New Foundations for History Education in the 21st Century

EUROCLIO Association

In 2016-2018, the Council of Europe’s History Teaching Unit had been working to find out across Europe what makes for Quality History Education in the 21st century. This was done by having regional seminars where each country in that region would be able to delegate one official representative of that country’s Ministry of Education and a representative from the field, which would be a teacher, teacher trainer, curriculum developer or other. In all seminars, EUROCLIO was able to support with the identification of representatives, in particular those representing History Teachers Association. Many EUROCLIO Ambassadors were involved in these seminars as well.

A small group of Council of Europe experts, and at times involving key stakeholders from the regional seminars, prepared questionnaires before the four regional seminars took off, analysed the results in between, and sought to integrate all findings into a common view – ultimately resulting in the new Guidelines on Quality History Education. Two key challenges were overcome in the creation of these guidelines.

First there was the challenge to find out what messages have been common from all the countries which participated. This was done by having clear themes and subthemes defined from the onset, and with the questionnaire results at hand, themes which were more important for some and less for others could be positioned better in the guidelines. In addition the thematic approach, it was also early on agreed that these guidelines would centre on only a couple contextual issues: curricula, teacher training and assessment.

The second challenge was related the need to not re-invent the wheel. There is much literature and there are many projects in the field of innovating history education. The guidelines are commissioned by the Council of Europe Member States and their ministers, and are aimed mainly at a policy audience. As such, the central aim became to issue a document which would reflect the field’s overall state and translate into clear cut guidelines which illustrate how history education, as a separate subject in school education can contribute to the shaping of inclusive society.

It is now hoped that all involved individuals, but even more so the history teachers associations connected in EUROCLIO, will highlight these inter-governmental guidelines in their conversations with national educational authorities. The challenges we are facing in Europe are similar (digital age, polarisation, sensitive (historical) issues and migration), and the history education sector, including the policy makers themselves, have all contributed to the creation of these guidelines. So it is now for all available to work for the further implementation of them.

The guidelines reflect essential values put down in the EUROCLIO Manifesto. EUROCLIO supported the creation of these guidelines. Now it will work to push them further ahead.

Download the full text here.

This article was written by Jonathan Even-Zohar.

Good peace or bad peace? EUROCLIO provides workshop at War or Peace conference in Berlin


“War or Peace: Crossroads of History” is the full name of the festival that was organized in Berlin by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BPB), and took place from Wednesday 17 October to Sunday 21 October 2018. Approximately 350 young people, aged between 18 and 30 years old, came together in 20 different workshops over the course of three days to learn and exchange ideas about notions of peace and democracy, in light of the centenary of the end of the First World War. In the words of the president of the BPB Thomas Krüger: “Learning about history might not give us answers to all of today’s challenges. But engaging with it can help us to understand each other’s narratives, fears and hopes in order to find common solutions.”

EUROCLIO provided a workshop called “Good peace : bad peace – balancing self-determination and realpolitik” developed by trainers Ute Ackermann Boeros and Bob Stradling.

The morning of the first workshop day was reserved for introductions and briefing. During the introductions, it became clear that the group of nineteen young academics was diverse and very lively. In the warm-up activity that Bob Stradling and Ute Ackermann had prepared, the group was asked to draw borders on an ethnic map of Central-Eastern Europe where they thought there should be borders after the First World War. New confederations were drawn up, keeping in mind several criteria such as language, ethnicity, (a common) history, but also the level of militaristic power for self-defence, and possible claims to the territory were thought about. Then, participants received another map, showing how the borders were actually drawn, and they were asked to compare it to the borders they drew themselves. Interesting perspectives and ideas about self-determination arose – from Namibia and South Africa to Syria, the Balkans, and Turkey from a Kurdish perspective.

After lunch, the participants sat down in their respective groups, and worked on their case-studies. They could choose between the cases of Cyprus, the Middle East, Czechoslovakia, the Kurds, and Poland. In each of these cases, the concept of self-determination comes to the fore in a different manner. Sources were divided and the rooms were quiet, apart from the regular sound of paper being turned, and sighs of concentration. After reading and discussing about the case-studies within their groups, participants reviewed the case-studies in light of four over-arching questions:

  1. To what extend does history show that self-determination solves the problems of the people seeking it?
  2. Under what conditions has self-determination contributed to peace and under what conditions does it appear to contribute to conflict?
  3. Are there solutions that can lead to minorities getting self-determination without conflict arising between the minority and the majority?
  4. What still needs to be done by the UN to make it an effective means of ensuring peace in multi-national, multi-ethnic countries and regions?

