College of Europe

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College of Europe
Collège d’Europe
College of Europe logo
TypePrivate postgraduate institute
Established1949 (1949)
ChairmanHerman Van Rompuy
RectorFederica Mogherini
Postgraduatesannually ca. 470 students from over 50 countries
51°12′39.66″N 3°13′32.89″E / 51.2110167°N 3.2258028°E / 51.2110167; 3.2258028Coordinates: 51°12′39.66″N 3°13′32.89″E / 51.2110167°N 3.2258028°E / 51.2110167; 3.2258028
Working languagesEnglish and French

The College of Europe (French: Collège d'Europe) is a postgraduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges, Belgium, and a smaller campus in Warsaw, Poland. The College of Europe in Bruges was founded in 1949 by leading historical European figures and founding fathers of the European Union, including Salvador de Madariaga, Winston Churchill, Paul-Henri Spaak and Alcide De Gasperi as one of the results of the 1948 Congress of Europe in The Hague to promote "a spirit of solidarity and mutual understanding between all the nations of Western Europe and to provide elite training to individuals who will uphold these values"[1] and "to train an elite of young executives for Europe".[2] The founders imagined the college as a place where Europe's future leaders could live and study together. It has the status of "Institution of Public Interest", operating according to Belgian law. The second campus in Natolin (Warsaw), Poland was opened in 1992.[3] The College of Europe is historically linked to the establishment of the European Union and its predecessors, and to the creation of the European Movement International, of which the college is a supporting member. Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was appointed as the Rector to start in September 2020;[4] former President of the European Council Herman, Count Van Rompuy is chairman of the board.[5]

The College of Europe is bilingual, and students must be proficient in English and French. Students receive an advanced master's degree (formerly called Diploma and Certificat) following a one-year programme. Students specialise in either European Political and Administrative Studies, EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies, European Law, European Economic Studies, or European Interdisciplinary Studies (at the Natolin campus). For much of its history, the college only admitted a few students, although the number has increased since the 1990s.

According to The Times, the "College of Europe, in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges, is to the European political elite what the Harvard Business School is to American corporate life. It is a hothouse where the ambitious and talented go to make contacts".[6] The Economist describes it as "an elite finishing school for aspiring Eurocrats".[7] The Financial Times writes that "the elite College of Europe in Bruges" is "an institution geared to producing crop after crop of graduates with a lifelong enthusiasm for EU integration".[8] Former European Commissioner for Education Ján Figeľ described the college as "one of the most emblematic centres of European studies in the European Union".[9] The BBC has referred to it as "the EU's very own Oxbridge".[10] The college has also been described as "the leading place to study European affairs"[11] and as "the elite training center for the European Union's political class".[12] RFE/RL has referred to the college as "a Euro-federalist hot-spot".[13] The Global Mail has described its students as "Europe's leaders-in-waiting".[14] The well-connected graduates of the college are sometimes referred to as the "Bruges mafia;"[15] Schnabel and Rocca note that "many of the most successful Commission staff members are also graduates of the elite College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, which offers a one-year master's course in European studies, and whose graduates are said to form a 'Bruges Mafia.'"[16]

Each academic year is named after a patron and referred to as a promotion. The academic year is opened by a leading European politician. The College of Europe shares several traditions with the École nationale d'administration (ENA) of France,[17] but has a more European focus. Its alumni include the former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb, the former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Enzo Moavero Milanesi, several of whom have also been professors at the college. Many of its alumni go on to serve as diplomats and senior civil servants in European institutions.


The College of Europe was the world's first university institute of postgraduate studies and training in European affairs. It was founded in 1949 by leading European figures, such as Salvador de Madariaga, Winston Churchill, Paul-Henri Spaak and Alcide De Gasperi, in the wake of the Hague Congress of 1948, that led to the creation of the European Movement, and is frequently considered the first federal moment in European history. They imagined a college where Europe's future leaders, some from countries only a short while before at war with each other, could live and study together.[1] In particular, it was Spanish statesman Salvador de Madariaga the one who advocated for the creation of a College of Europe, where graduates from different European states could study together, as a way to heal the wounds of the World War II. Although the cultural resolution adopted at the end of the Congress did not include explicit references to the establishment of a College of Europe and only advocated for the creation of a 'European Cultural Centre and a European Institute for Childhood and Youth Questions', the idea of establishing a European University was put forward by Congress attendees immediately after the Congress.[18]

