National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe (NISE)

NISE is an international platform for research and heritage on national movements in Europe. It brings together researchers and research and cultural heritage institutions that are working on the study of nationalism in Europe from the eighteenth century to today. Our mission is to facilitate and stimulate exchange and collaborations across countries, disciplines and the scientific and cultural heritage sector. Learn more about NISE here

Conference 2024: Nationalism and Tourism

Tourism as a social and cultural phenomenon since the nineteenth century has not only been a recreational practice or the opportunity to see unseen places, but also a tool for the realization of political interests. The 2024 conference, held on 15-16 May in Vilnius, will further explore the intricate relationship between tourism, leisure and nationalism.

Call for Papers

Tourism as a social and cultural phenomenon since the nineteenth century has not only been a recreational practice or the opportunity to see unseen places, but also a tool for the realization of political interests.

Due to industrialization and the development of railroad networks in Europe in the nineteenth century, travel became faster and more frequent. Travel became cheaper and more comfortable and allowed a much larger segment of the population to participate in leisure activities.

Between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, European tourism grew into a key component of private leisure, without which many people could not imagine their daily lives. Tourism allowed people to enjoy their free time whilst simultaneously improving their acquaintance with their hometown, their surrounding country, their homeland, and places they only knew about from stories and books. Travel became an activity that encouraged further education and recreation. Moreover, getting to know the unknown made it possible to appreciate everyday details better and the value of each day. Spending the “right” amount of time on a short or long trip gave a possibility to better appreciate everyday rituals and could inspire visits to exotic lands. The “foreign gaze” made local populations experience their homeland as it must look to visiting tourists.

In addition, tourism in the last two centuries made it necessary to find the best way to create self-representations for countries, which could show their national exclusivity and importance; and it nationalized rusticity and local colour. Tourism stimulated national self-positioning both externally and domestically, encouraging and constantly offering to get to know one’s own country first and to spend holidays in it.

After the First World War, a new branch of tourism began to flourish: in countries which had lost their territories after the war, tours to lost places and borderlands became a special form of “heritage tourism”. The development of mass tourism since the mid-20th century (following the expansion of automobile and air travel) shows suggestive similarities as well as differences between totalitarian and open societies. Beginning in the 1970s, several waves of domestic/local tourism occurred in Eastern Europe, with a peak after the 1990s. And more recently a growing resistance against burdensome “hypertourism” has gathered impetus in cities from Tallinn to Barcelona.

Tourism remains a practice that can be used for the representation of a city, country, or a place from a desired political perspective.

Topics that could be addressed at the conference:

  • Tourism as a factor in the construction of the concept of national identity.
  • Tourism as a phenomenon of private leisure.
  • Tourism architecture. Creation of the resort lifestyle.
  • Tourism and politics. What and why to see?
  • Tourism in times of change (e.g. war).


The programme of the conference will soon be published. Stay tuned!


The organizers of the conference strive to cover the costs of the speakers that will present at the conference.


The conference is organized by NISE, the German Historical Institute and the Lithuanian Institute of History, with the support of ADVN.


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To see previous posts, check the archives below:


NISE strives to publish a number of different series which are focused on the study of national movements from a comparative and transnational perspective. To know more about the different series and projects, click the different links below.



SPIN’s flagship project is the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe (ERNiE) It is available in book form and online as a freely available open-access web resource.
The web resource can be freely consulted at and at The ERNiE database is managed by Stefan Poland, who also designed many of its online network visualizations.
The 2-volume, 1500-page book, published by Amsterdam University Press, is available from regular booksellers.

ERNiE contains analytical articles on themes and persons, as well as historical documentation (Letters, Writings, Images, Music etc.), tracing and visualizing the transnational rise of national culture-building in 19th-century Europe.These articles and materials cover manifestations of Romantic Nationalism in Europe during the long 19th century.

While European in focus, ERNiE’s coverage is as comprehensive as possible and firmly transnational: what ERNiE hopes to make visible is not only the great mass, social penetration and mobilizing agency of individual cultural actions, gestures and developments within different countries, but also their cross-national (as well as intermedial) connections and interrelations. ERNiE wishes to draw attention to culture not only as the intellectual and artistic ambitience which made nationalism, as an ideology, thinkable and attractive, but above all as the communicative medium which rendered a transnational diffusion of nationalism possible.

A brochure (from 2015) can be viewed/downloaded here.

An online user’s manual can be found here.