The Last Train” for the Europalia Trains & Tracks programme.
Filmed in the Europe Now space on the 6th floor of the House of European History, on 15 October 2021.
With thanks to Jan Ducheyne for his kind participation
In this interview, Marita Hebisch-Niemsch provides the backstory to an object she kindly lent to the House of European History's collection - a photo album from a Franco-German Youth exchange, where she met her French pen-pal following a long journey from Berlin to Évreux, France.
Filmed via online interview at Marita Hebisch-Niemsch's place of residence in October 2021.
Images from photo album are interviewee's own, licensed to the House of European History.
With thanks to Marita Hebisch-Niemsch for her kind support and participation.
Laia, a cultural management professional from Barcelona, Spain shares her memories of train travel in Europe, and the lasting impression trips from across the continent have made on her.
Filmed in the "Rebuilding a Divided Continent" section on the 4th floor of the House of European History in October 2021.
With thanks to Laia for her kind participation.
In this interview, Belgian poet Carl Norac describes the way trains deeply influence him, personally and professionally. He also talks about his residency on the Ostend-Eupen line, the only train line that crosses the entire country, as part of the Europalia Trains & Tracks programme.
Filmed in the House of European History's permanent exhibition, on 18 November 2021.
With thanks to Carl Norac for his kind participation.
Interview series by the museum team II
Marli Huijer is Emeritus Professor of Public Philosophy at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In this interview she discusses how meaningful train travels are for her life, and the extent to which they can foster a European sense of belonging. She also outlines her role in society as a public philosopher, and previews her lecture on trains as a meeting space between Europeans, as part of the EUROPALIA Trains & Tracks programme.
Filmed in the House of European History's permanent exhibition, on 8 December 2021. With thanks to Marli Huijer for her kind participation.
Thomas, a project manager from the Netherlands discusses his favourite journey by train, and how travelling by train connects him with Europeans from a bygone era.
Photos are owned by Thomas Van De Vijver, and were kindly licensed to the House of European History. Audio created in October 2021. With kind thanks to Thomas Van De Vijver