The second day of workshops, Friday, started with a plenary wrap up of what the groups discussed. Conclusions on the focus on these first case-studies showed that the concept of self-determination has many dimensions and plays out very differently depending on the context. It can lead to a peaceful separation, but also to decades of struggle, and even violent conflict. Moreover, to identify the actors in the decision on self-determination proved to be insightful and sheds light on the fact that self-determination is not always the only issue at stake.

After the plenary discussion, the participants chose their second case-studies, on which they worked throughout the morning. In the afternoon, no workshops were planned, which allowed participants to take part in one of the many side activities the organisers had planned, and to meet other international participants outside of the selected workshop. The programme included interactive and creative parts, performances, lectures, and discussions.

The morning of the last day was dedicated to finalizing second case-study in order for the participants to be able to compare and contrast with the first case-study they had analysed. Participants realized that some cases proved to be more difficult than others, and terms such as concessions, consistency, and institutional reform were named as concepts that could push in the right direction for reaching agreements.

The Saturday afternoon was reserved for an exhibition of the outcomes of the workshops in the Palais am Festungsgraben, next to the Gorki Theatre. All twenty workshops had a spot throughout the Palais in which they were able to show to other participants what was done in their workshop, and what they had learned. In order to prepare for this, our participants worked on creating a video consisting of different components. Questions such as what does self-determination mean for you, and how to reform institutions to become more effective in dealing with these issues are addressed in this video.

Overall, the workshop proved to be very successful, as participants were engaged with the material and tackled the production of the video together. Their different backgrounds provided an interesting exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Text and photos by Agatha Oostenbrug

Two Decades of Mapping History Under Threat

The Network for Concerned Historians celebrated its twenty-third anniversary on October 13, 2018. With more than two decades of monitoring cases of prosecuted and censored historians around the world, this network has put a neglected issue on the agenda, raising awareness about the multiple threats that history producers are receiving on a daily basis. Here you can find the story of the origins of the NCH, in the voice of its founder, Antoon De Baets, Honorary Board Member of EUROCLIO and holder of the EUROCLIO Chair for History, Ethics, and Human Rights at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.  

Maina wa Kinyatti, a Kenyan writer and historian, joined the history department of Kenyatta University in Nairobi in 1975. His research was mainly focused on the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule, and he wrote several papers and books addressing Kenyan history. In June 1982, five police officers came to search his house, without a warrant, confiscating 23 books, 29 personal files, and Maina’s typewriter. On the basis of this “evidence”, Maina was arrested for allegedly possessing seditious literature. His Marxist approach to history and his critical stance towards the authoritarian regime of then President Daniel Arap Moi brought Maina 6 years of imprisonment, after which he fled to Tanzania to then apply for asylum in the U.S.

Sadly, the story of Maina’s prosecution and imprisonment is not an isolated case. The censorship and prosecution of historians is a global phenomenon: historical research and education are targeted by both state and non-state agents in scores of countries around the world. To a certain extent, it resembles the worrying trend of prosecuting and murdering journalists. Antoon De Baets, a historian at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, first observed this disturbing phenomenon in the early 1980s. “While working at Amnesty International’s former publication office in San José, Costa Rica, from 1980 to 1982 (…), I noticed that in every corner of the globe historians were among those who suffered from political persecution”.

But not only that. De Baets also noticed that most of these cases were probably overlooked by other historians and that this could be the principal reason why many preventive or remedial measures were not contemplated by the victims’ colleagues. With this bleak scenario in my mind, “I began collecting material that caught my eye”, De Baets said. A few years later, the data of these cases gave shape to comparative research into the relationships between history, freedom, and power, thus enabling academic analysis and scholarly inquiry. “I began lecturing on the topic before an audience of history students at the University of Groningen. In 1991, this resulted in the first publication in Dutch, entitled Palimpsest”.

Perhaps unexpectedly, this attempt for raising awareness into a widely overlooked issue resulted in a network that could be called a “Historians without Borders”. In its turn, this led to more systematic attention for persecuted historians in several academic circles. In 1995, the 18th edition of the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Montréal organized a special roundtable on “Power, Liberty, and the Work of the Historian”. “This provided a new and lasting impetus to the idea. At the roundtable, I presented a paper, The Organization of Oblivion: Censorship and Persecution of Historians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America”, De Baets said.

