In the 2016 exhibition "Next Generation, Please", Belgian students were asked a simple question: what is European identity? We invite you to think about your answer to this question too. They answered that there is a net of connections among different countries, within and outside the EU.  What could be done to foster a stronger sense of European connectedness in the identity of European people? How do you feel the local, national and European levels work together in your identity? What do “unity” and “diversity” mean to you?


I feel more European than Spanish. I take huge pride in everything we have accomplished as a unit: freedom of movement, all of the opportunities like Erasmus+, internships abroad, and just having the possibility of moving anywhere within the EU just like that, without needing a Visa. Having the freedom to move around, to go anywhere as a tourist without borders, having collective projects, all of us. The EU gives us a sense of belonging further than our own countries, it gives us hope that peace really is possible and that borders can be open. We should teach younger generations what the EU is, how it came to be, and everything good that it provides to each and every one of us. I think most of the people that are against it or see it as a negative thing think so because they don't know what it brings to the table. We have created, together, something amazing! Let's protect it!
I am from Italy but I feel more European than Italian. Being European feels good. Europe is the dream of a bigger world with liberty of movement. Europe is the union of diverse countries that were at war for most of the previous century. Thinking that those countries achieved to be united after they fought each other gives me hope. I identify with the big change that Europe meant for European citizens. I think that most of my peers are not aware of that. Europe is an ideal and my generation lacks ideals. I think the main causes are ignorance and false beliefs. None of us are stupid. My peers would believe Europe is good if they only knew history. You may think that I am talking about ideals that are disconnected from practical matters. But I believe that once you have knowledge and ideals, identity and participation come along. And you fight for them, since you know they are good. I think that we should work on giving that knowledge at the "local, national and European levels". Also, sharing cultures and educating about what is going on in other European countries enhances the sense of "connectedness". There are many immigrant communities from within Europe in each European country. Why don't we talk to each other at the cultural level?
I have always felt like a European citizen, but I know, that it's not very common in my country (Poland). I can see, that the European identity rises, when a man has a contact with so-called European culture. Of course, we all know, that the Western culture (so the European one too) is based on Greek-Roman legacy, but people don't notice that in their everyday life. Travelling abroad and meeting foreigners in our homeland can be the easiest way to open our minds and make us follow to the sentence 'Think global - act local'. But to let it happen in reality we have to remember, that the identity is something, that becomes a part of ourselves, so it's developing from the positive memories and associations. Like we identify ourselves as the part of our families because of the nice childhood throwbacks, we develop our 'Europeanness' by feeling as a part of the great community of Europeans. It means, that not only symbols and ideas stick people together, but also the similarities between ones' living standards or the access to effective rights protection. The more people become involved in the life of societies, the stronger the European identity among the EU citizens is.
Yes I feel like I'm an European citizen! I think a big contribution to that feeling was the visit of the EU-museum in Brussels. The courage of the creators of EU in the beginning to trust Germany even after all what happend. This is outstanding. And it's a role model for me! Only together it is possible to create a bright future! Another contribution to my European feeling is, that I'm just proud of this continent with its different cultures, languages, landscapes,... We all leave together in peace, even if we are different. And third: through erasmus I know people from many European countries and that's why I'm interested in these countries.
I am European as well as world citizen without forgetting where I come from. This makes me who I am. But I truely believe in the power of building together on a "world scale" as well as on a "local scale" it is complementary.
I think the countries in Europe are too different to talk about an "european identity". But that doesn't mean there aren't real connections, especially between younger people. The fact that travelling, studying and working abroad in other european countries is easily possible for us helps us understand each other more, I believe. It's healthy to engage in political debates that affect us all as Europeans. I like that Europe is full of different cultures which is why it would be a real pity if those cultures would sort of melt away and form into one big european culture. I don't think that should be the aim. The aim should be to understand each other and work together for a better tomorrow. Yes, I am a part of Europe, but I am mostly shaped by the country/countries I grew up in and the values my environment taught me.
I feel like a part of Europe when I prosper from european teamwork when participating in a youth exchange. When I meet other european teenagers and work together to deal with big global and national problems, I feel like I belong in Europe.
I feel like a part of Europe when I prosper from european teamwork when participating in a youth exchange. When I meet other european teenagers and work together to deal with big global and national problems, I feel like I belong in Europe.
Cultural and national traditions are still visible but we are the one!
I definitely feel 100% European. I'm a French citizen (with Latvian, Polish and Italian roots). I've moved to Poland for a year for Erasmus, and then to the Netherlands to do my Master's and then to Belgium to follow my Belgian boyfriend. We have been living in Belgium for 6 years now and we are thinking of leaving for another European country. I feel like we could feel at home in virtually any European capital. During my twenties I've traveled to every single EU member state (+8 other European countries). In every single of those trips, I cherished the diversity of our cultures, languages, foods, landscapes, architecture and people. And our similarities. All this is almost at our fingertips, a bus or a train away. I find this an incredible treasure and I feel oh so lucky to be a European.