Gaarkeuken Montreal 1931

Heritages of Hunger

Societal Reflections on Past European Famines in Education, Commemoration and Musealisation

European famines of the past resonate in today’s debates about the economic crisis, refugees and Brexit. Endurance, neglect and migration issues continue to play a part. These issues are used to highlight international disagreements and conflicts such as the tension between Ukraine and Russia or Ireland’s position during the Brexit discussions.

Solidarity through education?

This project examines how lessons on famine are being taught at schools and heritage sites and whether such practices can enhance understanding and solidarity between countries. The researchers will not only be examining this in the European context, but will also be looking at how lessons on famine are being taught by and to European migrants in the United States and Canada. What’s more, they will explore the influence that migrant communities within Europe have on regional and national educational practices that relate to famine.

The case studies that are central to this research relate to particular periods of war (Belgium and Germany during and after World War I, and Spain, Russia, Greece and the Netherlands during World War II). Periods of political negligence and ecological crisis (nineteenth-century Ireland and Finland) and repression (the interwar period in Spain and Ukraine) will also play an integral role. The project will develop digital educational materials, which can be used by schools and heritage institutions, on the basis of the research results.

The consortium will also prepare a report with recommendations for lessons on European famines, which will be geared towards policy makers, and educational and heritage institutions.


NWO NWA-subsidie


The project is supported by a board of hunger experts and partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Ireland, UK, Ukraine, Russian & Canada. These are: Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam; Museum Rotterdam; Red Star Line Museum, Antwerpen; EUROCLIO; Irish Heritage Trust, Dublin; Nerve Centre Derry; Kuopio Cultural History Museum; Werstas Labour Museum; Universiteit van Granada; Centro Documental de la Memoria Historica, Salamanca; Nederlands Instituut in Sint-Petersburg; Holodomor Research and Education Centre, Kiev; Ireland Park Foundation, Toronto; Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, Toronto.

Contact information

More information on this research study? Questions from the media may be directed to the science editor. All other questions may be directed to the researcher.

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