The interesting histories of European youth work and policy
Hanjo Schild and Jan Vanhee
In May 2008, we – the team for international youth policy in the Agency for Socio-Cultural Work for Youth and Adults of the Flemish Community of Belgium and the Youth Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe – organised the first workshop on “the history of youth work in Europe and its relevance for today’s youth work policy”.
Why this interest in the history of youth work and youth policy? In recent years, several youth movements and organisations have celebrated their 75th, 80th or even 100th anniversary with a variety of activities, alongside efforts to safeguard their heritage. Especially at local level, they have organised exhibitions and explored their archives to present the origin and history of their organisation, in many cases publishing a commemorative book with pictures, reminiscences and text. In 1981, for instance, one of the authors of this introduction, Jan Vanhee, together with other youth leaders set up a whole project to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their Chirogroup.