Peace Tourism



In the growing debate and literature about the contributions of tourism to peace, a particular aspect that has so far been largely ignored is ‘peace tourism’. This involves visits to places, at home and abroad, which are significant because of their association with such notions as peace-making, peaceful conflict resolution, prevention of war, resistance to war, protesting war, nonviolence and reconciliation. These associations can refer to the past as well as present, and to national as well as international contexts. This article identifies and discusses several aspects of peace tourism.

In the first place, a growing number of cities can be regarded, or regard themselves, as cities of peace. A variety of peace cities – which constitute an obvious destination for the peace tourist – will be introduced. Secondly, museums play an important role in the national and global tourism industry. In the second half of the twentieth century, a new type of museum came to the fore – the peace museum. Here also, a great variety can be noted. Visits to peace museums and exhibitions constitute a second aspect of engaging in peace tourism. Another development concerns the (re)discovery of local peace history, and the production of city peace trails. Walking in the steps of great teachers of peace and nonviolence, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Nelson Mandela, provides yet another opportunity for being a peace tourist. The chapter aims to show that an important aspect of ‘peace through tourism’ is peace tourism, a hitherto neglected and unrecognised aspect of tourism. In the conclusion, a number of recommendations (addressed to different partners and groups) will be made in order to promote peace tourism, which should be seen as a vital component of a culture of peace.

Since the 1960s, historians of world peace and related concepts such as pacifism, internationalism, antimilitarism, conscientious objection, disarmament and world government have together forged a new subdivision of history – peace history – that studies, documents and analyses a myriad of actions and campaigns, of individuals and organisations that have significantly contributed to the promotion of these related and interdependent causes (van den Dungen and Wittner 2003; van den Dungen 2013). The legacy of peace efforts of the past is not only documented in these new approaches to history and in publications, but frequently also made visible in buildings, memorials, parks and other features of the cultural landscape.

The evidence of war is visible in both the natural and cultural landscapes – e.g., in the form of battlefields, and war memorials and museums, respectively – but the material evidence of anti-war and peace is far less known and far less visible. Whilst battlefield tourism has a long history, and is more popular than ever – admittedly, in some countries more than in others – the very notion of peace tourism is hardly known. In the U.S., the National Park Service identifies about thirty different topics regarding historic sites and landmarks that it administers. Among these topics are listed battlefield & military; civil war; revolutionary war. No mention is made of peace; the closest topic listed is human rights. Yet there are many peace-making sites in U.S. history; their formal recognition would enhance the visibility of peace and would help to teach about peace-making as well as to stimulate peace tourism (Strikland 1994).

War tourism, which has become an increasingly important part of the global tourism industry, will be stimulated further in the coming years because of the centenary of the First World War. For instance, an award-winning UK tour operator is organising, in 2013–2014, a series of commemorative tours through the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium and has published an attractive 16-page brochure with details: ‘Journey back to the Battlefields of World War One’ (Great Rail Journeys 2013). Anniversaries of the Second World War will not be forgotten either. To mention one example: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering a 7-night D-Day 70th Anniversary Voyage in June 2014 to commemorate the allied landings on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944. In both cases, participants will mainly visit battlefields, war memorials, and war museums.

Even without such commemorative anniversaries, however, ‘war tourists’ are never short of destinations. In the UK, they have a sizeable library of guidebooks available to plan their journeys; the proliferation of this literature suggests the growing popularity of this kind of tourism. Such outings are often presented as a great day out for all the family with ‘special events and hands-on experiences for children and adults alike’, to quote from Mark Adkin’s ‘The Daily Telegraph Guide to Britain’s Military Heritage’ (Adkin 2006), which describes 350 notable places. More than twice that number – including 250 museums, 100 battlefields, and 400 fortifications, castles, bastions and airfields – are identified in Martin Marix Evans’s ‘The Military Heritage of Britain and Ireland’ (Evans 2004). Specialised guides are also available, such as the one devoted to 140 regimental museums (Sibun 2007). Also in many other countries, battlefield, military, and war tourism are well developed. For instance, the National Geographical Institute in Belgium has issued a military tourism map of the country (Military Tourism 2000).

