Dutch writer Mark Schalekamp set out to find answers to these and other questions and travelled to all 28 of the European Union’s member states to interview eight people in each capital city: a doctor, a police officer, a hairdresser, an entrepreneur, an artist, an immigrant, a sex worker and a local celebrity.
What is Europe? Who feels like a European? What do people think of their own country and its relationship with Europe? How do we differ from one another, what are the similarities, and what makes us unique? Schalekamp’s colourful, humorous account of his journey provides an open view of Europe seen not from a political point of view, but through the eyes of an inquisitive European. It is the story of the people’s Europe.
This is Europe starts by comparing the different groups of professionals, and goes on to explore various themes such as immigration, the lingering effects of communism, and the concept of solidarity in relation to the financial crisis. And Europe itself: is there such a thing as a European identity, and do we share common values or only common markets? The book concludes with a discussion of the European Union and its failings and what could be done to improve it.