Europe in Brussels: divided past, shared future?

Free mobile exhibition about the memory of the European district

The 2010 Belgian Presidency of the EU allowed the Brussels-Capital Region to stress the European character of Brussels. For its project called 'Europe in Brussels: fragmented past, shared future?', the  Europe.Brussels Liaison Office started a search for the memory of the European district.

It took months to assemble personal stories / testimonies from the ‘European pioneers’, European civil servants who came to work in Brussels at the end of the 1950s and in the 1960s. What was their arrival in Brussels like? Why did they want to work for Europe? How was the atmosphere? The most diverse profiles have been found : an interpreter, an usher, a director, ... 

We also appealed to people who lived in the Leopold district at the time. How have they experienced the arrival and growth of EU institutions in Brussels? The stories provide us with a unique insight into the past of the European district. It is a fragmented past, as the pioneers of ‘Europe’ describe a reality that is very different to that of the local inhabitants. The pioneers emphasise their commitment, and the enthusiasm and small scale of the early days. The inhabitants describe their hard battle for good quality of life in the district, but are never bitter about it.

There is no room for thinking in boxes: expatriates become confirmed citizens of Brussels, civil servants become active citizens and citizens of Brussels confirmed Europeans. Together they share one future, that of Brussels, the proud capital of 500 million Europeans.

The most remarkable excerpts from the stories, as well as images and drawings of the European district, have been compiled in a 20 minute movie shown at the BIP during the Presidency. The exhibition being very successful, Europe.Brussels decided to pursue its project and transform the original installation into a mobile unit available to any organization or institution willing to inform its staff or visitors about the past and the future of the European neighbourhood.

Technical details

The installation consists of two cardboard panels where a television screen is placed. The panels feature the opening image of the website
Dimensions of the panels : 1,6 m wide x 2,2 m high (in total : 3,2 m x 2,2 m)
The TV screen (37”) needs to be plugged in.


The exhibition is free of charge.
Transportation costs (per delivery van) are not included.


Nathalie San Gil,, 02/234 57 37