If there was a european railway network, how would you call it?
Make Europe a dream again!
Let´s build a european WELTWUNDER
Let´s turn BORDERS into CONNECTIONS
Let Europe have a new MARSHALL plan
the time of motorized individual traffic is over
Viva la republica federal de Europa!
Mobilität ist ein Menschenrecht.
The european Passport is your annual ticket.
Your annual ticket is your passport.
Europe is a city.
Let’s travel through Europe – by train!
you can actually donate now to metropa
–> gain attention
–> build a network – create a movement
–> reach out, influence and advise decision makers
–> enable a comprehensive european railway network
–> enable a borderless Europe
the metropa night train map
2023 starts with a brand new experience for us. We created our first map applied to a real network: the great European network of night trains.
It wasn't easy (in fact, it is impossible) to find all the data needed. Still, there's no reliable and up to date platform that knows about all the trains and lines.
Nevertheless, after lots of talks, hours of research and design work we finally made it. And what we got is so different from what we expected and what we knew from metropa. Utopia is so different from real things. It is beautiful and disturbingly chaotic at the same time. Over 90 lines rolling through the european nights from here to there, hundreds of cities of all size connected (not all of them are on the map), transporting thousands of people each day already. Night trains, so it seems, are an important element of our future mobility, if not the backbone of it. Because the trains are already here.
And there are some things that we learned when working on the map, and we want to address them to those in charge in order to speed up things:
• The network must be simplified and coordinated with one another
• It needs a reliable and uniform search and booking system that includes all information in real time
• the blind spots and gaps have to be filled
• prices must lowered
• the supply must be massively expanded
metropa is an art and peace project that shows Europe as an entity on multiple layers; it anticipates the idea of a pan-European metro network system that interconnects all of its citizens and visitors, regions and metropolitan areas – without the borders within.
metropa presents a european future where all ecological, economical, technical and political questions are answered and transformed into a viable comprehension of what could be, at times, the Federal Republic of Europe.
metropa is the junction of all of these topics: mobility, climate change awareness, European integration and migration. Its clear and simple imagery speaks to the people like a current map of any subway in any possible city in Europe. It makes people believe that it is already true. And the more people see it, the more the pressure grows on the people in charge – the EU, the companies, the heads of governments.
metropa is a vision of Europe as it could be in a few decades – an everyday graphic that shows Europe as a city, as a metropolis: usable by all, extensive and universal. And though we all know that it probably won’t look like this and that it will take some decades or more, metropa is designed as a vision and as a target of our efforts.
mobility is a fundamental human right, and metropa is the vehicle that carries the complex idea of the European unification process out of the meeting rooms of EU bureaucracy into the centre of pan-European society. And mind-travelling becomes the best way to open up the importance of Europe to people.
What Europe needs is a narrative that unites all of us and whose benefits are clear to all. metropa is a glimpse into the everyday life of the future. Bringing this picture home to all Europeans, explaining it, discussing it, will get us the story that is necessary to anchor the European idea in consciousness and the subconscious.
Thus, metropa is a contribution to overcome the current crisis and to make Europe as we all want it: an open, strong continent that preserves its achievements and does not shy away from innovation. A continent in fruitful competition with others – an inspiration and fascination for its visitors – and pride of its inhabitants.
pictures & movies
Here you can find all articles, quotes, speeches and other contributions, in chronological order.
Published 2021 on Nov 3rd in the Berliner Tagesspiegel and Dec 9th in the Standard/Vienna.
"Europe is in a process of change. Another "old time" is drawing to a close - politically, economically, socially. We stand in front of precipices and steep walls. Both can be uplifting. […]"
The impact on the public, especially for the latter, was tremendous. It had lots of reposts on social media and almost 700 comments underneath, among them some main objections:
• European nationalism will prevent metropa to be built
• high speed public transport is not necessary
• technically impossible
• lack of expertise
We really appreciate serious critique. It is important for us to sharpen our arguments and to learn.
But what is more important: The comments prove that the majority embraces the idea and understands that it is nothing else than a suggestion.
