European Cultural Centre

The European Cultural Centre was established in Geneva in 1950 by the European Movement, on the basis of a resolution adopted at the 1948 Congress of Europe. Under the directorship of Swiss philospher Denis de Rougemont (1906-85), who had drafted the ‘Message to Europeans’ at the Congress, the Centre was particularly important during the first half of the 1950s in taking practical steps to foster cultural and academic cooperation across Europe in many forms. It was closely involved in the development of the College of Europe in Bruges and the founding of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. The Centre was also central to the creation of the European Cultural Foundation (see below), Foyers de Culture in various European countries, the European Bureau for Adult Education, the Association of Institutes for European Studies, the European (Music) Festivals Association, and the European Community of Book Clubs. The Centre remained under de Rougemont’s direction until his death in 1985, and reflecting his evolving interests, its focus moved towards promoting a ‘Europe of the regions’. It was wound up in 2001. De Rougemont also established the Institute of European Studies in Geneva in 1963 (now part of the city’s university), where the Centre’s archives are deposited.

The European Cultural Foundation was established in 1954, as an offshoot of the Centre. Initially located in Geneva and now based in Amsterdam, it played an important role in promoting a continent-wide network of educational and cultural bodies, and in campaigning for the development of cultural policy at European level. An independent, non-profit organization, the Foundation is now funded mainly from Dutch private-sector and charitable sources. It awards grants for innovative work in the fields of culture, arts and the media, and holds seminars on current issues, in conjunction with its network of national committees. The ECF was the model for a similar European Foundation proposed in the 1976 Tindemans Report on European Union, but no progress was made on this proposal, partly because of objections from the Dutch government.

Further reading: Mary Jo Deeing (editor), Denis de Rougemont: L’Éuropéen, 1991.

September 2012

Copyright: Anthony Teasdale, 2012

Citation: The Penguin Companion to European Union (2012), additional website entry


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