Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched

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Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched
Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched
Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched
Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched
Latvia project ambassador Sarmīte Ēlerte
Latvia project ambassador Sarmīte Ēlerte
Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched
Europeana 1989 - we made history - European project launched

Europeana has launched a new project titled 'Europeana 1989'. People across Europe are invited to share their experiences, stories and memorabilia from the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain in a digital archive.

The project started in Poland on Saturday with a public debate and a collection day. Europeana 1989 will continue with collection days in Poland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary.

For the 25th anniversary in 2014, Europeana 1989 aims to create a vivid and personal picture of the revolutionary events in Europe with stories, photos, videos and sound. Members of the public can contribute their stories at a series of collection days in each of the countries taking part as well as via the project website

A debate on the importance of preserving the experiences and memories of ordinary people involved in the struggle for freedom took place on 8 June during the inaugural collection day in Warsaw. Each partner country was represented by a project ambassador who played a significant role in the events of 1989 and will now continue to support and promote Europeana 1989. The project ambassadors are:

  • Sarmīte Ēlerte – Latvia
  • Vytautas Landsbergis – Lithuania
  • Tunne Kelam – Estonia
  • Petr Janyška – Czech Republic
  • Wolfgang Templin – Germany
  • László Rajk – Hungary
  • Tadeusz Mazowiecki – Poland
  • Chris Niedenthal - Poland

At the conclusion of the debate, the project ambassadors shared their own private memorabilia and stories to launch the collection day, followed by people from Warsaw and other parts of Poland, who brought personal memorabilia ranging from photos to underground pamphlets, and from a teddy bear up to the biggest object digitised so far: a Polonez car, produced in Poland during the 80s.

‘History isn't just about the objects in a museum or the accounts in a book; it's about real people's untold stories. Ordinary people make extraordinary history and we must be proud of that and share our stories with whole world,' said Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana.

‘Started by "Solidarity", freedom movements made up of people from many countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990 paved the way for the unification of Europe. Europeana 1989 will now bring personal experiences of the people involved in those events together and help to transfer knowledge to younger generations,  uniting Europeans even further,' said Tadeusz Mazowiecki during the debate.

‘I was really surprised by how many people in Poland had brought their memorabilia to share with the world and I hope that our people will also bring unseen photos and their stories, because everyone's stories, however small, are important. Each story and memory helps to complete the picture of events that led to the transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. Personal stories, memories and experiences can help others to better understand what it was like and to see events from a different perspective,' said Petr Janyška from the Czech Republic.

All campaigns in the partner countries will highlight important events from 1989. In Poland for instance the collection days coincide with the anniversary of the first free election; in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, events tie in with the Baltic Way, the biggest peaceful demonstration in history; and in Hungary, events will relate to the actual cutting of the Iron Curtain on the border with Austria.

People from all over the world can contribute their memories online. It's simple. Just register on and upload your items along with the stories that go with them.

Collection Days

Everyone is welcome to bring their memorabilia of 1989 to collection days, organised by Europeana and the project partners. Items you might bring include photographs, sound and video recordings, leaflets, letters and other memorabilia. Project staff will be on hand to make digital copies of these items and to record the stories that go with them for future generations. Original items will remain with the contributors. After the first collection days in Warsaw, the next events will be:

  • 14-15 June, 10:00-20:00, Kórnik Library, Działyńskich Palace, Poznan, Stary Rynek 78/79
  • 21-22 June, 10:00-20:00, European Solidarity Centre, Gdansk, Wały Piastowskie 24
  • August 2013 in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn

For more information contact:

Frank Drauschke – Facts & Files
+49 (0)163 4809862

Jon Purday – Europeana
+44 (0) 7885 516234

About Europeana 1989

In 2014, the world will celebrate the 25th anniversary of an extraordinary year - 1989 - when walls crumbled and the people of Europe were united again. The Europeana 1989 project asks people from every country involved to digitise their own stories, photos, videos and sound recordings of 1989. The result will be a fascinating archive for present and future generations that can be explored for learning, personal interest and research work. Europeana 1989 is collaboration between eleven partner institutions, Historypin and the Europeana

About Europeana

The Europeana 1989 project is part of something much bigger – Europeana (, Europe's digital library, museum and archive. Europeana collects and provides access to digitised material from libraries, archives, audiovisual archives and museums. It has more than 2,200 collaborating institutions and the website is available in 29 European languages. Europeana allows the public to discover and explore the cultural and intellectual heritage of Europe through a simple search engine and virtual exhibitions. Since its launch by the European Commission in November 2008, Europeana has grown to include 26 million documents and heritage works. All the stories and objects collected by Europeana 1989 will also be made available through