Podcast Brunch Club

EUROPE TODAY: January 2024 podcast playlist

Europe Today podcast playlist for Podcast Brunch Club. Show art for all podcast episodes included.

Europe is a continent we often refer to as a whole, one thing. Perhaps this is thanks to its various institutions – shared laws in the European Union, a shared currency in the Eurozone, and easy travel in the Schengen Area. But what holds these countries together that differ so greatly in language and cuisine, traditions and political beliefs? From Portugal to Albania, Finland to Macedonia, we were curious to look at how Europeans are speaking about themselves today. For a continent so often caught up in its own history, how is it transforming in the midst of an evolving world and what ties to the past still hold? As a PBC Chapter based in Europe – a mix of people born here and those who weren’t – we often find it funny how those outside Europe talk about these places and the assumptions that come along with the stories they hear. So we wanted to share a few stories beneath the surface of a whirlwind Eurotrip, including a few that might surprise you.

This playlist was curated by chapter leader Sam Baker & the rest of the Cologne/Bonn Podcast Brunch Club. Aside from leading this chapter, Sam is a freelance audio journalist working on the BBC’s CrowdScience and most recently, Deutsche Welle’s new show Don’t Drink the Milk. She’s also a podcast trainer for DW Akademie and a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Podcast Playlist on EUROPE TODAY

Get the full playlist on your podcast player of choice using these platforms:

This Month’s Podcast Playlist Running List of PBC Podcast Playlists
Listen Notes | Podchaser | Spotify Listen Notes | PodchaserSpotify

Rough Translation: “Stuck@Work: Your Country’s Brand Is Escape, But You Can’t” (June 2022, 41 min)
When Portugal forbade bosses from contacting employees after hours, international media jumped at the chance to cover the new law. Portuguese workers were oddly quiet. Why?
Passport: “Helsinki: Doomsday Bunkers and the Finnish Sense of Humor” (June 2020, 41 min)
Why did the happiest nation on Earth build the most luxurious doomsday bunker in existence… right below their capital city?
Don’t Drink the Milk: “Passports: Freedom for sale” (October 2023, 39 min)
The little booklets we use to cross borders and take a vacation abroad didn’t always exist. So where did they come from? Stories of privilege, control and belonging are hidden in the watermarked pages of our passports. Our travels take us to a little country with a complicated past, where we find some unexpected pieces of the puzzle – from citizenship to micronations to cold hard cash.
The Europeans: “Sara” (November 2021, 26 min)
This week, a story that spans three generations of women: Sara, her mother, and her grandmother. In their collective lifetimes, Albania entered a communist dictatorship; the regime fell; and then there was a transition. And through it all, there was a dish: trahana. This is the third episode from our series This Is What A Generation Sounds Like: intimate stories from young Europeans across the continent.
Gateway: Cocaine, Murder, & Dirty Money in Europe: “Ep 1. The Man For Whom the Underworld Shivers | Ridouan Taghi” (June 2023, 21 min)
After the killing of a billionaire kingpin, one man rises to the top of a new generation of ruthless drug lords running Europe’s cocaine empire. His name is Ridouan Taghi. Taghi’s rise, and his incredible fall, shows the power of cocaine to generate staggering wealth, and shocking violence.
Bonus podcast episodes:

