In June 2012 the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna hosted the first of a series of seminars on the missing sense of togetherness and belonging in Europe, named the Vienna Conversations. As a think tank specialising in bringing together intellectuals, politicians, academics and civil society activists for confidential discussions on difficult social and political problems, focusing particularly on the European arena, this seemed like an obvious matter for the Kreisky Forum to take up.
Over three years the Vienna Conversations covered the issue from many angles in lively, informed, challenging, collegiate, as well as sometimes contentious debates. There was much we agreed upon, but significant differences also surfaced. When the discussions seemed to reach some kind of natural end in early 2015, without coming to any specific conclusions, and thoughts turned to what we might do to produce something that would be a permanent reflection of what turned out to be the key themes, the proposal of a book of original, personal essays on belonging in Europe found favour with everyone. And: here it is!