Future will definitely look different. Depending on who is going to be its designers.
held @ University St. Gallen, Oct 5th 2021
"…during my studies I've often read about the famous Library of St. Gallen, because the "St. Gallen neumes" have been invented there– a mnemonic milestone. It allowed the monks to write down what they sang – and to repeat what they wrote. It was one of the first attempts of musical recording and marked a step into the Modern Times, though they have not even started with their own Age […]"
--> [full text in German]
held @ TEDxDanubia, Sept 20th 2021
"Good afternoon everybody, and thank you for the introduction and invitation!
As mentioned, I come from Vienna and originally from Bavaria, which is both basically next door to here – but it sometimes it feels as if we were oceans away. As if we lived on different planets, or: different continents.
And this is exactly what I am talking about here: We should start again to talk BECAUSE we are living on the same continent, sitting in the same boat: because we are NEIGHBOURS…"
--> [full text in English]
held @ LAST MINUTE Festival, Rosenheim, , July 31st 2021
"What is metropa?
In order to tell you that, I would first like to go into the history of its origins. I designed METROPA about 11 years ago out of a sudden idea; it simply appealed to me. It was conceived on a trip to Hungary together with a friend who bought a small farmhouse there in the hinterland…
--> [full text english // (full text in German]."
Public transport: growth at all costs? (Der Öffentliche Verkehr: Wachstum um jeden Preis?)
© Prof. Dr. Oliver Schwedes, head of department of Integrative Transport Planning/TU Berlin:
"With automobiles getting at large at the beginning of the 20th century, the course for public transport was set in Europe and the USA at the same time. When the private transport companies competing with the car got into an economic crisis, the political leaders in Europe made a decision to afford publicly financed transport in order to guarantee everybody a minimum level of mobility. In contrast, the motto in the USA was, already back then, that public transport is only good if it asserts itself on the market - ' the market knows best '!" [...]
--> (full text in German)
– an essay –
© Prof. Dr. Jörg Metelmann, University of St.Gallen/CH
"Metropa – the vision of a European superfast train network acts on both the body and soul. It is a joyful experience to look at this map, and it is much more. The imagining of such transit also allows for an energy to deal with the issue in a different way than the Commission in Brussels or the transportation ministries would – in other words, different to that which is technically sound, stuck in the status-quo, and lobby-driven. […]"
news from metropa
After the Innotrans, we were all done and overwhelmed by the load of information, talks and collected business cards. We needed a pause.
But actually, who is "we"?
WE are Justus Schmidt, Paul Treichl, James Marcus Gunn, Benjamin Schemel and me, Stefan Frankenberger. We are the founding members of the newly set up non profit association "metropa – sustainable and borderless mobility in Europe", the new legal basis of the metropa movement. Let's call it like this. See more about that above.
As a follow-up of the fair, we had a lot of talks with several people from the train business, university and also the EU. Results will be announced asap!
And we met Patrick Neumann from the german branch of Back on Track, a europeanwide initiative on pushing and supporting the night train network: Common cause!
As soon as we caught word of the INNOTRANS, the biggest mobility and transportation fair in the world, we were intrigued by the idea of attending – but how? The registration fees are enormous, we have no stand nor experience. But we just liked imagining to be at the same place as all the big players. Not to compete or compare ourselves with them, but to bring into our vision.
To at least give it a try, we set up a crowdfunding campaign and voilà, it worked!
So we bought some wood, gathered lots of ideas and we'll see what happens.
See you at the "Bar metropa", Hall 4.1, Stand 630!
With our new slogan on it, we ordered our first larger-than-life-sized METROPA-banner, which arrived just shortly before its first time to be used in public, perfectly fixed on a selfmade wooden framework that allows us not only to place it anywhere on solid ground, but also to carry it around:
If we knew which impact this small article in the German newspaper WELT had…
"If we want it, we could have a european metro by 2050"
Anyway, here you can download the whole interview, with Prof. Markus Friedrich, Chair of Transport Planning, University of Stuttgart, and the METROPA network map in the back.
After a long period of trying out things and waiting for replies, stunnedly gazing at a war right in the middle of Europe and guessing its consequences, things are in motion again. It took time to reconcentrate and to see what is now important and needed. We're back on track.
Here is another beautiful radio feature, this time on Austrian famous radio station Ö1 who started the series "Reparatur der Zukunft // fixing the future", backed by a worldwide network of initiatives to, yes, fix the future and its major challenges. Here you can see presentations of all the other featured projects. Thanks for having us there!