  • How to F#$k up an airport: “Without A Plan” (February 2018, 41 min)
    BER is the international airport code for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, nickname Willy Brandt. It has also become a signifier of failure, incompetence, corruption and Berlin’s general inability to get its act together. If you’ve flown to Berlin Schönefeld Airport in the last few years, you’ll have seen BER as your plane taxied along the runway. But despite outward appearances, BER is far from finished. It has been under construction for 11 years, blown through six opening dates, three general managers and two state leaders. Costs have ballooned from around €1 billion to at least €5.4 billion. Across this series, you’ll learn why the escalators are too short, why the lights are always on, and why the rooms seemed to be numbered by bingo. We’ll interview insiders and disgruntled workers, chase ghost trains running to the terminal, and go inside the unfinished airport. On this episode we’ll go way back to before any plans had been drawn, before even the Berlin wall had come down, to discover the foundational flaws that continue to haunt the unfinished airport.
  • The Comb: “Bringing back God” (February 2022, 25 min)
    ‘The fire has gone out’: African evangelists are working to revitalise Christianity in Europe, a continent that is increasingly turning away from religion. Harvey Kwiyani grew up in Malawi, where church was central to daily life. It was only after he left for Switzerland that he realised how different the religious landscape was in Europe. He’s part of a new generation of African missionaries trying to bring God back to Europe.
  • Corinna and The King: “Ep 1: La Casita – Juan Carlos I and the Hunting Party” (November 2022, 35 min)
    It’s February 2004, and 39-year-old businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein attends an aristocratic hunting party in the Spanish countryside. The host? Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain. An expert in guns, Corinna catches the king’s attention, and he later invites her for lunch at the Madrid hunting lodge Corinna would come to call their casita. The king makes his intentions clear — he might be married, but he wants to be more than friends. Soon after, hundreds of hand-written letters and bouquets of flowers arrive at Corinna’s door. But as her romance with Juan Carlos intensifies, she discovers a darker side to the palace, hidden from the public.
  • The Another Europe Podcast: “95: The Polish Spring” (October 2023, 37 min)
    Poland has dumped its far right government in a historic election victory for pro-democratic forces. After years of authoritarianism and anti-migrant racism, the Law and Justice party have been defeated by a coalition of pro-democratic parties. In this podcast, Zoe Williams and Luke Cooper talk to Polish activist Ana Oppenheim about the historic triumph of liberals, pro-democrats and the left. A member of the Another Europe National Committee, co-host of the Polish news and history podcast Polkast and an activist with the left-wing party Razem (personal capacity), Ana offers her thoughts on the election, and what it means for European politics and Ukraine’s resistance to Russian imperialism.
  • Tales from the Border: “Ocean Viking – Saved by the ‘big boat’ (Episode 2)” (November 2021, 35 min)
    Climb on board the private rescue ship Ocean Viking for Tales from the Border’s second episode. Listen to the relief as the ‘Big Boat’ arrives to rescue a group of migrants adrift in the Mediterranean. Imagine the hellish fire from the oil rigs at night as migrants drift towards them, believing they have reached land. Hear tales of suffering and sexual violence as rescued migrants visit the nurses on board the Ocean Viking and reveal what they have experienced. And share in the joy as a stand-off ends and the time finally comes to disembark.
  • Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World: “How Has War Affected Ukraine’s Demographics?” (November 2023, 39 min)
    Ukraine, and Eastern Europe more generally, have long had a demographic problem. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and independence across the region, labour migration and other trends have seen millions of working age people migrate to the West or to Russia in search of work. Combined with the demographic catastrophe brought on by the war since 2014 and the full scale invasion, the number of young people in Ukraine can make for a bleak demographic picture. In this episode, we analyse the reasons why this demographic shift in Ukraine has happened over decades, as well as looking forward to Ukrainian reconstruction following the war, to see what programmes and processes the Ukrainian government can put in to improve the situation. And to help us do this, this week we invited Maria Piechowska onto Power Lines. Maria is cultural anthropologist from Poland who works on political and societal analyses that focus on the relationship between Poland and Ukraine. She currently works for the Polish institute for International Affairs, a think tank who work in public analysis on the international issues and processes that affect the Polish position in the world.

Conversation Starter Questions:

  1. What stories surprised you about modern day Europe? What assumptions did this disrupt for you?
  2. From your vantage point, what’s Europe’s place in the world today? How has it changed in recent decades?
  3. From this group of podcasts, do you feel like Europe is a cohesive whole or a compilation of very different countries and cultures? Is there a ‘European’ identity or story?

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