The Hague Congress (1948)

A group of Bruges citizens led by the Reverend Karel Verleye succeeded in attracting the college to Bruges. Professor Hendrik Brugmans, one of the intellectual leaders of the European Movement and the President of the Union of European Federalists, became its first Rector (1950–1972).[19] John Bowie, Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, was appointed Director of the first session held by the college, in 1949.[20] Henri van Effenterre, who was a Professor of Ancient History at Caen University and Alphonse de Vreese, International Law professor at the University of Ghent, also contributed to that first session, who was celebrated at the Gothic Chamber of Bruges Town Hall.[20] The topic of that first session taught to the first promotion of the college (frequently called préparatoire, for it is the only promotion not named after any prominent figure) was 'Teaching history and the development of a European spirit in universities'.[21]

In the decades that followed the establishment of the institution, students were hosted at the Navarre Hotel in the historic centre of Bruges until 1981.[22] During those first decades of existence the number of postgraduate students was small, though it was increased progressively (from 22 students in 1949 to almost 140 in 1980). The number of enrolled students has increased significantly since the 1980s.[23] Meanwhile, the College consolidated itself as an institution specialized in studies focused on the newly established European Communities (the college was founded in 1949, before the communities were established).

In 1988, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher delivered her famous 'Bruges speech' at the College of Europe,[24] as part of the opening ceremony for that academic year. In her speech, which has been considered by many the cornerstone of the Eurosceptic movement that eventually led to Brexit,[25] Thatcher laid down her vision for Europe, claiming that the European Community should remain an economic union, refusing the claims for a closer political integration made by Commission President Jacques Delors. As a part of her speech, Ms. Thatcher also referred to the College as an institution that 'plays a vital and increasingly important part in the life of the European Community'.[24]

After the fall of communism and changes in Central and Eastern Europe, the College of Europe campus at Natolin (Warsaw, Poland), was founded in 1992 with the support of the European Commission and the Polish government. The Natolin Campus is located in a historic palace, part of a 120-hectare park and nature reserve.[26] According to former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors, "this College of Europe at Natolin is more than the symbol of Europe found once again, it is the hope represented in this beautiful historic place. The hope that exchanges can multiply for greater mutual understanding and fraternity".[26] The establishment of a second campus in eastern has been frequently regarded as part of an effort aiming to train young students from eastern countries under the auspices of eastern enlargement.[27] Since the establishment of that second campus in Poland, the college 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'.

In 1998, former students of the college set up the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation, which is presided over by Pierre Defraigne.[28] The foundation has among its objectives 'working to promote citizen's ownership of the European democratic space', as well as promoting 'European responses' to contemporary challenges.[29] The name choice when the foundation was established was not casual: Salvador de Madariaga is regarded as the main founder of the college. A bust of him presides over the College library, and one of the halls in Garenmarkt is named after him.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visiting the College in 1965

The College of Europe originally had no permanent teaching staff; the courses were taught by prominent academics and sometimes government officials from around Europe.[30] Especially in the last couple of decades, the college has increasingly employed professors and other teaching staff on a permanent basis.

In 2012 the College of Europe became a supporting member of the European Movement International, which noted that the European Movement is "closely linked to the creation of the College of Europe".[31] The academic year 2018-2019 marked the first time in which a promotion was named after a College alumnus, Manuel Marín, Spanish Statesman, EU Commissioner and acting President of the Commission (known as the 'father of the Erasmus Programme'), who had passed away early that year. In 2015, three years before the election of Marín as Patron, former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb was the first College alumnus to be invited to be the Orateur at the opening ceremony of that academic year.

