Skip to main content
The City of Europe’s Future
Erasmusbrug or Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands on 25 February 2018. (NurPhoto/Getty Images)
(GETTY IMAGES)

The City of Europe’s Future

Ben Judah

Forget economic anxiety. Rotterdam is a warning that the emerging political fight across Europe really is about cultural assimilation after all.

I’ve often wondered, “Where is Europe?”

Its essence could never be found in a modern megacity—any place too particular cannot really be “Europe.” It could not be found in too ancient a city either, because truth be told very few Europeans live in ancient homes. Europe, the Europe we live in, is really a continent of suburbs, supermarkets, and business parks, the Europe of Carrefour and le Corbusier knock-offs, its concrete tower blocks hidden behind the cathedrals.

I felt it, Europe as it is, watching the Eurolines pull into Victoria Coach Station, in London, at 6:00 AM, full of bleary eyes—migrants, students, tourists—on busses from Bucharest, Paris, and Rome. I felt it too, watching the truckers pull out of the mist at motorway service stations in Germany; or early in the morning, at the edge of Turin, where African migrants huddle at the camp gates, making plans to reach France. I thought this emotion, this feeling, maybe couldn’t be found in cities at all: Maybe the Europe of the twenty-first century was too diffuse to have a capital, like Walter Benjamin’s Paris was for the nineteenth century, with its arcades and its velvet sedans.

Read the full article in the American Interest here

Related Articles

Washington Changed. British Diplomacy Failed to Keep Pace.

Ben Judah

The U.K.’s problems are much bigger than some leaked cables, or the abrupt resignation of its ambassador....

Continue Reading

The Salafi-Jihadist Reaction to Hindu Nationalism

Hari Prasad

ISIS and AQIS are competing throughout South Asia to win recruits, conduct terror attacks, and foment religious turmoil—and both have increasingly fix...

Continue Reading

The Hollow Center

Peter Rough

Angela Merkel’s CDU will soon have to choose between competing with AfD for the hearts of law-and-order conservatives, or with the Greens for the hear...

Continue Reading