The permanent gallery at the House of European History © European Union 2017

House of European History opens in Brussels

Nicola Sullivan, 10.05.2017
Museum covers current challenges facing the EU, as well as the key historical events that led to its formation
The European Parliament has opened the House of European History (HEH) in Brussels – a museum designed to encourage people to reflect on and debate the history of Europe and the European Union (EU).

The museum, which cost around €55.4m (£47m), will challenge visitors to critically assess European history, its potential, and its future. The focus of the permanent exhibition is on Europe in the 20th century and the history of European integration after the second world war. It features exhibits from around 300 museums based in Europe and beyond.

The museum also tackles more recent events such as Brexit, which is addressed in a section called Appraisal and Criticism. Objects on display include vote leave and vote remain electioneering materials, including T-shirts, badges, rosettes and stickers, as well as a referendum ballot paper.

A press statement from the European Parliament said: “In the last floor of the exhibition area called Accolades and Criticism visitors have an opportunity to express their voices on challenging and present issues by answering different questionnaires [on topics], such as the EU and defense, the EU and democracy, the EU and asylum seekers, EU and enlargement, and the EU and the global market.”

Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, who attended the opening of the museum on 6 May, 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."

Former European Parliament president Hans-Gert Pöttering, the chair of the board of trustees of the HEH, 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.”