Branding EUro(pe) from above, below and sideways

My project on Images of (EU)rope deals with definitions and representations of Europe and uses of history in the making of identities. I am looking the ideas of Europeanness from above, below and sideways. I deal with the use of history/past on all its levels: from individual belonging to supranational identity building.

THE IDENTITY and image of Europe are extensively debated in official and unofficial, academic and artistic forums. The diverse eurorepresentations that divide between Us and the Other figure in our everyday discourse. Researchers’ interest in these issues will grow, too, as universities and other players – including the European Commission – increase funding for research on Europeanness and the European Union. The breadth of such research is growing as well. Interdisciplinary research on e.g, city space, town planning, and media has recently entered the fray. Image and identity become intertwined with questions of migration, cultural and economic diversity, and racism.

Go here to see a selection of photos taken by the international team of voluntary eurosignspotters.

Eurosigns in Brussels


Eurosigns are ubiquitous in Brussels. They range from the official, hegemonic branding ot the EU institutions to the quaint charm of hand painted signs of artisans and small entrepreneurs.

My case study is the Capital of Europe, Brussels and the history related material produced and used there. In my view in situ -observation is essential: both the branding of EU takes place in Brussels and the branding of Brussels as the capital of Europe leave their physical and visual marks on the town. The heterogeneity of Brussels as a city reflects, both in degree and kind, the heterogeneity of Europe as a whole.

Both the official and private eurosigns tap into the resources of the EU as a super brand, The unofficial narratives are neither as carefully branded nor as effectively disseminated as official PR-material for the European Union. Still, the mixed group of entrepreneurs selling computers, food, jewellery, shoes and trips to other continents under the word or sign of "euro" or some visual modification of the official EU-flag has truly set its mark on the urban landscape.


  • Bryssel identiteettien näyttämönä, Ydin 2019:2
  • Cosmopolitan versus Nationalist Vision: Rem Koolhaas’ Exhibition the Image of Europe. In Matthew Rampley (ed.) Heritage, Ideology, Identity in Central and Eastern Europe. Contested Pasts, Contested Presents, Boydell & Brewer 2012, pp. 175-194.
  • Valokuvaus, identiteetit ja eurospottaus, Tiedetoimittaja 2011:3, 14-15
  • In Hoc Signo Vinces. Eurosigns in the City Scenery of Brussels. In Frank Eckardt (ed.) Media and Urban Space. Understanding, Investigating and Approaching Mediacity, Frank & Timme GmbH, Verlag für wissenschaftliche Literatur: Berlin 2008, pp. 201-231
  • Tämä on meidän historiamme. Eurokansalaiskasvatusta historianäyttelyssä. Kasvatus & Aika 2008:1
  • Euro-PR ja katseita menneisyyteen. Ennen ja nyt 2007:1
  • Manneken Pis suomipoikana ja maailmankansalaisena. In Maria Lähteenmäki & Minna Aalto (toim.): Identiteetit liikkeessä. Suomalaisten kokemuksia Belgiassa. Siirtolaisinstituutti: Turku 2007, 11-27 (PDF)
  • Historiapolitiikkaa pikakelauksella. Rem Koolhlaas eurosirkustelttailemassa. Historiallinen aikakauskirja 2005:3, 269-279

Project presented at

  • Workshop United States of Europe – Europa als Standort oder als Idee? Steirische Herbst, Austria 2015
  • The City Walking Bazaar, Cass Business School, University of London, 2013
  • Conference Glocal Imaginaries: Writing/Migration/Place. Manchester University and Whitworth Gallery, 2009
  • Inaugural Conference of the International Society for Cultural History. University of Ghent, 2008
  • Conference Meeting the Other, University of Helsinki, 2008
  • Eurodiversity 4 Conference Diversity in Cities. Visible and Invisible Walls, UCL, London, 2007
  • ECREA Conference Equal Opportunities and Communication Rights, Brussels, 2007
  • Mediacity Conference Media and Urban Space, Bauhaus University, Weimar, 2006
  • Conference Heritage (Ideology, Politics, Culture), European Science Foundation, Ljubljana, 2006
  • Yksi ja monta Eurooppaa, YLE, radio 1 (2012)
  • Parlööri 2011:3
  • Tiedetoimittaja 2011:3
  • The Bulletin (July-August 2010)
  • Ydin 2009:3
  • Evropské MÄ›sto – European City 26.9.2008

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The Bulletin (July-August 2010)