Two generations, one story. How the former Iron Curtain still defines everyday life and the future of Europe. After the fall of the Iron Curtain the 'wind of change' was going to bring liberty, happiness and wealth to everyone. At least that was what we were told. What is almost three decades later left of all this optimism? Welcome to the Iron Curtain Project, a multimedia project with online stories and 'offline' events all across Europe.




The battle of Ceauşescu’s children

Two generations, one story

10 minutes

In 1990, images of emaciated children, locked up like animals in Ceaușescu’s orphanages shocked the world. Since then, Romania has made major changes; it is even called a ‘model country’. But Visinel Balan (30) and Daniel Rucareanu (40), who both grew up in one of Ceaușescu’s homes, are still, almost thirty years after the fall of the Romanian dictator, fighting for a better system of care for children. One of them does this by bringing up contemporary scandals, the other by looking at the past.
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East/West #1 Michael Ignatieff "Eastern Europe taught the west about freedom"


13 minutes

In Bucharest it's as easy to score your 'soya latte' as it is in Amsterdam; the centers of major European cities are in some respects hard to distinguish. Nevertheless it seems for some years now that the gap between Eastern and Western Europe has been growing instead of diminishing. In the East/West series we investigate clichés, (pre)judgments and misunderstandings between one another.
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I'm So Angry!

I’m So Angry
(I Made a Sign)
Pop Up Museum about revolutions and protest

Pop Up Museum

Exactly sixty years after the Hungarian Uprising in October 1956, the Iron Curtain Project starts with a traveling pop-up museum about Protest in Europe. It raises the question: what do we Europeans want to fight for?

Soon on view:
› 4 November, Framer Framed at Museum Night, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
› 24/29 November, Shibaura House, Tokyo, Japan
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anna en balazs

lone activist

The lone activist

Two generations, one story

14 minutes

Protest and activism are not exactly in the Czechs’ DNA. Once in a while, a lone activist desperately tries to shake up the people. Eighteen-year-old student Jan Zajíc set himself on fire in 1969, hoping to be the spark that would incite the masses to rebel against the Soviet Union. More than 45 years later, with his infamous actions, the activist Otakar van Gemund (46) again tries to encourage the Czech people to protest. “I have to do it because nobody else will.”

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Barbed Wire

The return of barbed wire A new Iron Curtain in Europe

Two generations, one story

40 minutes

26 years ago, Hungary was the first country to break open the Iron Curtain: this event formed a prelude to the fall of the Wall and the unification of Europe. One generation later, Hungary is also the first European country to close itself off again with a fence – and the number of countries that are following suit is growing. However, this time, the fence isn’t there to keep people in but to keep them out. How did this happen? A tale in video and text of two men at the border, who suddenly find themselves in the centre of historical attention.
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Revolution! Thirteen uprisings against authority

Two generations, one story

Meet Constantin Jinga: he was shot during the Romanian Revolution but still calls that day one of the happiest of his life. Or read about Mirka Chojecki-Nukowska, who did not feel like a hero, but still put up resistance – until she had to flee Poland. Meet the people who forgot their fears and accidentally became heroes, who fought in revolts that changed the world or ended in repression and disillusion.
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ugly stuff

Told Untold

checkpoint charlie

Nose matching at Checkpoint Charlie From Stasi science to facial recognition technology

Two generations, one story

7 minutes

For fifteen years, Peter (76) worked for the Stasi at Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous border crossing of the Berlin Wall. During his time at the Wall, he worked on a facial recognition method to improve passport controls. In 1989, Elke (46) joined the street protests that ultimately led to the fall of the Wall. She now works for a company that develops facial recognition software. It is used, among other things, for European border control, which is getting more stringent everyday.
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what Ewa

What Ewa knows

Two generations, one story

9 minutes

Mirka Chojecki-Nuckowska (60) fled Poland with her three young children in 1987 and went to the Netherlands. Her youngest daughter Ewa prefers not to know why.
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Popup museum

Renewed fear of the Russians

Renewed fear of the Russians in Lithuania

Two generations, one story

8 minutes

Photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė (27) grew up in a free and independent Lithuania. Still, she fears Russia. And she's not the only one: to arm itself against the Russians, Lithuania reinstated the draft early this year. Violonist Misha Furman (67) understands her anxiety. He grew up in Soviet Lithuania. “Fear is in our DNA.”
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launch event