In Europe Schools

In 2019, EuroClio and Dutch broadcasting company VPRO joined forces to launch a very exciting and unique exchange project for European students: In Europe Schools. It is a unique history education project that encourages a transnational approach of teaching Modern European History and focuses on the development of research skills and media literacy through documentary-making. It is inspired by the VPRO documentary-series on the history of Europe, In Europe Now – History Caught in the Act, presented by Dutch bestselling author Geert Mak.

Once schools have signed up, they will be matched with partner schools throughout Europe to start working on their Education Kit of choice. A team of authors have jointly developed four Education Kits that schools can choose from: Difficult History, Migration, Climate Change and Gender Equality. Each Kit includes teacher and student materials and consists of four steps: introduction of the topic, in-depth analysis of the topic and its context, conducting research and the making of a documentary, and finally, sharing the videos with the partner school abroad.

The Kits start with starter clips and are all centred on main research questions for the students to answer throughout the course of the project. For example, the Climate Change Education Kit encourages and challenges students to answer the following question: How should we deal with Climate Change? It challenges students to recognise the characteristics of climate change and the different ways of dealing with it in the past and present days. It also aims to develop a basic knowledge and understanding about policies and encourages students to evaluate different perspectives and find solutions to the issue. 

Another Education Kit to highlight is Gender Equality, in which students are asked the question: How to respond to gender inequality? This kit aims to introduce students to issues and consequences related to gender inequality as well as to help students to develop well-considered views with rational arguments on this topic. Through the use of a timeline on women’s activism, historical examples of gender (in)equality, students will gain an in-depth understanding of its historical context, while the different perspectives on gender (in)equality presented, will encourage students to form their own views and opinions. 

In step three and the most innovative component of each Education Kit, students start preparing the making of their documentaries by doing research. In this step, students are asked to work in groups of four, in which each student is assigned one of the following roles: researcher, interviewer, cameraman/woman and editor. All roles are extensively explained in Tutorials made by the VPRO. The researcher, for example, is responsible for searching stories, main persons, archive material, and historical background articles. He/she also holds the responsibility of checking sources and data as well as providing content support to the interviewer. Once the research has been done, interviewing and filming can begin! Finally, the editor assemblies and finalises the entire video on edits, cuts, music or additional footage. Documentary done? Then it’s time to exchange them with the partner school to see and reflect on how the same topic is approached differently! The Tutorials and completed documentaries are available on the In Europe Schools YouTube Channel

What do students and teachers think?
The participating schools have expressed their enthusiasm for this project! Following the pilot phase, the project received positive feedback and teachers were mostly content with both the quality of the materials as well as the given assignments and Tutorials provided. For students, making the documentary was the most exciting part and oftentimes they could not wait to finish the first few steps in order to start working on the documentary. When, for example, overwhelmed by the amount of materials or short of time, teachers were able and free to skip some of the steps and to focus on the assignments and topics they and their students found most interesting. Though sometimes a struggle due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most schools managed to stay in good contact with their partner schools and were able to exchange their documentaries successfully. 

A very interesting outcome entails students’ gaining a greater understanding of how things work after completing the project and a greater sense of interest in the topic of history in general, fact-checking, and filmmaking. Even more so, students expressed a higher awareness of how recent history has an effect on current opinions. 

How to get involved?
Are you interested? EuroClio and VPRO would be delighted to have you on board! For an overview of all the materials, as well as more information and registration, please visit: All Education Kits are online and free for usage, also available as PDF documents. For more information or questions, please contact EuroClio via