Examining Belgian and German Schoolbooks on WWI: a Historians’ debate at the College of Europe

The European General Studies Programme of the College of Europe will host a ‘Historikerdialog’ in partnership with the Belgian Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CEGESOMA) and the German Embassy in Brussels.

Dr Kerstin SCHWEDES (Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research) and Prof. Dr Kaat WILS (KULeuven) will debate how German and Belgian schoolbooks represent the First World War.


  • 17:00 Welcome by the Rector of the College of Europe and CEGESCOMA (TBC).
  • 17:10 Lecture by Dr Kerstin SCHWEDES 
  • 17:45 Comments by Prof. Dr Kaat WILS
  • 18:00 Discussion and Q&A with the public

Dr Kerstin SCHWEDES’ lecture abstract

History textbooks are located in-between historiography and collective memory: They are claiming to impart objective facts of the past, but at the same time have to construct a narrative that fits a people’s collective memory without compromising the officially recognized vision of the future.

The lecture will exemplarily analyze and compare selected passages from textbooks to dissect what is told, how it is told, and what is hidden (I). On this basis it will then (II) compare textbooks from Belgium and Germany from different time periods in respect to their presentation of World War I. Finally (III) it will explore and contrast WWI narratives of other countries. In this context a project of the Georg Eckert Institute that aims at identifying and illustrating those different national narratives in order to raise historical consciousness will be presented.

More information? contact Luis BOUZA


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