Beyond the Curtain: 25 Years of Open Borders

Article published on Sept. 21, 2014
Article published on Sept. 21, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, the Iron Curtain was torn down. Ten years ago, eight post-communist states joined the European Union. What do we really know about our neighbours beyond the border? Come join Cafébabel's new pan-European young journalist project! 

A quarter of a century has passed since the surreal frontier separating Europe into East and West, into communist and capitalist, into friends and enemies, was brought down. Since the EU enlargement in 2004, which saw Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary join the European political framework, and later also the Schengen Area, borders have been open. For ten years, citizens of the states formerly separated by the Iron Curtain have been able to travel freely and to visit their neighbouring countries. Yet how often do we take this opportunity?

In an effort to illustrate the changes these states have gone through in the last twenty-five years, the Cafébabel groups of Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Germany have teamed up in the editorial project "Beyond the Curtain". From late September to December 2014, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, we will send young journalists, photographers and video makers on visits to one of the five countries involved in the project, asking them to find out what we know about the political, social and cultural situation beyond the border and how we perceive ourselves and our neighbours.

From September to December, Cafébabel will publish ten journalistic features per month on the topics of historical change, East-West divisions and cultural exchange. Want to get involved? Then email the editors at berlin[at]cafebabel.com. 

Beyond the Curtain: 25 Years of Open Borders

Twenty-five years ago, the Iron Curtain was torn down. Ten years ago, eight post-communist states joined the EU. What do we really know about our neighbours beyond the border? Get in touch at berlin[at]cafebabel.com to join our journalist team!