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House of European History opens its temporary exhibition “Throwaway – The History of a modern crisis”

18 Hel 2023

Through a historical perspective on rubbish, the exhibition at the House of European History explores the ‘most visible’ part of the environmental crisis.
From 18 February 2023 to 14 January 2024, the Brussels museum dedicated to the recent history of the continent offers an unprecedented overview of the history of our waste. From the industrial revolution to the excesses of the consumer society, the exhibition charts profound changes in the way we deal with rubbish and think about it.

Christine Dupont, the exhibition curator: “Rubbish is an integral part of our lives. As such, it deserves our attention, as do those who deal with it in any way – because rubbish is a trace of our past, present and, why not, future ways of life. But also because it is a sign that should inspire us to act for a more sustainable world.”
Fragments of Bronze Age objects, samples of white rags used in paper mills in the 19th century, electronic devices - whether industrial or household, toxic or reusable, our rubbish is revealing. While we tend not to dwell on what we have thrown away, the exhibition invites us to sift through the detritus of our societies, with startling results.
Objects and testimonies are presented to make us measure the ecological impact of waste and of Europe's historical and contemporary responsibilities. Not to overwhelm us, but to make us think: as individuals and societies, can we challenge our continual accumulation of waste, and if so, how?
Enriched by the expertise of professionals in the field of waste treatment, recycling and reuse, the exhibition is complemented by an interdisciplinary publication and a transnational web platform — — developed in partnership with nine European museums, offering a vast array of texts, images and videos around the topic.