In 1517, Martin Luther gathered his 95 theses into a document that is now often seen as kicking off the Reformation. In 2021 two Berlin activists and writers, Martin Speer and Vincent-Immanuel Herr, penned their 95 theses to create a better Europe. Europe for Future is in German; the book was published in August by Droemer Verlag. Herr and Speer share our enthusiasm for the European venture and like us they can see how, with a few tweaks, it could be so much better. They remind us that early plans for a European social union were sidelined by neo-liberal economics, that Europe needs sovereignty over its data and IT networks, and that we need better cross-border train services. That’s just three of the 95 theses.
Books like this are all too rare. And the writing of Herr and Speer is underpinned by that same optimism which is a hallmark of hidden europe. They also remind us that there is still a measure of insularity among Europeans. 37% of us have never travelled beyond the borders of our home country. That figure rises to over 60% in Greece, Spain and Portugal.
In many respects Heidrun Kries, the late mother of one of the editors of this magazine, was a fairly typical European. Heidi hardly travelled, yet she had a strong sense of being European and, even with only faltering English, Heidi was ever-enthusiastic about each new issue of hidden europe, often questioning us about the details of our travels and articles in the magazine. We dedicate this issue of hidden europe to the memory of Heidi; she passed away on 30 September 2021.
In this issue, we roam from Scotland through France and Germany to Vienna and beyond. There’s a lot of fresh air in hidden europe 65 as, following the example of 19thcentury artists who swapped their studios for the freedom of working en plein air in fields and forests, we explore upland pastures in Cantal, roam the heath at Lüneburg and go foraging on Maltese byways. We have whisky and cheese, thoughts on crossborder rail services, a remarkable report on the world’s first hybrid cars and disturbing news about bees in Arctic Russia.
We offer a vote of thanks to our three guest contributors in this issue: Daiva Repeckaite, Duncan JD Smith and Paul Scraton. And to all our readers, we offer our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. hidden europe will be back in 2022.
Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries
Krzewina Zgorzelecka, Poland