Brave New World – Romanian Migrants' Dream Houses

21.11.2015 to 24.04.2016
Museum Europäischer Kulturen

The districts of Oaș, Maramureș and Bukovina are partially rural regions in northern Romania. The past few years have witnessed the appearance of stately new constructions into the village landscape. Jewel-colored, multi-story, marble and granite facades stand out from among the more traditional houses. Their owners work the year over in Italy, Spain, France or Great Britain. There, they secure their families' existence usually as construction workers, janitors, nurses for the elderly, or seasonal harvest laborers. Their savings are mostly poured into the construction of large houses in their hometowns. The houses' architecture and interior design are visible signs of the workers' success abroad and their modern Western lifestyles. Luxury cars and houses are the keys to securing social recognition and their family's honor.

The new houses are rarely inhabited. Older people continue to live in their own houses. They care for the grandchildren who have stayed behind and for the empty houses. The villages only fill up on Christmas, Easter and in August. These are the times to meet and exchange news. Ostentatious weddings are celebrated in August, after which silence again takes hold of the villages.   

A project by the Koordinierung Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen, in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute of Berlin.

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