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Five of Europe's best creative ideas dealing with unemployment (5 images)

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Story by

Katha Kloss

Translation by:

Cafebabel ENG (NS)


Being unemployed is a central theme of European daily life for a large proportion of people. Over 19 million people in the 17 countries which are part of the eurozone are out of work (12.2%, April 2013, according to eurostat). The idea of unemployment has also taken centre stage for the works of various artists, designers and creative types. From a Belgian unemployment festival to government-aid themed furniture in Germany or innovative job applications in Denmark, here's the best of how to make creative measures out of desperate times in Europe

Web documentary, Spain

'Three friends, one destiny, zero euros and a lot of work' is the motto of the boys from Hay que andar, which translates to 'We've got to go'. The internet reality documentary directed by David Correa, 23, Txetxu González, 24, and filmed by Alejo Rodríguez sees nine different Spanish cities being scoured in the search for jobs. For example, some 19, 000 people applied for the 11 full-time positions available as museum guards at the Prado in Madrid (Image: courtesy of ©

Sarcastic job applications, France

'I beg you, please don't hire me!' pleads Julien Prévieux. The Parisian artists is famed for writing 'non-motivation letters' (lettres de non-motivation) in response to job adverts which shamefully ask for what the Germans would call ‘the egg-laying woolly milking sows’. The result is quite amusing; Prévieux himself describes his work as 'counter-productive', as a new strategy towards resistance. He is joined by other bloggers in France such as 'long live unemployment' (vivelechomage) and 'I'm looking for a full-time job' (jechercheuncdi) or the 'bourgeois unemployed' of Paris (le bomeur)  (Image: (cc) Ivana Vasilj/ flickr)

Hartz IV life, Germany

The then unemployed German architect Le Van Bo created a furniture collection called 'DIY quickies for people with little money, patience and time' . Whether its for initiatives such as  Berliner Hocker, Neukölln Desk or SiWo Sofa (Single Wohnung Sofa, aka 'single flat sofa'), this so-called Hartz IV (the German name for government aid) furniture by the thirtysomething Berliner mixes design, initiative and affordable materials. A book has even been released and a concept for a Hartz IV flat, which would be the smallest house in the world. 'Constructing' instead of 'consuming' is the key, says Van Bo (Image: ©

Unemployment festival, Belgium

On 27 and 28 April 2013 the Belgian town of Thionville held the first 'unemployment festival (Festival du chômage) Image:(cc) hidden shine/ Flickr

Reputation, Denmark

'I am too smart to sit here in a window' runs a banner on a shop window, with an empty desk and chair visible to all from the street in Copenhagen. It's actually the stunt of a Danish advertising company called Reputation: 'You can scan a QR-code on the window and watch a presentation of the person sitting behind the glass. Or you can come inside and have a talk. Or why not learn more on their LinkedIn profile?' Desperate times, desperate measures (Image: courtesy of © Reputation official facebook page)

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Translated from Brotlose Kunst: Ohne Arbeit, dann das Vergnügen