Europa Experience: an interactive space in Paris to better understand Europe

Inspired by the Parlamentarium in Brussels, but also by the success of the Europa Experience in Berlin, a space of 1500 m2 has just opened its doors in Paris and for any visitor who is curious to understand Europe better. And you, do you know what Europe can bring to your life?

The majestic Madeleine Church has had a new neighbor since 14 May. At the site, a brand new building attracts the eye with its large animated screens in the window. Above the entrance, the name “Europa Experience”. Since when is Europe an experiment? went in …

What is happening in real time in the European Parliament and in the Commission?

The interior is spacious and lively. A total of 1,500 m2 has been furnished, including the augmented reality room. The visitor literally walks across Europe, drawn on the ground. On a tablet, icons appear to sometimes detect a project, sometimes a program supported by the EU. The purpose of the animation is to show what the member states are working on today. But to be as close as possible to reality, the visitor can also observe on a touch screen what is happening in real time in Parliament and the European Commission. The tool undoubtedly came to life on June 8 around the climate pact, an electrical issue that particularly excited MEPs.

© EU: Christophe Echard

Europe Experience or how to better understand Europe and how it works

For many citizens, the European institutions are remote and their operations are unclear. It is difficult to clearly separate the roles of Parliament, the Commission and the Council and how they work together. A playful and tactile tool tries to explain who votes over the budget, adopts the next legislation or validates international agreements. If the idea is original, however, the understanding remains complex, with the image of reality.

Moreover, who works in these organizations? A question that Europa Experience wanted to answer by offering two vertical screens, where the portraits of current MEPs and EU Commissioners scroll, with a search module by age, political group or country.

And to get around citizens’ questions, the Europe experience provides 65 portraits of Europeans on touch screens. A policeman, a bus driver, a teacher or even an entrepreneur tells about their daily life or their job; a way of explaining, without taking sides, how Europe is a part of everyone’s lives.

The European experience is reminiscent of the EU’s challenges through images and role-playing

Europe is on the way, but has many challenges for the future. To illustrate this, Europa Experience has a modern, circular space with a 360 ° screen. An 8-minute rhythmic film from 2018 will be shown. The work looks back on the major events that have built the EU, but above all recalls the famous challenges that Europeans must live and overcome together.

Visitors to the Europa Experience watch a 360-degree film
© EU: Christophe Echard

The space dedicated to Europe pushes the experience further by offering to put yourself in a Member of the European Parliament’s place. For 2 hours, guided by an individual telephone and in one of the EU’s 24 languages, four groups of new MPs discuss, vote, negotiate, cooperate, question themselves to finally make decisions on two fictitious bills on water supply, the other on data protection. When they travel, it is likely that they have understood a little better how Europe works …

Visitors put themselves in the place of an MEP for a role play
© EU: Christophe Echard

The ambition to open a “Europe experience” across the EU by 2024

Since opening in 2016, 150,000 visitors visit each year “Experience Europe” in Berlin, similar to the Europa Experience in Paris. A success that Laila Wold, manager in Paris, would like to take an example from: “ we opened on May 14th. That day there were 2,500 visitors and since then we have had 900 curious every week. Our ambition is to be able to open other spaces throughout the EU ”. A Europa Experience also plans to open in Stockholm in November (in the House of Culture), in Rome in September (on the famous Place Venezia), but also in Vienna in May 2023. Today, such rooms are located in Ljubljana, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Strasbourg. 1.4 million visitors have already visited one of them.

Several Europa Experience are located in the EU

The aim of Parliament and the European Commission, which are jointly carrying out this major education project, is to explain to every European citizen what Europe is and what it can bring him today and in the future. Of course, with the European elections in mind, which will take place in May 2024.

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