Although there are undoubtedly points of convergence, at times war tourism and peace tourism may have little in common, and appeal to largely different publics. The typical battlefield or war museum enthusiast is perhaps unlikely to show great interest in visiting, for instance, the United Nations in New York or Geneva, or the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Peace Cities

If Hiroshima can be called a battlefield, it is one of a new and unprecedented kind. Visitors to the city, with its large peace museum and park with numerous memorials, are more likely to be peace tourists rather than war tourists. Among them will be peace activists and educators, involved in campaigns and education concerning the abolition of nuclear weapons, and who visit the city as pilgrims. A visit to Hiroshima can be a life-changing experience, as is well documented. Hiroshima has long promoted itself as a city of peace and is, indeed, the world’s foremost example of such a city, which attracts a considerable number of visitors from home and abroad (Kosakai 2002). Hiroshima is also the birthplace of important campaigning organisations, notably Mayors for Peace, which strives for the abolition of nuclear weapons and has 5,700 member cities in more than 150 countries.

In 1955, Hiroshima and Nagasaki opened a peace museum and peace park (‘Hiroshima Peace Park Guide’ 2005). In the following years many renovations, extensions, and additions have made both cities a veritable place of pilgrimage for peace people. Of the approximately 1 million annual visitors to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, not more than 10% are from overseas. The global task that the city, and Mayors for Peace, have set themselves would be greatly facilitated if sister museums were to be established around the world, starting in the capital or main cities of the states with nuclear weapons. This would ensure that the powerful and vital message of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, of the ‘hibakusha’, and of the city will be heard where it matters most.

Thirty years before the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Flemish city of Ypres in Belgium was totally destroyed in three long and costly battles (1914, 1915, 1917) during the First World War, making the battlegrounds around the city among the most notorious in the world. New weapons such as gas, land mines and flame throwers made these battles even more horrific and resulted in half a million dead and 1.2 million wounded. Many of the dead were British and Commonwealth soldiers who are buried in the numerous cemeteries in and around Ypres, making the city and surrounding region very popular with war and peace tourists from around the world. With the opening of the In Flanders Fields museum – ‘a war museum for peace’ – in 1998, the city declared itself a peace city, and likewise the whole region was officially declared a region of peace. The city and region are among the world’s most important destinations for war and peace tourism, which in the coming years of the centenary of the First World War will attract even more visitors than usual.

Cities, which have suffered greatly in war and subsequently resolved to dedicate themselves to its prevention, are only one type of ‘peace city’ (van den Dungen 2009a, 2010b). Another type, to be found especially in Europe, is a city which hosted negotiations that ended a war and where a peace treaty, usually named after the city, was signed. The tercentenary of the Peace of Utrecht (1713) has been celebrated throughout the year 2013, with an extensive programme of events – not only for the specialist but also for a wider audience, of young and old, from home and abroad. Such a celebration aims to draw lessons and promote peace today, and also attract visitors and tourists and thus contribute to the local economy.  An impressive and earlier example of a wide-ranging programme to celebrate the anniversary of the restoration of peace following a devastating war concerns the 350th anniversary, in 1998, of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) (350 Jahre 1998). The protracted peace negotiations (1643–1648) took place in the German cities of Osnabrück and Münster which, ever since, have been known as peace cities. Both contain important legacies today which remind the visitor of the historic peace-making that took place there and which has been commemorated through certain customs and traditions that continue to pay grateful tribute to the ending of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648).

A more recent example concerns Dayton, Ohio where negotiations for ending the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina were successfully concluded in 1995 through the Dayton Peace Accords. Within a decade, and thanks to private initiative, the Dayton International Peace Museum opened its doors. Shortly afterwards, the Museum instituted a Dayton Peace Award, and this was followed by the creation of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize by a coalition of authors, librarians, and media representatives. The latter prize – the only one of its kind – has grown to be an important annual event in the social and cultural calendar of the city. The museum not only exhibits artefacts but also is actively involved in a variety of peace education and outreach projects, with strong links to the local community. Its dynamic approach has made the museum the main vehicle for promoting a culture of peace in the city. A more recent initiative in Dayton is the establishment of The International Cities of Peace organisation, dedicated to promoting and connecting the global cities of peace movement.

