History

The College of Europe was the world’s first university institute of postgraduate studies and training in European affairs, and remains unique and innovative to this day. Its origins date back to the 1948 Hague Congress when Salvador DE MADARIAGA, a Spanish statesman, thinker and writer in exile, proposed the establishment of a College where university graduates from many different countries could study and live together.

Excellence in European Studies: a unique institution since 1949

1948 Hague CongressA group of Bruges citizens led by the Reverend Karel VERLEYE were successful in attracting the College to Bruges, and Professor Hendrik BRUGMANS, one of the intellectual leaders of the European Movement of the time, became its first Rector (1950-1972). After the fall of communism, and in the wake of the changes in Central and Eastern Europe, the College of Europe campus at Natolin (Warsaw, Poland), was founded in 1993 with the support of the European Commission and the Polish government. The College now operates as ‘one College - two campuses’ and what was once referred to as the ‘esprit de Bruges’, is now known as the ‘esprit du Collège’.

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