Investing in arts and culture in times of crisis – an investment in our common future
“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”
Robert Schuman – founder, European Cultural Foundation, 1950
When the European Cultural Foundation was launched back in 1954 – as Europe was still emerging from the embers of World War II – the dream was to bring people together around shared values and shared aspirations. To create a European sentiment.
The founders envisioned a Europe where citizens could live together in harmony and solidarity. They knew that it would not be enough to share the hardware of war. We would also need to share the creative power of culture; the building blocks of peace.
The crisis in Ukraine reminds us that we can never, ever take peace for granted. We must stand together to fight for peace, for solidarity, for democracy across our continent and beyond.
That is why, two days after bombs began to fall in Ukraine in February 2022, the European Cultural Foundation launched the Ukraine edition of the Culture of Solidarity Fund. Since then, we’ve supported over 100 projects, including the evacuation of art collections, providing safe spaces for artists and standing up against misinformation and war propaganda.
But of course, much more support is needed. In times of crisis, artists need investment and they need support. Arts and culture have a key role to play at crucial moments in our shared history – providing hope, strength and resilience.
As one of our founders, Robert Schuman, said in 1950: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”
European peace, cooperation and solidarity are as vital today as they were 70 years ago. And we must never stop fighting for the values that we hold dear. We need to continue to build on the capacity of culture to heal, to bring communities together and to imagine a better way forward through our creative efforts.
As EU founder Jean Monnet said: “beyond differences and geographical boundaries, there lies a common interest.” Culture is a key conduit towards building the foundations and bridges we need to find those common interests. Culture can provide a roadmap towards hope.
Investing in arts and culture in times of crisis is an investment in our common interests, our common future. Now more than ever we need to reinforce European solidarity to help pave the way towards a shared future in peace. Our very future depends upon it.
HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
President, European Cultural Foundation