Former Spanish Minister and Cabinet Spokesperson Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, 9th Baron of Claret, served as chairman of the board from 2009 to 2019; in 2019 former Prime Minister of Belgium and President of the European Council Herman, Count Van Rompuy was appointed the new chairman of the board.[5] In May 2020 Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, was appointed rector of the College, the first high ranking political figure from the European Commission to hold the post.[32]


Throughout its seven decades of history, the College of Europe has developed several traditions. Some are shared with the École nationale d'administration (both the College and the École name their promotions after a historical figure, being in the College of Europe an outstanding European figure, which is called 'patron'[33]). Besides the choice of a prominent historical figure to name each promotion, each academical year is traditionally inaugurated by a prominent European figure. Furthermore, each year, College of Europe students are named honorary citizens of Bruges prior to their departure,[34] in an enduring display of the close ties existing between the College and the city that hosted it more than seventy years ago. Another trading dating back to the first years of existence of the college is the visit to Flanders fields during the first weeks of the academic year: incoming students are shown the battlefields and graveyards of World War I so as to understand the way in which the bloody conflicts of the 20th Century paved the way for European integration. During that visit, students lay a floral tribute at the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres.[35]


Bruges campus[edit]

Paul Henri Spaak Building

The Bruges campus is situated in the centre of Bruges since its establishment in 1949, which was appointed European Capital of Culture in 2002. Bruges is located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, a Dutch-speaking area, although the college does not use Dutch as one of its working languages.

The college has a system of residences in the centre of Bruges and not far from the Dijver, where the main administrative and academic building and the library are situated. None of the residences lodges more than 60 students so that each residence in fact has its own small multinational and multicultural environment.[36]

It consists of the following campus buildings:


The Paul Henri Spaak Building (named after the renowned Belgian socialist politician, and popularly known as Dijver) is the College's main administrative building on the Bruges campus. It hosts the college's main reception, some of its offices, classrooms and the library. Located on one side of the Dijver Canal, a white classic façade stands at the front of the main building (where the European, Belgian, Flemish and Brugeois flags hang together), while there is a garden in its back side. The garden is used by the students, who frequently spare their break time there due to its proximity to the library (which is connected to the main building by a corridor). Signed portraits of all the orateurs hang in the walls of the main corridor of the building.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands laying down the first stone of the library in 1965

The library building was built in 1965. Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands (later Queen Beatrix) laid the first stone of the library in a special commemorative event. Almost three decades after its completion, the library was reformed and enlarged (the works were completed in 1992). Most of the library funds are devoted to European Studies, together with law, economics, and political and administrative sciences.[37] Access to the library is restricted to College students and academic staff. A bust of Salvador de Madariaga presides over the library main reading hall.


Following the increase in the number of students attending the College each year, the College of Europe (with the support of different entities and institutions, including the Flemish Government and the City of Bruges[38]) reformed the 17th century protected monument[39] of Verversdijk to provide additional lecture theatres (auditoria), teaching rooms and offices for academics, research fellows and staff; and to extend its activities. The reform was led by the office of Xaveer De Geyter Architects (XDGA), and the project was nominated for the Mies van de Rohe award in 2009.[40] The Verversdijk premises began to be used by College students in 2007. Besides its academic and administrative use throughout the course, a cocktail is served in its garden to each promotion, following their graduation ceremony at St. Walburga Church (Bruges).

The historical site of Verversdijk owes its name to fact that the owners of the houses standing there at medieval times were dyers who used wool traded with Scotland, as the area was populated by several Englishmen during the Middle Ages.[41] During the Spanish rule, it hosted the schooling houses and the monastery established by the Jesuits in the 17th century.[42] In 1792, the monastery auditorium was used as a meeting place by the Jacobin Club.[39] The main monastery wing (dating back to 1701, and whose façade was plastered in 1865[43]) was built along the canal, and was used as an athenaeum since 1851.[39] its long inner corridor is an outstanding example of the rococo style in Bruges, whereas, the ashlar staircase is also an element of artistic relevance. The attic of the building, with a total length of 45 meters and a surprisingly well-preserved oak canopy, is currently used as a study room. During the First World War occupation of Belgium, the attic was used as a sleeping room for soldiers of the German Marine.[43]

The monastery wing was also home to the Museum of Modern Painting from 1898 to 1931[44] (when they were transferred to the newly established Groeninge Museum[45]). Since 2008, following and agreement between the College and the Groeninge Museum, the college hosts the 'Extraordinary Groeninghe Art Collection',[46] an installation of contemporary works of art featuring international artists at Verversdijk's hallways. Members of the Groeninghe Art Collection meet every two months at the College to discuss art, attend lectures by art experts and consider possible purchases.[46]

In March 2014, the so-called China Library was established at the Verversdijk compound.[47] A project sponsored by the Information Office of the State Council of the Chinese Government,[48] the library (decorated in Chinese style) is home to ten thousand books and documents in more than six languages,[47] as frequently hosts events related with Sino-European relations or the Chinese culture.


