Exhibition Picturing Europe

by | 20 Sep 2018

From 25 September – 25 February 2019 you are welcome to visit the exhibition Picturing Europe Marvels from the Jesuits Collection: travel guides, tourism and heritage in the main building of Maastricht University (Minderbroedersberg 4-6, 6211 LK, Maastricht).

Opening hours Minderbroedersberg 4-6: Monday – Friday: 08.00  – 19.00.

In the show-case near the Parlour at the Inner City Library a small selection of books about tourism is displayed, as a pre-announcement and reference to the exhibition.


Travelguides and ‘the tourist gaze’

As a phenomenon, the travel guide is closely connected with the emergence of modern tourism in Europe from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, when an extensive railway network came into being. Tourists were looking for pleasure and relaxation. But they also wanted to widen their cultural horizon and improve their physical health. This exhibition shows how the travel guide, as a steady companion, detailed for the tourist what was worth a visit: which cities, which buildings, which resorts, which mountain areas, which panoramas and so on. As such the travel guide defined ‘the tourist gaze’, thus playing a major role in establishing what nowadays we consider natural and cultural heritage in Europe.


Shared history of Europe

Travel guides did not only confirm stereotypical images regarding ‘fellow’ Europeans, but they also stimulated mutual interactions and meetings among Europeans. Travel guides were thus part of the shared and divided history of Europe.The outbreak of World War One made a preliminary end to the rise of tourism. The French for instance would no longer travel to Germany for leisure. After World War Two, however, growing prosperity gave rise to travel on an even grander scale: to mass tourism and the ‘tourist industry’, including its increasingly challenging ecological effects. Tourists from Europe more often travelled to destinations outside of Europe, as they no longer derived prestige from a trip to Paris or Tenerife. Going on safari in South Africa or visiting the penguins on the Galapagos islands would – and will – still give them a sense of having seen or done something special.


Keller, G. (1877). Europa in al zijn heerlijkheid geschetst. Rotterdam: Robbers.


Frans Cortenraad

This exhibition has been organised in honour of Frans Cortenraad, staff member of Maastricht University Library from the early days. After his retirement he plans to go on long trips across Europe. During his forty years on the library staff, he dedicated much of his time to the University Library’s Jesuits Collection and he familiarised many a visitor with it. This valuable collection comprises countless travel guides that provide a picture of Europe.


‘Maastricht, Working on Europe’

‘Picturing Europe’ is the result of collaboration between the Art and Heritage Committee and the University Library. The exhibition fits well into the ‘Maastricht, Working on Europe’ programme. This project centres on the positioning of Maastricht as European workplace; as city where people from Europe meet and where together they brainstorm about how things can be done differently and better, while also trying to realise those ideas. As partners, the province, the city and the university aim to focus on European issues, such as those in the domain of identity and culture, and they are committed do so in close interaction with the citizens of Europe.


Maastricht University Special Collections

The Maastricht University Library holds a number of exceptional book collections, which are of significant value to society, education and research. Its Jesuit Collection contains over 250,000 books on philosophy, history, medicine, art, theology, literature, law, and social sciences.


Further reading


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