Mini-Europe-teemapuisto eurooppalaisuuden representaationa
Mini-Europe – a theme park in Brussels, morally supported by the European Commission and the European
Parliament – consists of around 350 models of different buildings and heritage sites from all the member
states of the EU. In addition, the park includes an exhibition named the Spirit of Europe. The article explores
how the European cultural identity is constructed and ‘sold’ in Mini-Europe and how history, geography and
local and regional traditions are intertwined into a politics of cultural marking, an ideology of European
integration and a creation of shared symbols. European cultural identity has often been generated through
appeals to an ancient or classical past, which is produced by stressing certain themes or areas of Europe.
Representing these ‘parts’ as common European culture is a profoundly exclusive strategy: heritage of a
particular temporal or spatial unit is narrated as shared by the contemporary citizens in Europe. Mini-Europe
can be interpreted as an indication of this kind of pan-Europeanist ideology. In addition, in Mini-Europe the
European culture and identity is represented through signs, which do not refer to Europeanness as such
but function as signifiers of famous tourist attractions of particular member-states in the EU.