Lonely Planet Writer

Happy Europe Day! Brussels now has a museum dedicated to European History

A brand new museum has opened in Brussels, Belgium which aims to give a transnational overview of the history of Europe. The House of European History, which opened on Saturday (just in time for Europe Day today!), attempts to look at the many interpretations and perceptions of the continent’s past.

Exhibit at the House of European History, Brussels
Exhibit at the House of European History, Brussels. Image European Union

Located in the European Quarter, as part of the Eastman building in the Parc Léopold, the 4000 sq m museum will display more than 300 items from collections from across Europe in its permanent collection. It will also host temporary exhibitions and educational programmes.

Among the items on display are maps from the Middle Ages, metope sculptures, paintings, uncensored photographs, protest banners, and a ballot paper from the UK’s EU membership referendum in 2016.

The new House of European History opens in Brussels
The new House of European History opens in Brussels. Image courtesy of« Architecte Michel Polak 1935 – Architectes Chaix & Morel 2000

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: ‘This house is about the things we have in common, the events we have lived through together. This is indeed not only the House of European History, it is also the Home of European identity and European memory.’

The current temporary exhibition on show is called ‘Interactions’, which revels in the encounters and exchanges of European history. The museum is also hoping to host talks, conferences, workshops and courses as part of its programming. Other events scheduled include concerts, films and classes for children.

The House of European History is open 1-6pm on a Monday, 9am-6pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am-6pm at the weekends. Entrance to the museum is free. The museum took around 10 years to build at a cost of around €55.4 million.

Former European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering, who helped set the museum up, said: ‘The House of European History is intended to help citizens to step into the future wisely and with confidence, a future which, from today’s standpoint, looks likely to be troubled and full of threats. It is a house which, by showing us the dynamics of European history, enables us to better understand recent history, as well as the present.’