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Karel Appel

The paintings look (a little bit) like child drawings.

This man is an internationally renowned Dutch painter, whose paintings look (at least according to critics) like they were painted by a child himself. Also, Karel stated: ´I just mess up something´. Others say this was not completely true, they say there was a big theory behind the paintings.

Christiaan Karel Appel was born in 1921 in Amsterdam, he studied there at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. At the academy, he met two other artists with who he became close friends, Corneille and Constant. With these friends and a few others, he founded Cobra in 1948 at an international conference in Paris. This was an international movement of painters and literature. The name Cobra was an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussel, and Amsterdam, the cities where the founders came from. The aesthetic of Cobra was a reaction against de Stijl, which had strict rules and used geometric forms and primary colors. Cobras were against the academic rules, there were too many aesthetic rules and was too much emphasis on the intellectual. It was also a protest against the Second World War. The war proved for them what the intellectual could cause.

Cobra considered painting to be a window on the human psyche. It got its inspiration from the pure and innocent. They used bright colors, spontaneity, and fantasy. Karel Appel himself was above all a doer, he didn’t want to have too many theory’s, he just wanted to put his mind on his paper. He sometimes squeezed the paint right from the tube onto the canvas, the big masses of paint made the painting kind of alive.

Karels paintings didn’t get what you call a warm welcome. His 1949 fresco ‘Questioning Children’ in Amsterdam City Hall caused controversy and was covered up for ten years. He moved to other countries to improve his international reputation. After that his work has been exhibited in a lot of famous museums around the world, only after 1990, he became popular in the Netherlands. Nowadays Karel is known as one of the most famous Dutch artists of the twentieth century.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Eva Dijkstra, an 18-year-old volunteer from the Netherlands. Is a by nature chaotic person that is trying to be structured and who loves food, animals, dancing, and art.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.