Facts-based advocacy

So, for over a decade, De Baets had gathered information about ongoing cases. Nevertheless, early on he realized that the urgent character of many of these cases required more than data collection: it required an immediate response. “This situation appealed to me, not only as a researcher but also as a member of the community of historians. The ongoing cases clearly called for more than research: they called for action also”. This call for action could not be made from scratch, though. The international human rights organizations, which had already been campaigning from time to time against such abuses seemed like a good ally. “After the Congress, the time for action seemed to have arrived. I attempted to unite colleagues I had met in Montréal who were willing to campaign for their persecuted colleagues in this Network of Concerned Historians (NCH). On Friday 13 October 1995, a website was created. That is how it started”.

From that day until now, the NCH has been monitoring the state of the situation globally, publishing 24 Annual Reports to this date with an assessment of cases in countries worldwide. In its mandate, the NC

H states that it serves as a link between concerned historians and human rights organizations, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Amnesty International, Article 19, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, and Scholars at Risk.

In addition, Antoon De Baets has continued conducting research, systematizing databases and looking for worldwide patterns and trends. The results of these efforts will be presented in his next book, Crimes against History, which will be published in January 2019. This material includes, among others, 428 cases of history producers who were killed for political reasons from ancient times until today. One of De Baets’s conclusions about the repression of the historical profession is the following: “The present age is no exception; it even has the worst record. In myriad ways, the outcome of the historian’s work can damage those happening to hold power, and, therefore, critical history with its unwelcome truths is always potentially threatening”. In this regard, history producers are described as fragile, yet their work is not. “With some luck, their views may survive the regimes that killed or censored them”.

Check here the latest NCH Annual Report, and visit the NCH website at

EUROCLIO Community Welcomes Nine New Member Organisations

EUROCLIO is happy to announce that nine new members were accepted into the EUROCLIO family at the General Assembly in Marseille.

Six new organisations have become Associate Members: Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI), the Gernika Peace Museum Foundation from Basque Country, Spain, the Cambridge International School of Tunis, the St. Petersburg Academy of In-Service Pedagogical Education, the Centre for Education and Innovations from Slovakia, and the history department of Hamburg University. According to the EUROCLIO governance structure, Associate Members play a role in network consultations to help set priorities for project fundraising and for the development of educational materials, but do not vote in General Assemblies.

Three new organisations were accepted as Full Members: the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, the Swedish History Teachers’ Association, and the Association for History Education in Greece. In addition, one organisation which had previously held membership as an Associate Member has now been accepted as a Full Member: Education for the 21st Century from Serbia. Full Members have the same participatory rights and responsibilities as Associate Members, and are allowed to vote during the General Assembly.

We at EUROCLIO would like to re-welcome Education for the 21st Century, whose partnership we look forward to continuing, and extend our warmest welcome to the newest members of the EUROCLIO community!

First Impressions on a Successful and Intense Annual Conference

EUROCLIO Association


From the 21st to the 26th of April 2018, Marseille was the setting for a rather unique experience: the 25th EUROCLIO Annual Conference “Mediterranean Dialogues: Teaching History Beyond our Horizons”. Approximately 200 people, including history and citizenship teachers, educators, members of civil society organizations and policy makers from more than 40 countries, gathered in a series of locations across the city of Marseille and the Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur to discuss teaching history of and on all the sides of the Mediterranean.

Guided by the themes of “A common heritage”, “War and peace in the Euro-Mediterranean region”, and “People on the move?”, the participants of the conference took part in six intense days of roundtables, workshops, discussions and cultural visits, sharing and deepening their knowledge of sensitive issues such as the Armenian Genocide, the Landing in Provence, the Migration Crisis, and the teaching of the history of Islam on the one hand, and of European history on the other.

“Marseille was a wonderful site for the theme (…), and the opportunity to exchange ideas and gain insights from EUROCLIO’s diverse membership was stimulating.”

– Attendee at Marseille

“An extraordinary day, characterized by many interesting workshops.”

– Conference Participant

A special role was held by the interactive elements of the programme, which occupied almost entirely the 24th and the 26th of April. The 24th of April witnessed 18 different workshops (five of which were held in French), touching a variety of topics ranging from the role of documentaries in historical narrative, to case studies of political pressures on history curricula, to migration, to the use of Wikipedia’s edit history and of Historiana as a teaching tool.