The war was not the only, but the last trigger needed why we changed the map another time this year: the L6 no longer terminates in Kyiv, but will be extended to Charkiv.
And still trains are going to Moscow (L8, L9) and St. Petersburg (L5). Connections are the main requirement for peace.
And last not least, we also changed our signature slogan.
What formerly was "metropa – the european supermetro network" is now "metropa – the european railway network". No big deal? We think it is. metropa is no longer an utopian idea for the distant future only. It already starts now, with the network that exists, but still isn't visible as a whole. metropa is that network and it could start right now.
It is meant as an offensive challenge aimed at European politics, railway companies, the economy and last not least the people.
Here's a wonderful radio programme (in German) by Hellmuth Nordwig of the Bayrischer Rundfunk about the future of public transport.
I met him at Munich Hauptbahnhof – couldn't be a better choice – during a short stopover on my trip to St. Gallen. We talked a lot about european integration and smart transportation systems, and we agreed that the first can be easily triggered by the latter.
That is exactly what metropa is about.
The Austrian newspaper Der Standard with its famous online-forum published the guest commentary on december 9th, wisely embedded in a series of traffic-related topics and with a tremendous mass of reactions.
My text contribution in the German Berliner Tagesspiegel online edition about the need for a completely new setup of european railway networks.
In the lobby of the TEDxDanubia venue this interview has been made with the Hungarian online news magazine Szeretleg Magyarorszag (in case you're fond of Hungarian – a very beautiful language).
METROPA-keynote N°2 on Sep 20th in Budapest @ TEDxDanubia
A short ride through the vision of a borderless Europe and the necessity of change. You can see the video above/Keynote#02.
first METROPA-keynote, July 31st at the LAST MINUTE Festival, Rosenheim
Talking about the starts of METROPA and some ideas to be deduced from it:
• communization of traffic (and other fields)
• mobility as a human right
• integral ecological empathy
• arts in complex decision making
• Europe's outstanding responsability
The Austrian Traffic/Transportation Association VCÖ has issued a super cool article in its latest magazine edition, where metropa serves as a blueprint of a borderless and well connected Europe – which, sadly, does not exist. Not yet, we say.
Thanks for the article! --> https://www.vcoe.at/news/details/das-rueckgrat-der-klimavertraeglichen-verkehrswende
– Postcards for Brussels –
We sent postcards to 750 members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, all lettered and painted by hundreds of european schoolkids and directly addressed to the deputies. Here are some of them:
Take a look on our social media channels twitter and Instagram where we start a series of posts with some of these postcards!
The European Democracy Lab launched a fantastic podcast series about the future of Europe. We contributed to one, thanks for the invitation!
Listen on Spotify and on Apple
Interview with the Bolzano-based biligual online newspaper SALTO
Reprint in Public Mobility by professor Dr. Oliver Schwedes, expert on Integrated Transport Planning at the TU Berlin.
On swiss TV emission Sternstunde Philosophie Jörg Metelmann introduced METROPA as perfect example (from 44:30, in German).
This is from former Belgian Prime Minister and now MEP Guy Verhofstadt:
"This is utopian, of course, a wider European region as interconnected as a metropolitan city... But if 25 years ago they had told you you’d soon be able to look up every piece of information imaginable on a portable phone the size of a wallet, and talk to your watch if you had a message to instantly send your friend on the other side of the world, you would not have called it utopian... but ridiculous."
Though Mr. Verhofstadt did neither mention source nor authorship even after being asked to, we thank him for his enthousiasm towards our project.
America voted – this is our contribution.
Alike metropa, metromerica stands for the idea of connections instead of boundaries, for the dialogue and exchange among classes, races, mindsets. So let's mindtravel across the map and meet each other in peace and openness!
Reprint in Jörg Metelmann's and Harald Welzer's book "Imagineering – how future is made" ("Imagineering – wie Zukunft gemacht wird", S. Fischer Verlag):
metropa is part of the online exhibition "Net works". Enter here the exhibition rooms.
