Europe Day, celebrated with books, music, food and info about EU countries

Every year, on May 9, Europe Day is celebrated all throughout Europe. The day is also known as ‘Schuman Day’, name gained when, in 1950, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Schuman, proposed an economic collaboration plan between France and Germany to eliminate the century-long rivalry between the two states.
With the occasion of Europe Day, 28 Bucharest metro stations were renamed after the EU member states in an event organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Romania, in cooperation with the Metrorex metro operator, embassies and cultural centres of EU member states, the Infoeuropa Centre, the Ministry of European Funds and the Museum of Romanian Villagers. For example, the Victoriei 1 metro station of Bucharest was the place where travelers could get a peep into the Swedish lifestyle, learn useful information about job opportunities in Sweden and education centres in this Scandinavian country, all provided by the Embassy of Sweden. ‘I think this event staged in Bucharest is wonderful and I must congratulate the Romanian authorities for this very nice idea,’ Sweden’s Ambassador to Bucharest Anders Bengtcen.
On the same day, bucharesters were invited by the representatives of the German Embassy in the Romanian capital to stop by the Basarab metro station, renamed Germany for the day, and draw on a paper board in coloured markers the first thing that came to their mind when thinking of Germany. The German Embassy welcomed Bucharesters with the German, Romania and EU flags, with jellies and leaflets, and also with an exhibition of pictures and posters.
On the other hand, Bucharest metro commuters passing through the Victoriei 2 station on Friday, May 9, discovered Slovakia, an open-arm country that offers many tourist opportunities, especially for alpine tourists, as it is a skier’s paradise. The message of the Slovakian Embassy to Bucharesters was: ‘Slovakia: diversity, beauty and uniqueness; an open-arm country.’
Hungary celebrates Europe Day at the ‘Pacii’ metro station, where the commuters tasted traditional products or watched video projections with well-known bands from the neighboring country.
France’s Ambassador Francois Saint-Paul in his first public appearance in Romania on Friday hailed the initiative of the European Commission in Bucharest of marking Europe’s Day in an original manner and said that Romania appropriated the European values more and more, each day. Piata Romana metro station, called ‘France’ for one day, provided the travellers who went through it with the opportunity of taking photographs of boards with special inscriptions and of enjoying either traditional French sweets offered to gourmet lovers by Paul confectionery, or a cabaret show bringing to mind the famous theatres of the city on the Seine River banks.
The Stefan cel Mare station of the Bucharest metro was the venue that the Austrian Embassy and the Austrian Cultural Centre submerged in water in an experimental short film called Apnoe, projected on the station walls. The experiment captivated the Bucharesters by the attempts of its protagonists to carry on with their lives despite being in an aquarium. The Stefan cel Mare station also hosted a project by Estonian Jaak Kaevets, who used interactive installations to transform the passengers’ kinetics into visual projections.
Europe Day was celebrated in the Universitatii metro station – dressed up as ‘Lithuania’ station – with guitar music. Volunteers and representatives of the Embassy of Lithuania handed out flyers, brochures, magnets, key chains and maps to the passers-by through the University passage. Another metro station, Piata Sudului, became for one day ‘Croatia’ station. Here, a team of volunteers offered passers-by information leaflets and maps of their country.
The Czech Republic celebrated the Europe Day at the Timpuri Noi metro station, by means of two exhibitions, ‘The People and The Landscape’, an exhibition of pictures made by artist Ivo Dokoupil, and ‘Big Czechs Seen through the Eyes of the Little Czechs’, an exhibition of drawings made by children about great personalities from the Czech history. The representative of the Czech Embassy who took care of the organization of this event, Petra Dubrovska, reminded that this year the Czech republic is celebrating its 10th anniversary since it joined the European Union.
Bucharesters who on Friday between 16:00hrs-19: hrs EEST, travelled to the Tineretului metro station could taste Cypriot foods to the tunes of traditional Cypriot music. Also on Friday, Bucharest metro travellers were greeted with tulips, orange balloons and young girls in folk costumes ready for selfies at the Grozavesti metro station, renamed the Netherlands for Europe Day.
Christmas trees, children singing Christmas carols, a Santa Claus, flags and posters adorned the Eroilor station of the Bucharest metro, which was renamed Finland for three hours. Here, travellers were welcomed to a poster exhibition, some of them depicting Santa Claus and heavy metal band Amorphis. Riders of the Bucharest subway in transit on lines 1 and 2 through Piata Unirii station had an incursion into Northern culture and traditions, entering the ‘House of Denmark’, an initiative of the Royal Embassy of Denmark in Bucharest.
‘Today (Friday) is the celebration of Europe, a family celebration, which we all, brothers and sisters, celebrate together,’ Ezio Peraro, the Director of ‘Vito Grasso’ Italian Cultural Institute of Bucharest, told at Aviatorilor metro station of Bucharest, which has become ‘Italy’ station for one day.

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