The Hotel Portinari in Garenmarkt 15 with its classical façade was formerly home to Tommaso Portinari, the administrator of the Florentine "Loggia de Medici" in the 15th century in Bruges. It contains eleven apartments for professors and forty student rooms, two "salons" in 19th-century style, the "salon du Recteur" with 18th-century wall paintings and a modern "Mensa" for students. A room dedicated to Winston Churchill (who was among the voices calling for the establishment of the College during The Hague Congress in 1948 and was one of its founders the year after) was inaugurated by his grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, and the British ambassador in 2017.[49] Besides being a student residence and comprising the accommodation for high-profile visitors, Garenmarkt also hosts the canteen for all College students.


The residence is located in a stately home built on classicist style during the 19th century. The building is located in Biskajersplein, a small square named after the Spanish region of Biscay (the square is located on the side the dock where ships coming in from that region unloaded their merchandise in the 15th and 16th centuries. In fact, the actual residence is located on the lot occupied by the Mareminne house,[50] which hosted the consulate of Biscay in the past, although the original building was demolished. Traces of the old consulate building can be found in the inner garden of the residence, which kept the shape of the consulate's horse stable. The residence has a big entrance hall with a majestic spiral staircase, and hosts 53 students every year.[51]

Gouden Hand[edit]

The Gouden Hand residence is housed in a Bruges-style building dating back to the 17th century. It is a listed monument. During the 2005-2006 academic year, it was renovated and provides 48 spacious rooms with private bathrooms. The name of the residence, directly translates from Dutch to 'Golden Hand', after a Medieval legend about the canal bordering the residence.[52][53] 'Gouden hand' is also the name of two streets along the same canal. The 15th century painter Jan Van Eyck lived and owned a studio in the Gouden-Handstraat nr. 6, behind the current residence.[54]

The Gouden Hand student bar, situated in the large cellar, is the place where students have been gathering for years. The building has been a backdrop for many films and documentaries.[51]

Natolin campus[edit]

Potocki Palace in Natolin

The Natolin Warsaw campus of the college was established in 1992 responding to the revolutions of 1989 and ahead of Poland's accession negotiations with the EU, which began in 1993.

Today, the Natolin campus is part of a 120-hectare historical park and nature reserve—formerly the Royal hunting palace of Natolin—situated in the southern part of Warsaw about 20 minutes by metro from the city centre. The Natolin European Centre Foundation takes care of the complex and has conducted restoration of the former Potocki palace, making it available for the college.

The old historical buildings, including the manor house, the stables and the coach house, were converted to the needs of modern times and new buildings were constructed in a style preserving the harmony of the palace and its outlying park.



Application may be made to national selection committees or by direct application to the College of Europe for individuals from a country where no selection committee exists.[55] As of 2014, there are 28 national selection committees.[56]



The rector directs and coordinates the college's activities.

Vice rectors[edit]

The vice rector is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Natolin (Warsaw) campus.

Presidents of the Administrative Council[edit]


Academic years at the College are known as promotions. Each promotion is named after an outstanding European, referred to as the promotion's patron. The College of Europe shares this tradition with the French École nationale d'administration (ENA).

The opening ceremony each year is presided over by a prominent politician, referred to as the Orateur; they have included Angela Merkel, David Miliband, Jean-Claude Juncker, Javier Solana, José Manuel Barroso, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand. Being invited as the college's Orateur is considered a high honour.[61]

