• 27. 3. 2024
  • Eder Baltziskueta Flórez, OH Bilbao volunteer & OH Brno guest volunteer

Open House Written Histories: A project that opens up new horizons

Open House Written Histories: A project that opens up new horizons

“Open House Brno isn’t just about architecture; the festival is mainly about People!” these were the words posted on Instagram by Open House (OH) Brno in 2023. My name is Eder, and I collaborate as a volunteer with OH Bilbao. I was granted the OH Europe internship to be part of the OH Brno festival in 2023.

To be honest, I didn’t even know where Brno was. I had never heard about it. So, driven by a thirst for knowledge, my heart led me to Brno. I was excited to be part of a volunteer group in a city that would surely surprise me. With no expectations, I arrived in Brno on May 12th, 2023. Over the long weekend of May 13-14th, I had such a wonderful experience, enjoying the festival and the architecture. Thanks to the OH Europe internship program, I was able to chat, learn, and exchange experiences with the OH Brno team, the citizens of Brno, other exchange volunteers, and even people from all over the world living there whom I met during my volunteer activities. 

I began to learn about the economy and culture of the city. To me, understanding a building or the architecture of a city is impossible without delving into its history and legends, from prehistoric times to the present day. I gathered that weekend a wealth of new information about Brno. So, on Monday, May 15th, after the OH Brno festival ended, I strolled through the downtown area, walking in the sights and trying to absorb all the information I had acquired, while observing the everyday lives of the people of Brno. Suddenly, a statue resembling a Harri-jasotzaile in my country (an ancient rural sport in the Basque Country) caught my attention.

Brno’s Harri-jasotzaile.
In front of the statue (Moravian square), I stumbled upon another social event, this time related to health and first aid. I discovered that May 15th is National Paramedics Day in the Czech Republic. Given that I work as a “paramedic” teacher in my country, this finding was another pleasant surprise, that Brno offered during my visit. I examined the equipment on display and spoke with the paramedics. Thanks to this internship, I had the opportunity to interact with locals, particularly those connected with my field of work.

Paramedics at Moravské náměstí (Moravian square)

Thanks to all these events, the OH Europe project opened up new horizons for me. Last month (2024), I returned to Brno, this time with another project: to attend the first Paramedics Teachers Conference at Masaryk University. During this meeting, I had the chance to visit some of the buildings offered by OH Brno this year, which I highly recommend:

-    Anatomical Museum
-    SIMU, a realistic hospital environment for teaching.

After several work days at Masaryk University, upon returning to Brno, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to reconnect with the volunteers I had spent an intensive and exciting weekend with. Some of them I still keep in touch with. Without much planning, I was invited to the pre-festival VIP commented tours for volunteers in 2024 to visit Vila Engelsmann. I also had the chance to visit the commented tour of the exhibition in the O1 building of St. Anne's University Hospital, which covered two topics: Visual stories from the OH Europe festival in 2023 and the Exhibition of the main theme (“Inclusion and Accessibility”) of the OH Brno festival in 2024. The exhibition can be viewed until May 19th, 2024 

What can I say about Brno? I felt so at home; it reminded me of Bilbao, a welcoming city that surprises me every time. Wherever I went, I found smiles and kindness. To me, it is a city rich in architecture and history. Looking at the OH Brno homepage, I can say that I still have lots of buildings and histories to learn from Brno

What is Open House Europe? It is a project that brings together open-minded people with different visions and professions but a common interest in architecture. As the OH Europe partners wrote: “Open House Europe prompts people to imagine, shape, and build a future together!”

So, to the sentence written by OH Brno in 2023: “Open House Brno isn´t just about architecture; the festival is mainly about People!” I would add: KNOWLEDGE AND CULTURES.

A project opens up new horizons

With this writing, I want to express my gratitude to OH Bilbao & OH Brno for allowing me to be part of the OH Europe.

I carry a piece of you in my heart.

Děkujeme vám za sdílení vaší kultury (Thank you for sharing your culture).
Eskerrik asko (moc děkuji).


Photos: Eder Baltziskueta Flórez

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