With the growth of international organisation(s) since the middle of the 19th century, and especially since the foundation of the League of Nations and then the United Nations in the first half of the 20th century, cities such as The Hague, Geneva and New York have become important for peace tourism. The Hague officially describes itself as an ‘international city of peace and justice’ and various publications and tourist guides have been issued by the city in recent years to highlight this aspect (Bouhalhoul 2007; Kids Tour 2008; Eyffinger 2003). The two Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 (and projected third conference in 1915) are the modern foundations for the development of the city as a global centre of peace and justice. The main achievement of the 1899 conference was the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which included at its heart the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the oldest instrument for peaceful conflict resolution by states in the modern world. In order to give the Court a home worthy of its mission, the Scottish-American steel tycoon and staunch opponent of war, Andrew Carnegie, provided the funds for the building of the Peace Palace. It has become the city’s calling card. Anticipating its centenary in 2013, an attractive Visitor Centre was opened in 2012 just inside the gates of the Palace. This will enable the many passengers on the tourist coaches, stopping every day in front of it, to do more than just take a photograph of Carnegie’s striking ‘Temple of Peace’.

In recent years, citizens of The Hague (and through them also the municipality) have re-discovered Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian baroness and author of the bestseller, ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ (‘Die Waffen Nieder!’ 1889), who was an important lobbyist at both conferences. Earlier, she had inspired Alfred Nobel to support the peace movement by his creation of the peace prize. She was the first woman to receive it in 1905. In 2013 she became the first woman with a statue in the Peace Palace; at the same time, another statue of her was unveiled in the large atrium of the city hall. The previous year, on International Women’s Day (8th March 2012), a building near the Peace Palace – which houses many international and peace NGOs – was named after her. On the same day six years earlier, a large office building of the European Union in Brussels had likewise been named after her. It is disappointing that Vienna, the city where she lived and died, and from where she conducted an indefatigable campaign to prevent the First World War, hardly remembers her (van den Dungen 2010a, Jalka 2011). A future International Peace Tourism Bureau would be able to offer her growing number of admirers throughout the world an attractive and instructive journey – ‘Following in the footsteps of Bertha von Suttner’ – which would cover cities in many countries in Europe as well as the U.S.

Something similar has already been available for a long time for devotees of her friend and contemporary, Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross, and first co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. Geneva is the birth- place of Dunant and of the worldwide humanitarian movement he founded. There is unlikely to be another city anywhere in the world which has so many memorials to a famous son or daughter as has Geneva, for Dunant. His biog- raphy and the history of the Red Cross can be learnt by walking the streets of the city – with the added bonus of seeing the very locations intimately con- nected with both. This is in no small measure due to the efforts of the private Henry Dunant Association (Société Henry Dunant). Established in the 1970s, through its many publications, exhibitions, conferences, research projects and study tours, the Association has considerably contributed to our knowledge and understanding of the origins of the movement and the many traces it has left in Geneva (Durand 1991). At the same time, the city and canton of Geneva have cooperated in making this important story visible through memorial plaques and statues which are scattered all over the city. One of the many publications of the Association is ‘Those Places Where Henry Dunant …’ (Durand and Roueche 1986) which identifies and illustrates some 25 sites of historical interest in Geneva.

The centenary of Dunant’s Nobel Peace Prize, in 2001, was celebrated in Geneva by an extensive programme of events, some academic, others of a pop- ular nature, including concerts, conferences, exhibitions, and also an ‘Itinerary for Peace’ to places and buildings associated not only with Dunant and the Red Cross, but also with the work for peace in the city during the past 200 years (‘Itinéraire de la Paix 2001’). This handy guide, which identified and briefly described 43 sites of interest, was expanded the following year into a fully illustrated bi-lingual book, ‘Itinerary for Peace in the Streets of Geneva’ (Durand, Dunant and Guggisberg 2002). The celebrations in 2001 and 2002 were coordinated by an organisation, ‘Geneva: a place for peace’, that had been created specifically for the purpose, and which comprised several partners. Large colourful banners were placed in front of each of the 43 significant sites of peace and remained there throughout the year. The first Geneva conference was held in 1863, and the first Geneva Convention was signed the following year. The 150th anniversaries of these foundational events in 2013 and 2014 provide further opportunities for commemorative events as well as reflections on the challenges facing the Red Cross movement today.

With the establishment in Geneva of the League of Nations, created in the aftermath of the First World War, the city’s pre-eminent position in international peace-making was assured. Also, several international organisations associated with the League, such as the International Labour Office, and the High Commissioner for Refugees, established their secretariats in the same city, thus reinforcing its pivotal role in international cooperation. After the Second World War, when the League’s successor, the United Nations, was headquartered in New York, the Palais des Nations (which had been constructed for the League) became the European office of the United Nations.

