From the very beginning, industrialisation has crossed borders - it has never been a purely national phenomenon. From the mid-18th century, new technologies and production methods spread rapidly across Europe. Manufacturers built factories in different countries, making huge profits, and thousands of workers migrated to the emerging industrial areas. Trade unions successfully fought for workers' rights, which became embedded in today's European welfare state. It was on this basis that modern Europe was built, with its great economic prosperity and high standards of social and medical care.
Every town, every industrial monument and every workers' settlement was and still is part of this process that began in Europe and then spread around the world. But most visitors are still unaware of this. The close-knit network of European industrial regions, which continue to inspire and strengthen each other, is something that most industrial monuments and attractions today do little to show.
This must change! The ERIH network reveals the European dimension of industrialisation and offers a hands-on experience of our shared European history. The aim is for every ERIH site to offer visitors a glimpse of Europe's many connections and interdependencies. ERIH is supported by the European Commission's Creative Europe Framework Programme, which recognises the network's contribution to the conservation and presentation of Europe's industrial heritage. This funding has enabled the production of this brochure, which aims to encourage ERIH sites to present the European dimension of industrialisation to their visitors. Like ERIH's Theme Routes, the brochure outlines the history of different industrial sectors, creating an exciting European narrative. It is not, of course, intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it aims to encourage readers to focus on the transnational aspects of Europe's industrial heritage and to provide ideas for incorporating the international story into the presentation of sites.
This brochure is a first step in presenting this complex subject and we look forward to receiving additions and ideas to continue telling this exciting story.
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