After the annual meeting of EUROCLIO General Assembly, the 26th of April featured a more informal discussion setting. Five discussion tables were held, touching upon five extremely different topics: intercultural education, the role of Europe, EU education agenda, the role of teachers as researchers, the teaching of Turkish history in Danish classrooms, Industrial Heritage.  Discussion Tables were followed by a compelling World Café session on history, memory, and pluralism, 6 different groups tackled three key questions on history teaching and inclusiveness in society.

In other words, the 25th EUROCLIO Annual Conference touched on a variety of different micro-topics, all connected to the primary issue of Teaching History Beyond our Horizons. But, and this is perhaps the most important feature of the whole event, exchanges between educators did not stop at the end of the formal every-day programme: networking, in fact, continued also during lunch, dinner, cultural visits, and breaks, laying the foundations for new (and strengthening old) partnerships, and consolidating, we are proud to say, our friendships.

“I came back from the conference full of enthusiasm, the head filled with new ideas and new projects. I am impatient to attend the next conference!”

– Conference Attendee

Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir Ends Term as President of EUROCLIO, Succeeded by Mire Mladenovski

At the General Assembly 2018 in Marseille, France, Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir formally stepped down as President of the Board. Mrs. Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir was elected to the Board in 2012, and held positions on the membership committee and as Vice-President, before finally becoming President of the Board in 2016. In the past, she has been involved as a contributor to the web application initiative Historiana – Your Tool to the Past on rights and responsibilities.

“EUROCLIO has benefited immeasurably from her knowledge and guidance over the years, and is grateful for all her commitment and dedication,” Steven Stegers, Acting Executive Director, stated in Marseille. “We wish her all the best and look forward to continuing to work with her as an Ambassador of EUROCLIO.”

EUROCLIO is excited to welcome Mire Mladenovski as the new President of the Board. Having been elected as a Board Member in 2013, Mr. Mladenovski served as its Treasurer for four years, and has shown undying support for numerous EUROCLIO projects, most notably serving as an editor for Historiana. In addition to his work with EUROCLIO, he is one of the founders and current President of the ANIM (History Teachers Association of Macedonia), as well as having co-authored and edited supplementary teaching material for secondary school history curricula, such as Understanding a Shared Past, Learning for the Future and Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Country.

The EUROCLIO Board of Members is now composed of Mire Mladenosvki as President, Paolo Ceccoli as Vice-President, Riitta Mikkola as Treasurer, Sinéad Fitzsimons as Secretary, and Frank van den Akker as Board Member. EUROCLIO looks forward to a productive term under their leadership.

Decisions and Dilemmas: “Changing Europe” Materials Translated and Used in Local Member Events

EUROCLIO is excited to announce that educational materials from the Historiana unit “Changing Europe”, developed in  the previous edition of Decisions and Dilemmas, will be translated into several languages and used in workshops. The workshops will take place in the countries of the following EUROCLIO member associations: Bulgarian History Teachers’ Association, Croatian History Teachers’ Association, Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (Cyprus), History Teachers’ Association of the Czech Republic, Portuguese History Teachers’ Association, Federal Association for History and Geography Teachers (Spain), Finnish Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies and the Latvian History Teachers’ Association.

A preparatory meeting for these events took place from 9-11 February in Brussels at the House of European History. During the meeting, additional training was provided to representatives of the member associations, who will be responsible for organizing a training event based on the “Changing Europe” materials. These 1-2 day events will include workshops and provide teacher training on interesting and innovative ways to teach about the European Union. Together with the member associations mentioned above, we are currently in the process of selecting which materials from the unit will be used in these events.

Stay tuned for more news about these upcoming events!

Humans of EUROCLIO: Sue Bennett

EUROCLIO Association
Sue Bennett (left) and Joke van der Leeuw-Roord (right)

Sue Bennett
Former EUROCLIO President

Q: How did you first get involved with EUROCLIO?

