LRE Forum 2020 in Brussels

Liberation Route Europe’s annual event, the LRE Forum, was held in Brussels on February 4 and 5.

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The LRE Forum opened its doors and welcomed visitors and guests on February 4th, 2020 in the Royal Army Museum (War Heritage Institute). This year’s LRE Conference entailed a motivating speech, Building Memory, by our keynote speaker Daniel Libeskind, world-famous architect and designer of the Vectors of Memory of the Liberation Route hiking trail. In his speech, he highlighted his personal commitment to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Moreover, his enlightening words about his own architecture creations, blending the historical past and his own values, gave the audience the opportunity to connect memory, history and culture.

Members and partners also joined two workshops on Europe Remembers and on the International Hiking Trail project. The Conference went on with a warm participation of the audience and the help of an interactive system that allowed the attendees to ask and answer questions, turning them into active participants. The LRE’s panel, composed of Prof. Frank van Vree, Prof. Rafal Wnuk and Prof. Mischa Gabowitsch, entailed a discussion about Remembering World War II across Europe: the narrative and cultural gaps. Later on, Prof. Oliver Wieviorka and MEP Andrius Kubilius were part of an interesting discussion entitled Can the EU shape memory?, which triggered a lively debate.

In the evening, guests and the LRE team had the pleasure to attend the LRE Gala in the Egmont Palace, where new LRE members were welcomed. The delicious food complemented inspiring speeches by Robert Croll (Chairman of vfonds), Lisette Mattaar (Director of the vfonds) and Ambassador Zoltan Taubner (Director of External Relations and Head of the Liaison Office with the EU in Brussels, Council of Europe), who awarded the certification of Cultural Route of the Council of Europe to Liberation Route Europe.

The LRE Forum, in partnership with History and Fletcher Hotels, continued on February 5th with the LREXPO; it offered WWII sites, museums and destinations representatives the opportunity to network with tourism stakeholders for an entire day with scheduled appointments. Visitors also joined two different workshops, one with Miguel Gallego about Tourism Passion Communities – Explorers of cultural identity and roots, and a panel discussion with Nathan Huegen, Ingrid Maan, Carla Sawyer and Martin Cugnon on How to create remembrance tourism products and offers.

During the LRE Forum, we had the pleasure to welcome the participants of a press trip following the route of liberation by train, and of two FAM trips, organized in partnership with ETC, which took North American tour operators either to Benelux or to Italy and the Czech Republic.