Europe: Teaching Europe - The Dutch story about the European Union told to Swedish teachers

The story of Europe: it seems as if everybody is struggling to find its own interpretation of Europe. Is it an economic, a political or a historical project, or all three? During times of globalisation as well as populism and reviving nationalism, a solid and profound story of the European Union is to be found that can address citizens’ concerns about the EU. Moreover, a strong and united Europe is needed to face major challenges such as migration and climate change. As an Embassy in a like-minded European member state, we feel the duty to tell the story of Europe again and again, because European cooperation is at the core of our Embassy and our government’s international mode of working.

Why not tell the history of the Dutch perspective on the European Union to the Swedes? On the initiative of the Swedish House of Europe (Europahuset), our Ambassador Ines Coppoolse has given lectures to Swedish secondary school teachers, around 200 per session. Both in Linköping and Stockholm, she taught them about the Dutch perspective on the EU. She used history as a tool: what made the Dutch so eager for European cooperation? In contrast to Sweden, the Netherlands have been involved in the establishment of the European project. From the end of World War II to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and after, the Dutch were strongly involved.

The Dutch perspective was refreshing and broadened the view of the large group of Swedish teachers. It resulted in better informed teachers and learning from other national perspectives on something that binds all European countries together. The European Union needs these stories to be told, especially to teachers. They are after all the ones who will pass these on to the next generation of European citizens.

In 2019, the elections for the European Parliament will take place. The future of Europe is at stake here! The Embassy is therefore keen to organise an event to commemorate the Day of Europe, the 9th of May. Moreover, we will continue to facilitate stronger ties between the Netherlands and Sweden within the European Union. Stay tuned for this European year!

Ambassador Ines Coppoolse speaking to an audience of Swedish teachers about the Dutch perspective on the European Union.