In 1991, I received an invitation from the Council of Europe to attend a conference on history education in Bruges, Belgium. At that time, I was employed as an Adviser for History at the National Curriculum Council in England and I was a member of the Historical Association. Maitland Stobart, from the Council of Europe, had initiated the conference just after the collapse of the Iron Curtain so that history educators from the east and west of Europe could meet. During the meeting, Maitland Stobart suggested that, starting a European non-governmental organisation of history educators, could contribute to developing peace, stability and mutual understanding in Europe. After the meeting, Joke and Hélène from the Dutch History Teachers Association decided to accept Maitland’s challenge and with a group of people from different countries started EUROCLIO. Later, Joke came to talk to me in London about history education. But it was not until 1996, when I had changed my job, that I became more directly involved: an involvement which lasted while I remained directly connected with history education in the United Kingdom. And even now, I still have friendships with several people from Europe who I met during EUROCLIO activities.

Q: For several years you were heavily involved in EUROCLIO, as editor of the Bulletin, board member and later president, and working on several projects, right?

By chance, during the Annual Conference of 1997 in Budapest several of the EUROCLIO Board members resigned, including the then editor of the Bulletin, Martin Roberts. As the Board needed a native English speaker to edit the Bulletin, I was invited to stand for the Board. I was happy to be elected because my job had changed and it was easier for me to be more directly involved. Then a few years later, the other members of the first EUROCLIO Board had to resign as their statutory terms had finished. This included Joke van der Leeuw, who was one of the founding members and the first President of EUROCLIO. As I was the most experienced Board member, I was asked to stand for president and was subsequently elected during the 1999 Annual Conference in Edinburgh.

Q: I remember your presidency was not the easiest period for EUROCLIO?

Being a president is never easy as there are always complicated matters to deal with. But in this period, we had to deal with two important and sensitive issues: the relationship between the EUROCLIO Secretariat and the Board, and the bi-lingual character of the organisation. EUROCLIO started as an organisation of peers: history educators coming together to discuss their profession and trying to improve their skills and develop history teaching. But soon the organisation managed to gain considerable funding and was granted some big projects from the European Union. To deliver these projects, permanent staff needed to be employed and a professional financial administration became vitally necessary. In order to run the organisation, greater knowledge of law and accountancy became important. The Board members, who were only doing the work on a voluntary basis as well as their jobs as history educators in their own countries, were unable to take on this level of responsibility. The decision was made to split EUROCLIO in two closely interconnected organisations: the European Association of History Educators, which already existed and a Foundation and Secretariat, which was set up to execute big and complex projects, raise funding and cope with finances, employment, tax regulations, etc.

Now this sounds easier than it was. During the process, there was some confusion about who was responsible for the funds from projects and who was responsible for funds from the subscriptions from member organisations and this led to a lack of trust. It took several years of lots of talking to ensure that the financial transparency was obvious to all and to rebuild trust within EUROCLIO.

Q: And what was the second complicated issue?

Well, EUROCLIO has always had a strong connection with the Council of Europe and because of this it started as a bilingual organisation with English and French as its two languages. This meant the Bulletin was issued in two languages and there was simultaneous interpretation at the conferences. After a few years, this became an issue in the organisation. The costs of translation and interpretation were very high and only a small group of people made use of the translation. However, it was also important to recognise that French was an official Council of Europe language. But as the organisation grew, more history teacher organisations from Central and Eastern Europe joined EUROCLIO and there were proportionally more people who used English as their international language. Member organisations then asked whether it was necessary to spend a lot of money on translation. It is not an under-statement to say that EUROCLIO was never very rich and that simultaneous translation during the Annual Conferences cost a fortune.

Q: How was it solved?

Time and building trust were important factors. Discussions on the language issue lasted for several years with people exchanging views and arguments. In the end, it was boiled down to considering what the organisation wanted to spend its very limited resources on. After a few years, the French speaking community within EUROCLIO began to accept that spending so much money on translation and interpretation was perhaps not the most important priority. So, during the General Assembly in Tallinn in 2001 it was decided by democratic vote that the Bulletin would only published in English and that simultaneous translation during the Annual Conferences would only be provided if external funding was available.

Q: What was your role as the President of EUROCLIO in these issues?

I always saw my role as a facilitator trying to solve sensitive issues through debate and discussion. Working with people from different countries was both interesting and challenging. People bring their own assumptions to meetings about how they might best be organised and run. During my time, it was possible to identify different approaches within EUROCLIO. Some countries had a culture where people were very pragmatic in their approach to meetings and others were more formal. For example, some people like minutes of meetings to be exact reports of what people say and others just want action points. Some people want formal votes and others are happy to look for general agreements: some people focus on outcomes and some on procedures. These are not straightforward issues and during my time as President I learnt that it is important to talk about how meetings are organised. There are different ways of working democratically but if people are not clear about what is happening, confusion and misconceptions can happen.