Many agencies associated with the UN have their seats in Geneva. For both diplomats and students of international relations and international organisations, the city remains a place of prime importance. The concepts of neutrality and impartiality, which are key principles of the Red Cross, have also been characteristic features of Switzerland’s foreign policy, helping to explain the many peace conferences which the city and country have hosted over the years. Much of this is documented and displayed, notably in the museum on the history of the League of Nations in the library of the UN in Geneva. The library houses the extensive and important archives of the League of Nations. They include, for instance, one of the most important collections on the history of the peace movement, the Fried-Suttner papers. Every year, some 100,000 visitors tour the Palais des Nations. In New York, the United Nations Visitors Centre welcomes more than ten times that number every year.

Multi-language tours of the UN building complex started soon after its opening in the early 1950s. Since then, more than 38 million visitors have toured the building. As Kofi Annan wrote, in addition, “countless thousands have called it their workplace. All of them have their own memories and im- pressions … they recall the UN building as a source of inspiration … a place that is home to the world” (Annan 2005, 7). The UN building is a beacon of hope, the visible symbol of the belief in a world connected and incessantly striving for peace. Visiting the UN building can have a lasting impact, and confront the visitor with the complex and challenging situation facing the world organisation. Although primarily a place of work, for the visitor the UN headquarters building can assume the functions of a peace museum (Apsel 2008).

Like Hiroshima, Geneva is a Mecca for peace tourists – but these two cities have a very different history. Another city, different again, but also with a special significance for peace is Oslo. Here, every year on 10 December (the day when Alfred Nobel died) the Peace Prize that he established is awarded during a day of celebration. There is no higher accolade in the world today than the Nobel Peace Prize. The annual festivities on and around 10 December make ‘peace’ and what it takes to be a ‘champion of peace’ (the expression that Nobel used in his last will and testament) newsworthy. Together with the announcement the previous October of the year’s winner, these are rare occasions when the media focus, for once, not on war and violent conflict but on peace and the merits or otherwise of the laureate. The nomination of brave, controversial or unusual candidates, especially when put forward by prominent individuals, can also make the headlines.

Tourists who visit the Norwegian capital are likely to see the elegant building of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, with a bust of Nobel in front of it. There is also the possibility of stepping into the room where the secretive Nobel Committee has been meeting since 1905, and whose walls are lined with the official portraits of the laureates. Students and scholars make use of the excel- lent library of the Institute, established to assist in the evaluation process of the merits of the candidates and their work.

During the last twenty years or so, the Institute has organised conferences and regular seminars, developed research programmes, and offered fellowships to visiting scholars – making this both a very appropriate and desirable location for research and debate on contemporary war and peace issues. Dur- ing the same period, the Institute has organised a spring tour every year for its staff and visiting fellows – taking them one year, for instance, to Sweden ‘in the footsteps of Alfred Nobel’, or another year to Austria ‘in the footsteps of Bertha von Suttner’ – great examples of peace tourism. The growing worldwide interest in the Nobel Peace Prize also frequently brings journalists and media people from around the world to the Institute in Oslo.

In 2005, as part of the centenary celebrations of Norway’s independence from Sweden, the Nobel Peace Center was opened in a historic location in the heart of the city. The chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed the hope that “the Center will be an important forum for all types of activities relating to the peace effort. We also hope that the Nobel Peace Center will rapidly become one of Oslo’s leading tourist attractions” (Mjos 2005, 3). Five years later, in 2010, the Center welcomed a record number of 200,000 visitors. In the same year, nearly 850 school groups participated in educational activities or guided tours organised by the Center. Amongst its most popular at- tractions are the temporary exhibitions, including one every year on the new laureate (Nobel Foundation 2010, 55).

