To show the potential of a borderless and peaceful coexistence in Europe to young people, the Austrian Bookclub, together with its partners, launched the competition ‘Open Borders’ in the school year 2014/2015.
25 years ago, the Iron Curtain fell, and so did the frontiers to Austria’s neighbouring countries of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which previously had been heavily guarded and fortified.
Also 25 years ago, the European Union began to open the borders within Europe with the Schengen agreement. The freedom to travel to other countries, the common currency, cross-border projects, close cooperation of neighbouring villages and regions thus thus became possible.
Especially in times when iron curtains are raised again to keep foreigners out – ignoring how much personal suffering, violence and hatred it brought over Europe – the Bookclub campaign ‘Open Borders’ wanted to introduce young people to an important period of recent Austrian history and to show how terrible and meaningless borders are.
Students, pupils, apprentices, classes, schools and youth groups were therefore invited – also together with a class from a neighbouring country – to start their own projects on ‘Open Borders’ and to create their contributions to the topic of frontiers in the form of texts and pictures (poems, interviews, essays, photographs, paintings, collages etc.).
The best projects can be found on the website: http://www.offene-grenzen.at/
This project was run by Buchklub der Jugend (Austria).