Josine Backus
Advisor - Focal Countries | Brazil
j.backus [at] dutchculture.nl

Brazil: Semana da Europa (Week of Europe)

Brazil: Semana da Europa (Week of Europe)

This year's edition was dedicated to the contribution of Europe to Brasília's modernist architecture

The sixth edition of the Semana da Europa (or Week of Europe), an event which brings Brazil and European countries closer together, took place online this year between 23 September and 2 October. This year’s edition was dedicated to Brasilia’s 60th anniversary. The famous Brazilian capital, constructed following the masterplan by the triumvirate Lúcio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer and Joaquim Cardozo, was listed as UNESCO World Heritage already in 1987. The city is an outstanding example of modernist planning and flamboyant architecture. Many countries built in the same modernist tradition during the same period, including the Netherlands. The Dutch Noord-Oostpolder, for example, can be considered the rural counterpart of urban Brasilia. And also new towns, like Lelystad or Almere, were planned according to the same modernist principles.

Shared pasts, shared present challenges

The programme of the Semana da Europa started off with the Café com Europa: Brasília 60, during which the contribution of Europe to Brasília's architecture was discussed, as well as the current situation of this planned city. A central question during this part of the programme was: to what extend can modernist architecture concepts accommodate the needs of current societies? This is a topical question in Brazil as well as in the Netherlands. For this reason, both countries look for cooperation on this shared challenge in the field of cultural heritage.

Collaborating on shared architectural heritage

The Café com Europa event, which can still be watched online (in Portuguese), included a series of lectures and debates, and also the launch of a homonymous book. This book contains a Dutch contribution by Paul Meurs and Marinke Steenhuis of SteenhuisMeurs about "The Dutch Brasílias". This book was made possible through a collaboration between the University of Brasília and the Delegation of the European Union to Brazil. This programme was supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Brazil. The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands had planned to support the programme too by carrying out workshops, but due to Covid-19, these have been postponed to a later date.

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