Gandhi, M. L. King, Mandela

The combined biographies of the Nobel peace laureates (including organisa- tions), stretching back more than one hundred years, provide an excellent overview of the modern history of peace-making and conflict resolution. Many of the laureates are inspiring figures whose often heroic lives, fully dedicated to the struggle for peace, continue to enlighten and encourage later generations. It is therefore no surprise that several museums and centres exist around the world devoted to individual peace laureates – such as Jane Addams, Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King Jr., and Woodrow Wilson in the U.S.; Nelson Mandela in South Africa; U Thant in Myanmar/Burma; and Albert Schweitzer in France and Germany. It is ironic that the peace person who has by far the most museums and centres devoted to him, Gandhi, is not a Nobel peace laureate. Many of these museums and centres are in India, where they attract biographers, scholars, activists, and Gandhians who follow in his footsteps by undertaking a Gandhi peace trail.

Gandhi’s most famous and productive follower, Martin Luther King Jr., did just that. Greatly inspired from the earliest days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) by the Mahatma’s technique of nonviolent social change, and its subsequent success, King contemplated travelling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. Three years later, following an invitation from the Indian government, King made a celebrated month-long tour of India, together with his wife and Lawrence Reddick, his friend and early biographer. Upon his arrival in New Delhi, he famously said to reporters, “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim” (King 1970, 188). Afterwards he wrote: “The trip had a great impact upon me personally … I left India more convinced than ever before that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom … As a result of my visit to India, my understanding of nonviolence became greater and my commitment deeper.” These are the concluding words of the chapter entitled ‘Pilgrimage to Nonviolence’ in his autobiography (King 2000, 134). The 50th anniversary of this historic journey was commemorated in 2009 by a visit to India (sponsored by the U.S. Department of State) by King’s son, Martin Luther King III, members of the U.S. Congress, and others.

In her memoirs, Coretta Scott King had noted, “In the course of our travels we visited many places that Gandhi had made so memorable by his presence that they had become shrines” (King 1970, 191). Something similar can be said about her husband. A peace, nonviolence, and civil rights movement trail – in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. – starts in Atlanta, Georgia, the city where he was born and lived for all but five years of his life. Among the nota- ble sites and visitor attractions are his birth home, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (the King Center), and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he delivered many of his impassionate sermons (Farris 2007). These and other buildings are part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Na- tional Historic Site that was created in 1980 by the U.S. National Park Service. In homage to his teacher, a statue of Gandhi, donated by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, was unveiled here in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of India’s independence (Atlanta Peace Trails 2008, 20; Farris 2007).

King and his fellow campaigners were of course constantly on the march throughout the land, but especially in the Deep South, comprising the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North & South Carolina, and Tennessee. Hundreds of the most memorable places (some famous, some forgotten) of arrests, beatings, demonstrations, marches, murders, protests, shootings, sit-ins, strikes, witnessing – sites of tragedies and triumphs, defeats and victories – are described and illustrated in ‘Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement’ (Davis 1998). These places rep- resent all aspects of social life: banks, barber shops, churches, courthouses, homes, jails, parks, restaurants, schools, streets & squares. Segregation and discrimination were pervasive, as was the struggle for equality, justice and hu- man dignity. Davis’s impressive and fascinating travelogue documents numer- ous sites that are associated with significant events in the history of a movement (1954–1968) that transformed America and the world. Taken together, these sites represent a battlefield of a special kind where the armed forces of an unjust and repressive ‘law and order’ system were eventually overcome by nonviolent resistance.

One aspect of the lasting impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. is of particular interest to the tourist and traveller: the 650 avenues, boulevards, and streets in cities, towns and villages across the country that bear his name. They each have their own story to tell, and many can be found in another pioneering and fascinating work of cultural history which is also of interest to the peace tourist: Jonathan Tilove’s ‘Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street’ (Tilove 2003). In the U.S., the path from civil war to civil rights can also be pursued in individual cities. Washington, D.C., provides an excel- lent example where local historians, heritage and tourism experts, and busi- nesspeople have joined forces to produce a walking tour of downtown D.C., following in the footsteps of ‘Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Walt Whitman, and other great Americans whose lives were intertwined with the history of the nation and its capital city’ (Busch 2001, cover). While visitors to the city flock to the National Mall to see the grand monuments that symbolise the country’s highest ideals, this heritage trail (consisting of three one-hour long walks) invites visitors to deepen their experience by discovering the places where people have struggled to make those ideals a reality.

If India has Gandhi, and the U.S. has Martin Luther King, Jr., Africa has Nelson Mandela. It seems that no individual alive today commands so much admiration and love as the leader of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for eighteen years, has become a very popular tourist destination; in 1999 it was declared a World Heritage Site. Many South Africans, Africans, and people from around the world have been inspired by his heroic life, and want to pay their respect and also increase their understanding of a remarkable life that has touched their own by retracing his steps. This may reinforce their own commitment to struggle for freedom, justice, reconciliation, and peace.