List of promotions
Year Name of promotion (Patron) Students Speaker at opening ceremony (Orateur)
(Bruges unless otherwise noted)
Notable alumni
(Bruges unless otherwise noted)
2021-2022 Éliane Vogel-Polsky 472 Alexander De Croo (Bruges) and Olha Stefanishyna (Natolin)
2020-2021 Mário Soares 477 Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (Bruges) and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (Natolin)
2019-2020 Hannah Arendt 471 Donald Tusk[62] (Bruges)
2018–2019 Manuel Marín 461 Antonio Tajani (Bruges) & Tibor Navracsics (Natolin)
2017-2018 Simone Veil 462 António Costa (Bruges)[63] & Andrzej Duda (Natolin)[64]
2016–2017 John Maynard Keynes 467 Jean-Claude Juncker (Bruges) & Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (Natolin)
2015–2016 Frédéric Chopin 479 Alexander Stubb (Bruges) & Johannes Hahn (Natolin) Stubb 4682.jpg
2014–2015 Falcone & Borsellino 437 Mariano Rajoy (Bruges) & Petro Poroshenko (Natolin, cancelled)
2013–2014 Voltaire 445 Íñigo Méndez de Vigo (Bruges) & Bronisław Komorowski (Natolin)
2012–2013 Václav Havel 444 Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Bruges) & Vladimir Filat (Natolin) Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 2008.jpg
2011–2012 Marie Sklodowska-Curie 448 Giorgio Napolitano (Bruges) & José Manuel Barroso (Natolin)
2010–2011 Albert Einstein 435 Angela Merkel (Bruges) & Štefan Füle (Natolin)
2009–2010 Charles Darwin 402 Jerzy Buzek (Bruges) & Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Natolin)
2008–2009 Marcus Aurelius 381 Yves Leterme (Bruges) & Hans-Gert Pöttering (Natolin)
2007–2008 Anna Politkovskaya & Hrant Dink 415 David Miliband (Bruges) & Carl Bildt (Natolin)
2006–2007 Nicolaus Copernicus 413 Jean-Claude Juncker (Bruges) & Alaksandar Milinkievič (Natolin)
2005–2006 Ludwig van Beethoven 384 Javier Solana (Bruges) & Viktor Yushchenko (Natolin)
2004–2005 Montesquieu 404 José Manuel Barroso (Bruges) & Josep Borrell Fontelles (Natolin) Nikola Poposki Nikola Poposki in Tallinn (8th February 2012) (cropped).jpg
2003–2004 John Locke 391 Joschka Fischer (Bruges) & Danuta Hübner (Natolin)
2002–2003 Bertha von Suttner 370 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (Bruges) & Erhard Busek (Natolin)
2001–2002 Simon Stevin 365 Aleksander Kwasniewski (Bruges) & Guy Verhofstadt (Natolin)
2000–2001 Aristotle 375 George Papandreou (Bruges) & Jan Kulakowski (Natolin)
1999–2000 Wilhelm & Alexander von Humboldt 374 Jacques Delors (Bruges) & Jean-Luc Dehaene (Natolin)
1998–1999 Leonardo da Vinci 337 Jean-Luc Dehaene (Bruges) & Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant (Natolin)
1997–1998 Hendrik Brugmans 326 António Guterres (Bruges) & Ursula Stenzel (Natolin)
1996–1997 Alexis de Tocqueville 319 Wim Kok (Bruges) & Aleksander Kwasniewski (Natolin) Ledi Bianku, Rafał Trzaskowski (Natolin)
1995–1996 Walter Hallstein 306 Klaus Hänsch (Bruges) & Jacques Santer (Natolin) Aude Maio-Coliche, Alexander Schallenberg
1994–1995 Ramon Llull 296 Juan Carlos I of Spain (Bruges) & Andrzej Olechowski (Natolin) Valerie Plame, Alexander Stubb (Finnish prime minister), Alyn Smith (Natolin) Valerie plame at moravian college.JPG
1993–1994 Stefan Zweig 263 Thomas Klestil Geert Van Calster
1992–1993 Charles IV 264 Jacques Santer Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Danish prime minister), Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock - World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia 2011.jpg
1991–1992 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 212 Flavio Cotti Nick Clegg (UK deputy prime minister), Árni Páll Árnason, Luis Garicano, Miriam González Durántez Nick Clegg - Crop.jpg
