In the early years of the 21st century, Europe seems uncertainly placed between a deep sense of its own historical importance and anxiety about where it may go in the future. The European project, which for many of our institutions was a guiding principle, has run aground on the rocks of neo-liberalism and an economic priority that forgot about society’s politi- cal and cultural dimensions. The national project, on which the foundations of our museums (along with most of Europe’s other cultural institutions) were based, retains little of its 19th century ambitions to progressive, democratic thinking. As a result, cultural Europe has to chart a new course for collaboration and for its relations with the rest of the globe. This course has to take account of Europe’s murderous history both inside and outside its borders, as well as the aggressiveness with which Eurocentric solutions are still imposed on parts of other continents. At the same time, the construction of democratic ideals, the claims to human equality and many global liberation struggles have been inspired by popular, academic and cultural discourses developed in and around Europe, especially when it was in dialogue with the rest of the world…

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