Europe Day in Trenčín was held in the spirit of concerts, discussions, literature and experiential formats. With the Europe in Trenčín mini-festival, the city joined the European celebration of Europe Day - a celebration of peace and unity in Europe. This is linked to the anniversary of the so-called Schuman Declaration - a speech by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Róbert Schuman, who initiated the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community on 9 May 1950. Schuman's idea is seen as the beginning of the building of the community of countries now known as the European Union.
„With the Europe in Trenčín event we joined the European celebration of Europe Day, which is already a tradition, but not yet in our city and region. Although it was a celebration, the themes were serious - the war in Ukraine sets our thinking. Right now it is important to proclaim democratic values, to appreciate that we are members of the European Union, and at the same time to remind ourselves that it is very important to keep on solidarity with Ukraine and the people who have found refuge in Slovakia and in our region”, Terina Slezák Barčáková, International Relations Manager of Trenčín 2026 explains the intention to devote the programme to pro-democracy themes.
Experts on European politics and culture discuss
The role that cities like Trenčín can play for the stability of democracy and the promotion of European values was discussed by experts in European politics and culture - Bohunka Koklesová, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Jana Kobzová, Adviser to the President on Foreign Policy, Robert Sermek, Head of the European Parliament Office in Slovakia, and Michal Kaščák, founder of the award-winning Pohoda festival and moderated by well known Slovak writer Michal Hvorecký.
Booklovers enjoyed the talk of writer Michal Hvorecký with laureates of European Union Prize for Literature . Pavol Rankov and Ján Němec talked about their books which were awarded. Dějiny světla (A History of Light) by Němec and Stalo sa prvého septembra (alebo inokedy) (It Happened on September the First (or whenever) by Rankov.
Immersive workshop brought to life the dilemmas of people threatened by war
The event opened with an experiential workshop by Post Bellum. The workshop presented the themes of the rise of Nazism, the Holocaust and emigration from the perspective of an individual affected by the great events of history. Through the true story of Eva, a Jewish woman, through structured drama and role-playing, participants were introduced to the dilemmas people faced during World War II. The aim of the workshop was to understand the historical context, but also to develop critical thinking, reasoning skills and social and emotional intelligence.
An interesting format brought the [fjúžn] walk, during which we looked at Trenčín through the eyes of a foreigner. Kais from Tunisia, who has been living in Trenčín for 7 years, took us through the places he likes in Trenčín and showed us what his everyday life looks like.
Musical guests from the region, Slovakia and abroad
The local legend, Chór vážskych muzikantov, which was the leader of the Trenčín underground in the 1980s, performed. Fans of electronic and experimental music were attracted by Isama Zing (SK), a recent winner of the Radio_Head Awards 2021.
A unique experience brought the female trio Sutari from Poland, which transforms traditional Polish songs in an original way. „Sutari is a beautiful example of how traditional culture can be drawn upon and interpreted in a contemporary way for diverse audiences. They show us that tradition doesn't have to be set in stone, it can be a living inspiration“, says Lenka Kuricová, artistic director of Trenčín 2026, describing the choice of the band.
Reaction to war and aid through badges
The collection of visual works, which responded to the beginning of the war in Ukraine, had its premiere in Trenčín at the Trenčín for Ukraine concert. It also contributed to the specific atmosphere during the minifestival Europe in Trenčín. It was compiled by the director of Biela noc Zuzana Pacáková and Slovak artist Ilona Németh, who selected works by more than fifty artists, such as Lucia Tallová, Olja Triaška Štefanovič, Dorota Sadovská, Oto Hudec, Boris Vitázek, Boris Németh, Tomáš Rafa and others.
For a voluntary contribution, visitors also received a badge with a motif by the well-known Slovak illustrator Danglár. All the proceeds will go to material aid for people fleeing the war in Ukraine, which is organized by the city of Trenčín in cooperation with KC Aktivity. Badges for this purpose were made and donated by the sheltered workshop Aliis from Nemšová. In this way, the sheltered workshop wanted to contribute to the direct help of people from Ukraine now living in the Trenčín region.
The event was financially supported by: the city of Trenčín, the Trenčín Self-governing Region. The partners of the mini-festival Europe in Trenčín are the European Union, Europe Direct Trenčín.