A more elaborate tour, covering a different part of the country, has recently been designed and offered by Edgeworld Tours in the Eastern Cape Province, in cooperation with the Samara Private Game Reserve. ‘Mandela Landscapes’ is ‘a seven day tour to the land of the great man’. Travelling through the Tran- skei, the region where Mandela was born, the tour includes visits to his birth- place and the Mandela Museum at Qunu where he grew up, the church where he was baptised, and the family graveyard. On another day, a walk in the forest with a Xhosa guide explores local traditions and beliefs which influenced Mandela. There are also visits to St. Matthew’s Mission, where participants learn about the role of missionaries in the life of Mandela and his people, and to Fort Hare University where he was a student. Participants will gain a much better appreciation of ‘the historical background, the cultural norms, and the great African landscape’ that helped to form the unique mind-set of Nelson Mandela and that set him on his great ‘walk to freedom’. Yet another dimen- sion in the make-up of Mandela and the Xhosa nation is revealed by visits to the Eastern Cape battlefields. They make clear that the struggle for freedom in South Africa began two centuries before Mandela was born and encompassed a 100-year war of dispossession when the Xhosa nation lost 70 % of the tribal lands (

Peace Museums

Let us return to a different struggle, and a different war. The centenary of the First World War (2014–2018) offers many opportunities, not only in Europe and America, but also elsewhere, to remember, re-discover and re-evaluate individuals and movements which in the preceding century had been waging a campaign to abolish war (Cooper 1991). In particular, in the decades before 1914, heroic efforts were made to educate and alert the wider public about the dangers of the arms race, the imperial rivalries, and the cult of the nation. The Nobel Peace Prize and the Peace Palace – both important symbols of peace today – were created at this hopeful time.

Another remarkable creation of the same pre-1914 movement did not survive the war: the International Museum of War and Peace in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was conceived and financed by the Polish-Russian entrepreneur, early peace researcher, peace educator, and peace lobbyist, Jan Bloch (van den Dungen 2006). It opened its doors in 1902, and immediately made the city a significant place for the international peace movement, which decided to hold its annual congress for 1905 in the picturesque Swiss town. As the city archivist commented in his history of the city around this time, “This unique collection quickly became for everyone, locals and foreigners alike, an attraction that invited thoughtful reflection” (Rogger 1965, 76).

This anti-war and peace museum, the first of its kind, was noted in all the travel guides for Switzerland. For instance, Karl Baedeker’s ‘Handbook for Travellers’ included the museum in the map of the city and explained that the institution was founded “in order to illustrate the historical development of the art and practice of warfare and the ever-increasing horrors of war, and thereby to promote the movement in favour of peace” (Baedeker 1903, 100). Bloch had chosen an ideal location: Lucerne was a popular holiday destination, in the middle of Switzerland, itself in the heart of Europe. The museum was next to the railway station, and situated along the lake from where the pleas- ure boats would arrive and depart. Although open only during the summer, it attracted annually some 60,000 visitors, twice the number of the city’s inhabitants (Troxler 2010, 142). In 1910 the museum moved to a different location in the town in a purpose-built facility (Cook 1912, 108). In 2010, commemorating the centenary of the opening of the new museum building, a comprehensive history of the museum was published (Troxler 2010). The city archives also organised a small exhibition and published a brochure that aptly referred to the museum as one that was founded to oppose the arms race (Walker 2010). Lack of visitors and tourists during the Great War starved the museum of funds, however, resulting in its closure in 1919.

Today, the building is home to a pedagogical academy. A large painting, ‘Pax Defeating the Warrior’, which graced the façade of the museum near the main entrance, can still be seen today (Stadelmann et al. 2001, 138–139).

Neither the museum’s demise, nor its inability to prevent war, in any way diminishes the merits of Bloch’s pioneering institution. How much is the world today in need of a ‘museum against the arms race’, now that annual global military expenditure amounts to a staggering $1.75 trillion and nuclear weap- ons are proliferating? Even more than before, the arms race has become a race to the death. Bloch is now being recognised as the pioneer of peace museums that gradually emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War, initially in Japan, and then elsewhere. While several have become important visitor at- tractions – such as the museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki previously men- tioned, as well as several other peace museums in Japan, the Guernica Peace Museum in the Basque country in Spain, or the Memorial for Peace in Caen, France – others are small and struggling to survive. Still, the idea is in the air and, more than that, new peace museums are being created all the time (van den Dungen 2009).

