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ACCOLADES AND CRITICISM

Now, it’s over to you! This gallery is about your opinions! What is Europe? What makes you feel ‘European’? What is our European heritage? If you’re a visitor here today from outside Europe, what are your perspectives of Europe and Europeans?

What is the relevance of our memories? Our memories of the past are important to us, they bring us together and they sometimes tear us apart. Historical enquiry and an understanding of our European heritage are vital processes in understanding our past, present and future.

Map floorplan sixth floor museum

EUROPE AS SEEN FROM ABROAD

How is Europe perceived externally? The objects displayed here come from museums around the world and offer different insights into how other cultures viewed Europe and Europeans. First contacts with Europeans were marked by detached curiosity. As European countries increasingly imposed their dominance over most of the world through colonialism, perceptions altered, negatively shaped by the experience of oppression, slavery, and exploitation. Yet, Europe was also seen as the idealised location of refined culture and universal values, a legacy of its Ancient era.

APPRAISAL AND CRITICISM

In 2012, the European Union is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution to the promotion of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe for over 6 decades. Protestors, however, criticise the award against the backdrop of extreme economic suffering for millions of EU citizens, questioning its future role.

BRUSSELS: A CHANGING CAPITAL

Brussels was never foreseen to become the capital of Europe, but this happened quite by coincidence and not purposely at all. Now it is a fourfold capital: of Europe, Belgium, of Flanders and of the Brussels region. Brussels is a small world city in transition that copes creatively with its European destiny.