1990–1991 Hans & Sophie Scholl 245 Richard von Weizsäcker
1989–1990 Denis de Rougemont 200 Jacques Delors
1988–1989 Christopher Dawson 204 Margaret Thatcher David McWilliams, Sylvie Lucas, Gry Tina Tinde
1987–1988 Altiero Spinelli 178 François Mitterrand
1986–1987 William Penn 177 Ruud Lubbers
1985–1986 Christopher Columbus 158 Felipe Gonzalez Chris Hoornaert, Margaritis Schinas
1984–1985 Madame de Staël 123 Altiero Spinelli
1983–1984 Jean Rey 133 Garret FitzGerald Marc van der Woude, Fiona Hayes-Renshaw, Carine Van Regenmortel, Christian Lequesne
1982–1983 Joseph Bech 122 Gaston Thorn
1981–1982 Johan Willem Beyen 123 Bruno Kreisky Enzo Moavero Milanesi (Italian foreign minister and EC deputy secretary-general), Xavier Prats Monné (EC director-general), María Angeles Benítez Salas (EC director-general), Mary O'Rourke QC, Margunn Bjørnholt, Peter Arbo, Bernadette Andreosso-O'Callaghan, Karl Cox, Philip Woolfson Enzo Moavero Milanesi.jpg
1980–1981 Jean Monnet 131 Simone Veil Philippe Régnier
1979–1980 Salvador de Madariaga 140 Dries van Agt Ursula Plassnik (Austrian foreign minister), Andrew Tyrie, Martin Donnelly, Marc Jaeger Ursula Plassnik.jpg
1978–1979 Paul-Henri Spaak 130 Guy Spitaels Claudia Kahr, Bruno de Witte
1977–1978 Karl Renner 128 Mario Soares Louise Fréchette, Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff, Holger Michael, Thomas Mayr-Harting
1976–1977 Peter Paul Rubens 120 Leo Tindemans Jonathan Faull
1975–1976 Adam Jerzy Czartoryski 101 Edgar Faure David O'Sullivan
1974–1975 Aristide Briand 111 Herman De Croo Simon Hughes
1973–1974 Giuseppe Mazzini 92 Karl Otto Pöhl Manuel Marín, Ioanna Babassika Manuel Marin.jpg
1972–1973 Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi 59 George Brown, Baron George-Brown Jo Leinen, Poul Skytte Christoffersen, Jaap de Zwaan
1971–1972 Dante Alighieri 58 Altiero Spinelli & Hendrik Brugmans Loukas Tsoukalis, Iwo Byczewski
1970–1971 Winston Churchill 57 Jean Rey & Hendrik Brugmans Luc Coene, Niels Egelund
1969–1970 William the Silent 49 Prince Albert of Belgium & Hendrik Brugmans Berno Kjeldsen
1968–1969 Konrad Adenauer 47 Robert van Schendel & Hendrik Brugmans Robert Verrue
1967–1968 Comenius 54 Alfons de Vreese Nuala Mole, Helen Wallace, Lady Wallace of Saltaire
1966–1967 George C. Marshall 56 Jean Rey & Hendrik Brugmans Goenawan Mohamad
1965–1966 Thomas More 52 Hendrik Brugmans Adrien Zeller, Josef Joffe, Nigel Forman
1964–1965 Robert Schuman 45 Salvador de Madariaga & Hendrik Brugmans Lars-Jacob Krogh
1963–1964 Thomas Paine 48 Hendrik Brugmans Helmut Türk
1962–1963 August Vermeylen 46 Pierre Harmel & Hendrik Brugmans György Schöpflin
1961–1962 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 37 Hugo Geiger & Hendrik Brugmans Albert Rohan
1960–1961 Saint-Simon 38 Hendrik Brugmans Leif Terje Løddesøl
1959–1960 Sully 43 Hendrik Brugmans Torolf Raa, Gabriel Fragnière
1958–1959 Fridtjof Nansen 40 Hendrik Brugmans Franz Ceska, Frans Alphons Maria Alting von Geusau
1957–1958 Henry the Navigator 40 Hendrik Brugmans Guy Spitaels
1956–1957 Raoul Dautry 36 Hendrik Brugmans Jim Oberstar
1955–1956 Virgil 33 Hendrik Brugmans Francesco Paolo Fulci
1954–1955 Alcide De Gasperi 36 Hendrik Brugmans
1953–1954 Erasmus 39 Hendrik Brugmans Ian McIntyre
1952–1953 Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk 40 Hendrik Brugmans Jon Ola Norbom, Otto von der Gablentz
1951–1952 Juan Vives 30 Hendrik Brugmans
1950–1951 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 35 Hendrik Brugmans Werner Ungerer, Gaetano Adinolfi
1949 Préparatoire (no name) 22 Victor Van Hoestenberghe & Salvador de Madariaga


