“Restless Youth: Growing up in Europe, 1945 to Now” is the title of the very interesting exhibition currently presented in the House of European History in Brussels. The expo opened in March 2019 and runs until the end of February 2020.
The exhibition explores the defining experiences of youth, from education, employment and identity issues, to becoming politically active and falling in love. In the past 70 years, young people in Europe have gone from being a group to whom history happened, to a group that actually makes history. This exhibition looks at four generations of young people who came of age at key moments in the European story: the late 1940s, the 1960s, the 1980s and the 2000s.
Such experiences are inevitably shaped by the politics, society, culture and economics of the time. Being young in an affluent and free society is very different from a youth shaped by poverty or political oppression. The expo takes note of the big changes – across Europe, young people chose to break with the values of their parents and view themselves as a distinct generation with their own culture and values.
Visitors can learn why the history of young people since the 1940s in Europe is one of transnational connections, agitation for social change and greater individual freedom – as well as the pursuit of material improvement and open cultural expression. As for the history of childhood after the 1960s, the history of youth has now become the focus of research and increasing interest, especially since the 50th anniversary of 1968 events.
In the wake of the economic crisis and general crisis with the European project, the impact of unemployment and emigration on young people shows the real impact that this demographic group can have on the society. Public debates often refer to the emergence of a ‘lost generation’ of young Europeans. This is another reason why this expo is very relevant today and even though it is focused on the young people, it is not just for them.
The House of European History is located in the Parc Léopold at the heart of the European Quarter. The museum is unique in sharing the transnational, European approach to the history of the entire continent.
Planning a visit? It’s easy!
The museum is open every day, the admission is free and its permanent exhibition is available in all 24 official languages of the EU.
Photos (c) @ellesbxl