After celebrating Finland’s Centenary, it is time to remember the first years of independence, which were marked by restlessness across Europe. The end of the First World War led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian Empires. Europe saw the rise of several new states: Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland were faced in their first years of independence with a fast-changing world. The post-war food shortages and uncertain political climate led to unrest in nearly every country. In some countries conflicts escalated into civil wars.
Despite the human suffering, these times were also characterised by hopes of progress and modernity: the Great War broke down old class structures for good. The world seemed poised to become a more democratic and equal place. For many European states the hundred years following 1918 were marked by unprecedented and fast-paced economic, cultural and humanitarian development. Amid these changes, however, Europe was also faced with a wave of fascism, the rise of communism and a second bloody world war. The first hundred years post World War I divided Europe geographically into different camps. The current European discussions about integration, democracy and nationalism are still in many ways connected to the events of the past one hundred years.
Remembering 1918 – European Dreams of Modernity is a project of the Brussels-based Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, which is organised in partnership with European cultural and academic institutes. The aim of the project is to cast a critical and unbiased eye on the events of 1918 and their impact on the next one hundred years. The project’s most important events include conferences that will take place all over Europe and will feature voices from the fields of academia, journalism, literature and the arts. In Finland, the conference will take place at Think Corner (Tiedekulma) in Helsinki on 16 May 2018.
In addition to Bozar, partners of the Remembering 1918 – European Dreams of Modernity project include the Austrian Cultural Forum, Czech Centres, the Embassy of Estonia in Brussels, the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, the Balassi Institute, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Culture Institute, Restored Lithuania 100, the Embassy of the Latvian Republic in Belgium, Latvia 100, the Polish Institute, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Brussels, the permanent representation of Slovenia to the European Union and Culture Action Europe.
The project is funded by the European Commission and the Europe for Citizens programme. The project is part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.