Holidays behind the Iron Curtain: The Politics of Scandinavian Tourism to Communist Europe, 1945–1989

Project: Research

Project Details


The purpose of this project is to study Scandinavian tourism to Communist Europe in order to better understand the scope and impact of East-West contacts during the Cold War. The project thus connects research on tourism and Cold War cultural diplomacy. Its aim is to study the interaction between European governments, tourist agencies, and travel organizations that made it possible for millions of westerners to go on holiday in the Eastern bloc. By doing so, the project investigates how and why Communist Europe became a tourist destination for citizens of the West and what impact the experiences of western tourists in Eastern Europe had on their perceptions of the region. The project examines empirically Scandinavian tourism to the Communist camp in general and to Czechoslovakia in particular, between 1945 and 1989. It understands the Cold War as not merely a military, but also a cultural competition. Arts, leisure, and consumption were important elements of the ideological struggle for the hearts and minds. The project thus challenges the prevailing understanding of the Cold War as a time defined by a staunchly enforced division in Europe.
Short titleSemester bakom järnridån
Effective start/end date2015/06/012020/12/31


  • Stiftelsen Bokelunds resestipendiefond

UKÄ subject classification

  • History

Free keywords

  • Tourism
  • History
  • Cold War
  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Public diplomacy
  • Eastern Europe
  • Communism