Together with 200 young people at the Brandenburger Jugendkulturtage in Blossin/Germany we started the "Postcards for Brussels"-campaign (see above).
metropa in the FALTER (Vienna), 23.9.2020 (preview)
"If Europe was a gigantic metropole…"
Since September, metropa posters and postcards are available in every book store, published by Freitag&Berndt/Vienna.
A1 posters: ISBN 978-3-7079-1911-0
A2 posters: ISBN 978-3-7079-1880-9
postcards: ISBN 978-3-7079-1879-3
first public viewing on wall in Landlmühle/Bavaria at the "3 Tage – 4 Filme"-Festival of the Kulturklub Rosenheim, after the first showcase of the background-animation (which you can see also on this website).
An interview for the Visionaries-Videoblog by Leodreams about our vision of metropa:
© by Leodreams:
Article (in German) in the PrivatBahn-Magazin, an international b2b mag for railway transportation and traffic (by Dennis Tesch):
An interview in the FuturZwei-Magazine! With a postcard in every copy!
A short but enthousiastic article in the Irish Times by Derek Scally, right next to D. Trump and K. Cobain.
Great article in the Fairplanet online magazine, written by Frank Odenthal:
An article in the german "good-news"-paper newslichter:
"Just right now, we need bold visions if our world is to get better. When it comes to mobility, the metropa project – a Europe-wide superfast train network – is one of them."
Italian Internazionale KIDS magazine published metropa as a centrefold.
metropa on the "Großformat" in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung:
here is Gerhard Matzig's text in English (abridged).
The Berlin based multilingual online newspaper Berlin89 published this article by Salvatore Trapani:
first online appearance without our knwing:
A reddit-Thread with 1000 comments, 11k views, millions of ideas.
reprint in "What is the Nation?" ("Was ist die Nation?, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, 2019) by Ulrike Guérot.
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[animation made by Brandstaetter Foundation/www.brandstaetter-foundation.com]
“Clean, cross-border mobility is the future, and rail is a key part of it. A strong rail network allows Europe to grow even closer together, while we also protect the climate. Already now, we build the european night train network of the future with the nightjet connections from Vienna. This is how we create the opportunity to travel in a climate-friendly and comfortable way throughout Europe.”
– Leonore Gewessler, federal minister of Austria for environment, energy, transportation, innovation and technology –
There are a lot of visionary solutions concerning the future of transportation. But many of them don't really work out. METROPA uses proven technology and thus interconnects Europa – that's visionary!
– Prof. Markus Friedrich, University of Stuttgart, Chair of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering –
"metropa – a network of hope"
– Gerhard Matzig, Suedeutsche Zeitung, Munich/Germany –
"As already Cato the Elder put it after each of his speeches: „By the way, I think that Europe should be connected.“ That is not entirely true, but if he had said so, the pan-european rail network would have existed for a long time. So let’s make it happen now! For peace and solidarity among european peoples."
– Cornelius Obonya, actor –
"metropa is an exciting and eloquent project in which Baukultur is in demand as an immaterial and infrastructural link."
– Reiner Nagel, CEO of the Bundesstiftung Baukultur, Potsdam/Germany –
"Metropa – the vision of a European superfast train network acts on both the body and soul."
– Jörg Metelmann, cultural scientist at the University of St. Gallen/Switzerland –
"the idea of metropa is stronger than the idleness of those in power – it is a look into the future of Europe, into our future."
– Enzo Vialli, publicist, Milan/Italy –
Add a comment
European unity, peace and prosperity depend on people from different cultures and countries meeting and understanding each other - without harming the climate in doing so. The metropa vision is an inspiring contribution to well-overdue political and societal discourse about sustainable pan-European travel.
It is sad that Europe is considered to end in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki, and is not considered to continue further north.
Had a trip Vienna-Paris-Vienna - 13hours each. Way too long! Lets get together and started, before its too late!
thanks for excluding us,Georgians(future eu members btw)
It's possible to combine proven and established technologies to eliminate current disadvantages of railway systems. One of these disadvantages is that you cannot enter or leave the system between cities. Another disadvantage is waste of time when hundreds of people have to slow down and wait at train stations while only few passengers enter or leave. A third disadvantage is consumption of valuable space in city centers for such procedures. Europe has enough skilled engineers to overcome these disadvantages by applying proven technical solutions.