The project

This project investigates the Scots’ diasporic organisation over time to assess what it can tell us about Scottish present-day migrant life in continental Europe, offering a new reading of Scotland’s European diaspora as one of ‘transeuropean Scots’: connected with each other and to Scotland, but also with a continental Europe post-Brexit in which they now live as Europeans who no longer are EU citizens.

Why this research matters

While we know of this rich fabric of Scottish diaspora communities, including the rich array of Scottish ethnic associations and their vital roles, one example close to home—continental Europe—has received only little attention. Much of the existing work is concentrated in the period prior to the 1800s and little attempt has been made to deepen our understanding of the characteristics of Scotland’s European diaspora as an interconnected part of a ‘global Scotland’.

This lack of knowledge is brought into sharp focus by Brexit: it constitutes a rupture—in many fundamental ways—in Scotland’s relationship with continental European countries and this, in turn, has real impact on the Scottish immigrant community there now. Historically, immigrant collective action has been a key response at such points of crisis and has usually been managed through ethnic associations. When the City of New York failed to adequately cater for the needs of the city’s immigrant communities in the late nineteenth century, for example, immigrant associations came together to form a board to manage support. The local St Andrew’s Society played a vital role in this. For continental Europe, however, we have only scant knowledge of the history of this type of Scottish immigrant collective action and the role it played over time.

Situated within this wider context, the ‘Transeuropean Scots’ project offers the first sustained reading of the present-day Scottish diaspora in continental Europe within a longitudinal approach to associationalism, utilising a transnational and comparative framework. This longitudinal perspective enables consideration of how historical patterns of immigrant activism can provide us with a better understanding of challenges faced by immigrant communities today. This will also aid the assessment of how the timing of Scottish migration and divergent local circumstances in different European locations shaped the collectivism of Scotland’s European diaspora over time, deepening our understanding of how actions have been adjusted to the needs of modern migrants.

Survey launch

Are you a British citizen resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland? Then you can contribute to this new research by sharing your views in this Survey on identity, belonging and representation post-Brexit.

About the Survey

You must be an adult aged 18 years or older to participat; you must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland since before 31 December 2020; and you must meet ONE of the nationality criteria set out at the begining of the survey. If you renounced your British citizenship to take up an EU/EEA/Swiss nationality, you can still take part.

While the overall project is focused on Scottish immigration to continental Europe, ALL British citizens can take part in the Survey, no matter where in the UK you’re from. This will provide important comparative data.

It is up to you to decide whether to take part in this survey. Participation is voluntary and you can refuse to participate or withdraw participation at any stage during the Survey. You can remain anonymous if you do not provide personal details. There is an option for some participants to leave contact details for potenital follow-up interviews, but you can choose not to do so. All data will be anonymised and outputs will use pseudonyms.

The Survey is focused on questions about your Brexit experiences, status questions and your views on belonging, identity and representation. There are also free text boxes where you can, if you want to, detail your experiences further as much as you like.

Further details on how the Survey works, data storage and your rights as a participant are provided in the ‘Participant Information’ section before the Survey starts. You need to read it before you consent to taking part.


The project is funded with a Personal Research Fellowship for Prof Tanja Bueltmann by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.