Notable alumni[edit]

Many former students of the college, referred to as anciens (French for alumni), have gone on to serve as government ministers, members of various parliaments, diplomats and high-ranking civil servants and executives.

A list of all alumni from 1949 to 1999 is included in the book The College of Europe. Fifty Years of Service to Europe (1999), edited by Dieter Mahncke, Léonce Bekemans and Robert Picht.

Alumni of note of the College of Europe (from 1949) include

Alumni of note of the College of Europe in Natolin, Poland (from 1993) include:

  • Gert Antsu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to Ukraine
  • Jarosław Domański, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Marija Pejčinović Burić, Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
  • Alyn Smith, Scottish member of the European Parliament
  • Olesea Stamate, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova
  • Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, former member of the Polish Sejm, former Polish member of the European Parliament, former Polish Minister of Administration and Digitization, former Secretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Controversy concerning Saudi Arabia[edit]

In February 2019, a series of press pieces published by EUobserver[77] revealed that the Bruges-based institute was paid by the Saudi government to set up private meetings between Saudi ambassadors, EU officials, and MEPs.[78] Although EU lobby transparency rules say that academic institutions should register if they "deal with EU activities and policies and are in touch with the EU institutions", the College of Europe is not listed in the EU joint-transparency register.[77] On 13 February, MEP Alyn Smith of Greens/EFA wrote to ask Jörg Monar, Rector of the College of Europe, to provide assurances that the institute has not received "financial contributions from the Saudi authorities in any form" in its efforts to set up meetings with the EU institutions.[79] On 20 February, Marietje Schaake of the ALDE group presented a written question to the European Commission on this issue.[80][81] This written question was the subject of a response from the European Commission published on 17 May in which it explained not having any direct evidence as to the facts reported, nor being able to comment on the sources of revenue of the College of Europe beyond European subsidies.[82] A group of College alumni collected signatures to demand the institution to stop organising private meetings between MEPs and the Saudi government.[83]

In a letter to the President of the European Parliament's Budget Control Committee Ingeborg Gräßle, Jörg Monar, Rector of the College of Europe, confirmed the organization of trainings for Saudi officials and criticized the media for reporting them as lobbying. The rector indicated that these meetings had no lobbying dimension but sought to show to the Saudis the reasons why the Union defended certain values, privileging communication over isolation to defend European values.[84][85]

Inside Arabia Online, an online publication, characterised the lobbying by Saudi Arabia as part of a concerted effort to reverse the Kingdom's inclusion on the EU's "blacklist", which intends to penalize countries failing to combat terrorism financing and money laundering.[86]

Allegations of sexual harassment and misogyny[edit]

The French language weekly news magazine Le Vif/L'Express published an article on 21 February 2019 based on the testimony of former students from recent years. The article reported a culture of sexual harassment and misogyny at the College of Europe. Cases of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour were described in the magazine, including frotteurism, forced kisses and groping. Various students reported to Le Vif/L’Express that the administration observes a code of silence on this issue. Cases of inappropriate behaviours by the academic staff were also reported. Contacted by Le Vif/L’Express magazine, the administration replied that: "In some occasions in the past, some students have crossed the personal barriers of other students".[87] On 5 March 2019, a former student of the College of Europe, published an opinion in Le Vif/L’Express magazine, stating that a culture of sexual harassment and misogyny existed at the College of Europe when she was studying there.[88]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Le rôle du Collège d'Europe" [The role of the College of Europe], Journal de Bruges et de la Province, 7 October 1950, Vol. 114, No. 78, p. 1
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Further reading[edit]

  • Karel Verleye, De stichting van het Europacollege te Brugge, Stichting Ryckevelde, 1989.
  • Dieter Mahncke, Léonce Bekemans, Robert Picht, The College of Europe. Fifty Years of Service to Europe, College of Europe, Bruges, 1999. ISBN 9080498319. Includes a list of all graduates 1949–1999.
  • Paul Demaret, Inge Govaere, Dominik Hanf (eds), Dynamiques juridiques européennes. Edition revue et mise à jour de 30 ans d'études juridiques européennes au Collège d'Europe, Cahiers du Collège d'Europe, P. I. E. Peter Lang, Brussels, 2007.

External links[edit]