Syria, Kosovo, Brussels and the mountain

Countries all around Europe are dealing with the same dilemma: what to do with citizens who went to join ISIS. Tiny Kosovo is alone in opting to bring back a large group of its citizens when other countries are turning their backs. To find out why, Dominic talked to AJ Naddaff, who spent months researching why so many left Kosovo to fight, and the country’s humane response to bringing people back.

Over on the western edge of Europe Katy’s been chatting to the French writer Maxime Calligaro about why the Brussels bubble is a surprisingly great place to set a crime novel. Maxime and Katy also spoke at the Ancienne Belgique last week about how to make Europe less boring (you can watch it here). Thanks Liveurope for hosting!

Also this week: sheep, bears (you can read about the mystery here in El País) and an attempted coup.

We’ll be back next week for a special episode on how the European parliament works and why you should give a damn about the elections. 

Bananadrama

This week, a celebration of the quintessential Renaissance man: yes, it’s opera singer Dominic Kraemer with an interview about CHEMICAL ELEMENTS. We’re also marking the 500th deathday of some guy called Leonardo who was similarly talented in both the arts and sciences.

In Poland, the art world has gone bananas; in Spain, there’s life in socialism yet; and British chemist and YouTube sensation Martyn Poliakoff is here to explain why he wants to turn the periodic table upside down, literally.

In a week when we won a big prize, we want to say thanks more than ever for listening. Particularly huge thanks go to our Patreon supporters. If you want to throw a dollar or so into the tip jar, you can do so at patreon.com/europeanspodcast.

Happy Birthday Bauhaus!

This week, European cultural greats past and present. We discuss the good, the bad and the Bauhaus with the American painter Henry Isaacs, who grew up surrounded by many of the key figures from the legendary German art school that marked its 100th birthday this month. And Katy chats to Kurt Oberbergh, artistic director of the Ancienne Belgique music venue, about new sounds, immigration and the return of Turkish psychedelia.

In Brussels? Come and see Katy at this great event at the Ancienne Belgique on May 7!

And finally, apologies for moaning in this episode about how we’re definitely not going to win the Spinelli Prize – WE WENT AND WON IT DIDN’T WE?!?! Apparently our pessimism did the trick. We are thrilled. Thank you all for listening and supporting this podcast that we love making!

Lyra

This week a brilliant young journalist was shot dead in Northern Ireland, on the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday peace agreement. The senseless death of Lyra McKee is a reminder of a conflict that most in the country have put behind them. Her friend, the writer Susan McKay, is here with a very moving tribute to a remarkable person.

Also this week: a rebellion in London, rising from the ashes in Paris, and the magnificent species that is the European honey bee.

Disinformation Wars

No, European governments are not handing out ‘brothel vouchers’ to immigrants; and no, the EU is not trying to ban bendy cucumbers. Euro-myths are as old as the union itself, but with elections just around the corner, setting the record straight feels more important than ever. This week’s guest is on the frontlines of the fight against disinformation: Jules Darmanin, the coordinator of a new continent-wide band of fact-checkers.

Plus: Julian Assange, Swiss democracy, and the world’s greatest neighbours.
You can find the Fact Check EU website here in 11 beautiful languages.

That nice article about our former guest Flavia Kleiner that Dominic was talking about is here, and the Swiss podcast episode that Katy was raving about is available here.

Nice One, Slovakia

This week, a little glimmer of hope from central Europe in the form of a new Slovakian president who refuses to fight dirty. And a little glimmer of the future in the form of our guest, bionic woman and tech journalist Mimi Billing, one of a growing number of Swedes to have got themselves… microchipped? Plus: Russian whale jails, a decades-old French mystery, and germs at the opera.

Follow Mimi on Twitter here and read her great article about Swedish body-hacking here!

And for more on Slovakia’s badass president-elect Zuzana Čaputová, there’s no better place to start than the latest episode of the In Between Europe podcast hosted by our former guest Zselyke Csaky, which you can check out here.

A massive thanks to our growing army of Patreon supporters for keeping the show going. You can chip in at patreon.com/europeanspodcast.