The Baltic Sea region: from the periphery to the centre.
by Anna-Cara Keim
What is Baltic Sea Region? Some have considered a transitory post-cold war invention. Others saw it as a challenge to the Nordic Identity that experienced a fundamental crisis during the early 1990s. In the 1990s it became an aspiration, a chance for post-communist countries to re-join Europe. Today it is largely a framework of co-operation for issue as diverse as environment, culture, and politics. The choice of Tallinn and Turku as European capitals of culture in 2011 marks the latest success in cross-Baltic cultural co-operation.
In the last years the Baltic has indisputably been a European success story. A region once viewed very much as the periphery of Europe has become the heart of the continent thanks to transnational collaboration and policy-making. The Nordic model of security cooperation, once seen as a relic of the East-West conflict, now serves as a model for regionalisation in Europe.
The idea of the Baltic project is by no means new.
Already at the beginning of the 13th century, the Hanseatic League demonstrated an unprecedented level of economic transnational co-operation, spanning from the ports of northern Germany to as far as Novgorod. After the Baltic territories declared their independence in 1918 there was talk of a Baltic state that would not only have been comprised of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but also of Finland. Indeed, it is remarkable that even in the polarising reality of the Cold War the countries around the Baltic rim engaged in collaborative efforts on the field of environmental policy.
Yet, does the Baltic Sea region have a shared identity? What does Kiel have in common with Helsinki and St Petersburg other that they share the Baltic rim?
Those are just a few of the many questions Crossing the Baltic is keen to explore in the future. The very motivated editorial collective behind this blog-style magazine wants to present its readers with an eclectic perspective on the Baltic Sea region that will not only include politics, economics and history but also environmental issues, visual and material arts, literature, music and much more.
In our upcoming articles we will discover pagan Christmas traditions in Latvia, guide you through Helsinki’s music scene, witness the tumultuous celebrations of Polish Independence Day, remember Finland’s independence, take you on a photographic journey through Tallinn and revisit the historic Klaipeda conflict.
Please join us for an exciting journey to Europe’s (geographical) North-Eastern fringes…