Hosted event: A ride through European history, culture and nature - The Iron Curtain Trail
Invitation to the presentation of book series on the Iron Curtain Trail at the House of European History
Introduction by Hans-Gert Pöttering, former president of the European Parliament, chairman of the board of trustees of the House of European History
The Iron Curtain stretched over a distance of about 10000 km through Europe from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea and divided the continent into east and west. Until the fall in 1989 it was a physical and ideological border between two hostile blocs. Not only were many neighbouring countries separated thereby, but also Germany was divided into east and west.
Today there is hardly anything left to see of the former death strip, the remnants are no longer a dividing line. Memories however must be made visible! We know that there are no mutual memories between west and east. The eastern and western Europeans have very different memories of the border. What the Warsaw Pact countries glorified as an ‘anti-fascist protection barrier’ was seen as by the western countries as a symbol of the lack of freedom that socialism actually provided.
The aim of the Iron Curtain Trail is to transfer the idea of ‘experiencing history’ to a European level. This 10000 km trail guides cyclists with an interest in history from the Barents Sea on the Norwegian-Russian border to the Black Sea along what used to be the Iron Curtain, which is now no longer a dividing line but a symbol of a shared, pan-European experience in a reunified Europe. It is part of the trans-European cycleroute-network EuroVelo as EuroVelo13.Twenty countries, 15 thereof EU Member States, are involved. The “Iron Curtain Trail” is part of Europe’s collective memories which can help promote the much talked-about European identity.