Q: In 2002 your term as president ended. But it was not the end of your involvement in EUROCLIO?
No, not all. I was involved in several EUROCLIO projects on history education, for example a project in Estonia and Latvia and a project in Bulgaria. In both projects we were assisting local history educators in developing innovative teaching materials and then in using these materials to train local teachers. These were lovely and very inspiring projects. One of the most interesting aspects of them was that you were committed to a group of history educators in another country for several years, making personal friendships, but also really getting acquainted with the culture, habits and educational practice in other European countries. As well as my involvement in EUROCLIO, I was also working as an adviser for the Council of Europe to help develop history education. However, when I ceased to be actively involved in history teaching in the UK, I felt that it was time to stop being directly involved in EUROCLIO.

Q: EUROCLIO over the years benefitted from British methods of history teaching and many British history educators disseminated their knowledge and experience in Europe via EUROCLIO. But what did you gain from your meetings with history educators from other countries?

Well, I met lots of kind and interesting people, several of whom remained friends. Moreover, it was interesting to meet people and learn about their personal experiences, especially because many people had grown up under Soviet rule and their lives had shaped by those experiences.

Professionally, it was a privilege to introduce people to methods of history teaching used in the United Kingdom. Designed to encourage pupils to think critically about the past, these methods involved using sources and encouraging pupils to debate different interpretations of history. But this was not a one-way exchange and I learnt from others. I was also very impressed with the professionalism of teachers in the countries I visited. In discussions, it became clear to me that all history teachers struggle with similar issues, for example: how to design an interesting history curriculum when there is so much history that could be taught and which is also very significant. Is it best to go for breadth or depth? Should one cover the whole span of history or just more recent history? How does one balance the need to develop critical thinking with the need to develop a breadth of understanding? These are questions that history educators return to again and again and perhaps they will never be totally resolved.

Q: How do you look back on your involvement in EUROCLIO?

Being a member of the Board, especially being the President was a very interesting period in my life. Sometimes it was stressful, but it was also stimulating. I was happy to help ensure the continuation of EUROCLIO and to support the Secretariat in The Hague, with Joke van der Leeuw at its head. Now EUROCLIO has grown and developed but it is good to see that, even in a much-changed international environment, the organisation is still alive and active.

MA Education and Communication Students visit the EUROCLIO office

In late November of last year,  EUROCLIO was visited by six MA Education and Communication students from Utrecht University. They had asked if it was possible to visit the office, to talk about how to deal with controversial topics in their class. All the students have a background in History, and have already done part of their internship at a secondary school or are going to do this in the upcoming months. They heard about EUROCLIO and showed their interest in the work that we have been doing for the past 25 years across Europe and beyond.

Late in the morning the students arrived and were given an interactive presentation by trainees Larissa Wiegelmann and Rik Mets on what EUROCLIO is and does. The trainees showed examples of projects they have been working on during these past months and gave the visitors some insight into the workings of EUROCLIO. This was followed by a round of questions and lunch.

After the lunch, the students were set to work on a workshop. The workshop consisted of a lesson plan that was developed during the project History that Connects. How to Teach Sensitive and Controversial History in the countries of former Yugoslavia? which ran from 2011 until 2014. As an intellectual output, 23 workshops dealing with controversial topics were combined in a booklet called Once upon a time… we lived together.

A workshop that focused on the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 was chosen as a good example of the kind of high quality history education that EUROCLIO stands for. The lesson plan is interactive, multiperspective, uses a great number of sources, and promotes critical thinking and empathy for different opinions. It splits the classroom up into three groups, prosecution, defence and jury. Each of the groups receives a number of sources, on which they have to base their argument whether the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was a crime that has to be punished or not. The students worked on this workshop for almost an hour and showed great enthusiasm for it.

However, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand is hardly a controversial historical topic in Dutch classrooms. Therefore, the workshop was rounded of by a discussion on how a lesson plan like this could help the students to deal with controversial topics in their own classrooms. The issue of controversial history is one that cannot be solved in half an hour, but the students discussed building blocks, like using multiperspective sources and stimulating dialogue, as tools to use during their upcoming internships. These tools will surely help them to deal with any controversial topics they might face during their internships and careers as history teachers.