One of the most remarkable and beautiful of these is the Tehran Peace Museum. It was founded by members of the Tehran-based NGO, Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support, with the help of the city. The Society brings together Iranian survivors of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons at- tacks during the long Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. These survivors are passion- ate about sharing their stories, and working for a world without war. The idea for the museum was suggested by visits to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with which the Tehran Peace Museum has forged strong links. The Museum also serves as the secretariat of the country’s section of Mayors for Peace (which includes the mayor of Tehran).

Another inspiring project, this time in Africa, is the Community Peace Museums Heritage Foundation in Kenya, which brings together ten ethnic, regionally-based community peace museums. Among their objectives is the rediscovery and teaching, with the help of artefacts, of traditional healing and reconciliation processes (Gachanga 2008).

Representatives from about two dozen peace and anti-war museums from around the world came together for the first time at a conference in Bradford in 1992, where it was decided to try to meet every three years, and to establish an International Network of Museums for Peace (INMP). Its 8th conference is scheduled to take place in September 2014 at the No Gun Ri Peace Park in South Korea. The network has stimulated publications about peace museums, including the first directories which were published by the library of the United Nations in Geneva in 1995 and 1998. A comprehensive directory, with extensive bibliography, was published by the Kyoto Museum for World Peace at Ritsumeikan University to coincide with the 6th International Conference held in Kyoto and Hiroshima (Yamane 2008). Since 2008, INMP maintains a small secretariat in The Hague (see Certainly – for those involved in peace campaigning, peace education, peace history and promotion of a culture of peace – the notion of peace tourism has become a reality.

As the country with the most peace museums, Japan is a popular destination for peace tourists. University and high school students form a particular group of tourists who, as a class or in a group, visit the country, sometimes with a special focus on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the other hand, Japanese people involved in peace education and activism are keen to visit peace museums abroad.

Peace Monuments & City Peace Trails

Peace museums can be regarded as peace monuments or memorials of a special kind in that they are both much larger and much livelier than the typi- cal monument (Lollis 2010, 416). Since the latter is easier and cheaper to construct, monuments devoted to peace are much more numerous than mu- seums. Such monuments have come to flourish during the last few decades. Former U.S. diplomat, Edward W. Lollis, maintains the world’s largest website on the subject: He selected more than 400 for a book published in 2013, on the occasion of the centenary of the Peace Palace – itself one of the oldest, greatest, and most beautiful monuments devoted to peace (Lollis 2013). Because of the institutions housed in it, such as the Per- manent Court of Arbitration, and the International Court of Justice of the UN, the Palace is of course much more than a monument.

Peace monuments are welcome reminders in the cultural landscape of the importance of peace and provide a much-needed counterpart to the numerous war memorials and streets and squares named after battlefields and their heroes. Combined with the preponderance of war museums in many countries, the impression could easily be gained not only that war and human slaughter are inevitable, but also that this is where glory and heroism reside.

An important part of peace education and the development of a culture of peace is to make peace and all it implies (cooperation, nonviolence, toler- ance, justice, human rights, equality) more visible – in school textbooks, in the media, in the public sphere – and also in tourism. Excellent vehicles in this respect are city peace trails. As mentioned above, several peace cities, with a rich historical as well as contemporary peace ‘scene’, have produced such guides. But many other cities and towns can also produce their own guides. Whilst these may not be as extensive, and the names included may not be as famous, they are likely to report on fascinating individuals, organi- sations, and events that hitherto had been unknown, forgotten, repressed, or insufficiently appreciated. Local historians, heritage and community groups, women’s groups, teachers, senior high school pupils and university students, and of course peace activists – all can contribute to the research and information-gathering necessary to document the work for peace and justice of their local community both in the past and today. Such active involvement in the production of peace trails may inspire these groups to make their own contributions to peace-making today.

