How did the Roman Empire change Dacia

Europalia Romania: "Dacia Felix" in Tongeren or 2,000 years of Romanian history

The Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium's oldest city in today's Limburg province, is participating in this year's Europalia, which is dedicated to Romania, with the wonderful “Dacia Felix” exhibition. There is hardly a place in Belgium in general and in Flanders in particular that is better suited for this exhibition than this museum in this city. "Dacia Felix" is a journey through time to Romania 2,000 years ago ...

Around 2,000 years ago, more precisely in the year 106 AD, the then Roman Empire absorbed another part of what is now Eastern Europe. This new province was then called "Dacia" and was roughly where the EU country Romania is today. "Dacia" was the home of peoples like the Dacians and the Geten. The Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren uses many artefacts to show the history of this region, which represents a true cross-pollination of peoples. Not only Dacians or Geten lived here, but also Greeks, Celts, Romans or Scythians, a Turkish people.

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The Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren explains these migrations with a unique scenography designed by the architects Shin Bogdan Hagiwara and Shizuka Hariu. With detailed maps, explanations in several languages ​​and an exciting exhibition path, a deep immersion into the world and the time from then to now is made possible. This is underlined with numerous marble, gold and silver treasures from various Romanian museums, such as the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest.

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Photo: Gallo-Roman Museum / Tongeren

Special showpieces that can be seen at “Dacia Felix” are undoubtedly a Celtic war helmet (photo above) from the late Iron Age (250-75 BC), a horn-shaped goblet from the Geten, a so-called “Rhyton”, from that time 400-300 BC and a Roman marble relief (240-100 BC) that comes from Ulpia Trainana Sarmizegetusa, the then capital of the Roman province of Dacia. There are also many pieces of jewelry made of gold and silver to discover, signet rings, bangles and much more. However, “Dacia Felix” also comes up with weapons and historical armor parts that also lack nothing of splendor. These artefacts show that a lot was the same back then as it is today: war, disagreement, migrations, conquests, annexes ...

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“Dacia Felix” delves deep into the history of the Romanians, but this exhibition never gets boring and by no means just shows pieces lined up with lots of text to read. It is interactive and playful and easy to work through for school-age children. Games can be played and puzzles solved on digital screens, and the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren also offers guided tours for school classes. "Dacia Felix" runs until April 26, 2020 and covers the period 650 before to 271 AD together (info:

The exhibits and the interactive stations in Tongeren are complemented by videos and with impressive photos and photomontages of landscapes in today's Romania. Last but not least, “Felix Dacia” tells of the eternal theme of mass migrations. These are part of the entire European history, which in today's European Union is often forgotten ...

Digital puzzle game in several languages, photo: Andreas Kockartz