April 21, 2021

25+ Peaceful Borders Between European Countries

Italian photographer Valerio Vincenzo has spent the last eight years photographing the EU’s internal boundaries: that’s 26 countries and 16,500 kilometers of borders that can be freely crossed.

His serene images of abandoned customs houses and quiet beaches and woods raise questions about the authenticity of geographical boundaries and national identities.

His project “Borderline, the Frontiers of Peace” will be exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September.

Valerio Vincenzo: Website

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According to the Dutchman, his latest project, Borderline, Frontiers of Peace, “strives to show the results of a historical change that has taken place over the last decades in Europe.”

Following the signing of the Schengen Agreement, 26 countries abolished passport and border control along their shared frontiers. It means that 16,500km (10,250 miles) of European border can now be freely crossed.

“With the help of a GPS and detailed maps, I have conducted many trips along these “erased” borderlines, with the intention of capturing the essence of these now-peaceful crossings,” says Vincenzo, explaining that he wants to break down the stereotype that we tend to have of the notion of ‘border’.

Though it should be recognized that some of the photographs are not taken directly of the borderline but in the immediate surrounding area. The idea behind his project is especially poignant today in light of current global conflicts and the push for tightened borders throughout Europe.

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The Schengen Area is an area comprised of 26 European countries, all of whom have agreed to abolish passports and border control at their shared borders. With this agreement, over 16,500 km of borders between neighboring nations have become free to explore. Armed with a GPS and detailed maps, Vincenzo travelled along these erased borderlines, creating images that showcase “the essence of these now-peaceful crossings” and dismantle the stereotypical idea of what a border looks like. Through his collection, he poses the fundamental question: What is a border anyway?

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