Monument Europe, GERMANY
Monument Europe is a digital history book that invites people of all ages and cultures to reflect on the past, the present and the future of Europe. It tells the story of a Europe that was shaped by the diverse and vast processes of cultural transitions, changes and exchanges. The project puts a spotlight on monuments as central sites of reflection that reveal the connection between our complex European history and the achievements of modern European democracy.
At the heart of the project is an engaging website (www.monument-europe.com) which provides low-threshold information particularly to schools, social organisations, families, volunteers, and also to local history clubs and historical societies. The project was funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the context of the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018.
Impressed with the appealing interface of the website, the jury noted that “the website is well designed, responsive, and it is compatible with any device. It encourages and enables children and young adults to engage with their cultural heritage and monuments through smart interventions both online and on site. As a result, the project has made cultural heritage more easily accessible to its various target groups.”
Monument Europe is a toolbox, designed to help young people unlock the “European Code” in our monuments, and to examine the past with a view on the topics that are relevant today, both online and offline. Every topic is accessible via three paths:
The first is a timeline that provides a structured and comprehensive overview of events and the corresponding dates. The second option visualises a personal, human story through the medium of an animated graphic novel, offering a bottom-up, accessible approach to a broader historical narrative. Thirdly, an inspiring activity toolbox invites participants to engage hands on with monuments and their historical context in the physical world. It is an innovative way of challenging people to interact intensively with the lieux de mémoire that define European identity.
This project, which is unique in Germany, makes an important contribution to educational activities in a wide variety of fields, including politics, culture, sustainability, and cross-border thinking. The jury stated that “the carefully selected topics encourage research into our history, create a sense of ownership and thus motivate the preservation of monuments and contribute to the exploration and understanding of our common European identity through our tangible and intangible cultural heritage.”
So far, Monument Europe has gained a lot of traction across 14 of the 16 federal states in Germany, establishing local networks and creating various heritage-related activities, not just within the country, but also in cooperation with the neighbouring countries of Poland and France. The digital history book provides an invaluable contribution to educational practices and to all those interested in European history.