European Historical Memory: Policies, Challenges and Perspectives

15-04-2015

This note seeks to provide some reflections on the challenges, current policies and possible future prospects of 'historical memory' in a European context. Based on acknowledging the complex nature of collective memories in general and shared European historical remembrance in particular, including their susceptibility to political instrumentalisation, it is argued that a critical 'culture of remembering' needs to be developed. Such a culture requires increased efforts for nation states to come to terms with their own respective pasts in an unbiased way, yet at the same time embracing common European principles and values. In this context, the vital role of education as a tool to create an informed historical consciousness is emphasised, which provides the basis for dealing confidently not only with Europe’s past, but also present and future.

This note seeks to provide some reflections on the challenges, current policies and possible future prospects of 'historical memory' in a European context. Based on acknowledging the complex nature of collective memories in general and shared European historical remembrance in particular, including their susceptibility to political instrumentalisation, it is argued that a critical 'culture of remembering' needs to be developed. Such a culture requires increased efforts for nation states to come to terms with their own respective pasts in an unbiased way, yet at the same time embracing common European principles and values. In this context, the vital role of education as a tool to create an informed historical consciousness is emphasised, which provides the basis for dealing confidently not only with Europe’s past, but also present and future.