An exhibition by the Deutsches Historisches Museum in partnership with the Jean Monnet Chair for European History at the University of Cologne, looking at Europe as a maritime continent in geographical terms. Taking the length of the coastline relative to the total land area, Europe has more contact with the sea than any of the other continents. Nevertheless, the sea can seem very remote to people living in central and eastern Europe. In many countries, the sea is part of people’s daily reality only when they go there on holiday, or if they live on the coast.
Europe and the Sea reveals just how fundamentally the sea has shaped the development of Europe, exploring the roles it has played and continues to play. The exhibition covers the centuries from the Age of Antiquity to the present. It examines the sea’s significance as a facilitator of European expansionism and trade, as a bridge and barrier, as a resource, and as a focus of yearning and imagination. In addition to the historical dimension, it casts a spotlight on many aspects that are of ever greater importance to us today. In view of the millions of refugees crossing to Europe, the role of the sea as a bridge and barrier to the continent has acquired new relevance. Environmental concerns, climate-related issues, and the use or overuse of marine resources are also subjects of growing public debate.