During the last few years, several city peace trails have been designed and published, especially in England. Today, the inhabitants of – and visitors to – cities such as Birmingham, Bradford, Cambridge, Coventry, Leeds, London and Manchester are able to explore their rich and often surprising peace heritage with the help of attractive and handy (and sometimes free) trails, often available from the local tourist office or public library. When much of the world is remembering the centenary of the First World War, it is good to be able to remember those who worked to prevent it, as well as those who believe(d) that a world without war is possible. This idea has also inspired an EU-funded project, currently underway, to produce city trails for several European cities including Berlin, Budapest, Paris and Turin. Whereas the tourist offices or local heritage associations of many large cities frequently offer their visitors a number of specialised walks, catering for a wide variety of interests (such as architecture, crime, cuisine, militaria, music, sport, transport), until recently, ‘peace’ was absent from this particular tourist menu. This is now changing and the great and still growing number of Mayors for Peace may well result in many more city peace trails. The global application of such mapping of significant peace-making locations will provide an important stimulus for peace tourism around the world.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, I would like to offer a few reflections on my own experience regarding peace tourism. As a peace historian and peace educator, and keen traveller, I have always been interested in seeking out and visiting places as- sociated with peace-making and peacemakers – first and foremost, regarding the abolition of war. In particular, with the emergence of an organised international peace movement in the early 1800s, there is a rich history and legacy, unfortunately all too little known not only by the general public but also among peace educators and activists (van den Dungen 2005). This is where peace museums and peace trails have an important role to play in bringing out into the open the fascinating history of peace – a highly relevant subject in this day and age.

I have greatly enjoyed the peace tourism that colleagues and former students have organised in Tokyo and other cities during several visits to Japan, the leading country not only regarding peace museums but also with respect to the campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The programme for non-Japanese participants at the 3rd International Conference of Peace Museums that was held in Osaka and Kyoto in 1998 included the option of a 2-day excursion to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Okinawa. This option was widely used and was a great enrichment of the conference.

The following year, when the U.S.-based Peace History Society organised its own programme as part of the Hague Appeal for Peace when 10,000 activists gathered in the Dutch city to celebrate the centenary of the First Hague Peace Conference, I was happy to guide colleagues one afternoon to familiar and less familiar places associated with that unprecedented diplomatic gath- ering. Likewise, a few years later a group of admirers of Jan Bloch met in Lucerne to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of his pioneering peace museum with a conference, an exhibition, and a walk (2002). The city had kindly agreed to install a memorial plaque which was unveiled on this occasion. Many years before, Dr. Andrzej Werner, founder of the Jan Bloch Society in Warsaw, took me to visit Bloch’s then little known and neglected burial chapel in the city’s main cemetery, and also showed me buildings and sites with strong associations to that remarkable peace warrior and leading entrepreneur.

With peace studies students at the Jaume I University in Castellon, Spain, we would make a day’s field trip to nearby Valencia every year, where a Water Court (‘Tribunal de las Aguas’) has been meeting in the open air, on the steps of the cathedral, every Thursday for 1,000 years to peacefully arbitrate irrigation disputes that may arise between the several water districts in the region. Today, the weekly event has become a major tourist attraction.

The following recommendations would greatly help in establishing peace as a subject for tourism, and stimulating the development of peace tourism on both the local and global level:

  • That travel agencies which offer battlefield tours also consider offering peace tours
  • That schools and other educational institutions which organise trips to bat- tlefield sites consider the inclusion of anti-war and peace sites
  • That Mayors for Peace encourage and support the production of peace trails for their cities
  • That local authorities, in the naming of streets, squares, and public build- ings, do not forget those who have worked for peaceful conflict resolution (both in the community and beyond)
  • That tourist offices be made aware of the possibility of peace tourism in their respective localities and commission relevant research
  • That experts in local history and heritage document the peace legacy of the local community, in cooperation with peace activists and educators
  • That the travel and tourism industry invites peace educators to propose travel itineraries and visits focused on peace and such issues as war preven- tion and peaceful conflict resolution
  • That the travel and tourism industry explores suitable ways for celebrating The International Day of Peace (and similar days, such as M. L. King Day in the U.S.)

• That UNWTO establishes a data-base and acts as a clearing-house for in- formation about peace tourism

• That ‘peace tourism’ becomes a recognised aspect of cultural & heritage tourism.


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2 Responses

  1. This article was originally published in 2013 in the International Handbook on Tourism and Peace, eds. Cordula Wohlmuther and Werner Wintersteiner.

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