Culture as antidote against climate of financial and political distrust in Europe

The European Union is in crisis and its future is unclear. The Maastricht treaty, signed in 1992 and aimed at securing economic and political integration in Europe, is under pressure.

How can we conceive and shape the future of Europe in turbulent times like these?

Located at the heart of Northwestern Europe, the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion hosts various cultures, languages and identities. It also showcases the challenges facing the future of Europe today.

The city of Maastricht in cooperation with the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion aspires to become the European Capital of Culture in 2018. This candidacy provides an innovative impulse not only for the region but Europe as a whole.

Thanks to the richness and diversity of its identities, Maastricht and the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion aim to use the international language of culture to bridge national, physical and mental borders and rediscover Europe. In this endeavour, they can take on the role of a pilot region for Europe.

Rediscovering Europe though culture

At the invitation the Maastricht University alumni circle for South-Limburg, Prof. Luc Soete, Maastricht University Rector Magnificus, and Huub Smeets, Chairman of the Maastricht Cultural Capital 2018 Foundation explained why they believe that culture is an effective antidote against the current climate of financial and political distrust in Europe during an evening of lectures for UM alumni, staff and students.

Prof. Soete: Europe in Crisis

In a presentation entitled “Europe in Crisis”, Prof. Soete highlighted the following points (in Dutch):

  • The euro crisis is more than a financial and economic crisis
  • Culture as an antidote
  • Social challenges facing Europe (ageing population, high youth unemployment)
  • Multiculturalism and higher education – A quantum leap for Maastricht University?

Huub Smeets: Maastricht’s bid for the title of European Capital of Culture 2018

Huub Smeets demonstrated in this talk how cohesion between cultures can become a source of inspiration for the Maastricht and the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion as well as an impulse for Europe. (in Dutch)

  • Culture as a powerful vehicle for imagination and innovation
  • Culture brings togetherness
  • Culture as a critical reflection on everyday life
  • Culture reaches all groups and ages
  • Culture as a chance to develop
  • Culture as a sustainable long-term plan and not just aimed for a one-year festival!

For more information, please visit the VIA2018 website.

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