Many tourists and locals in Brussels don’t realize that they can actually visit European Parliament and get a glimpse of this giant institution representing the pillar of European unity and democracy. Parliamentarium, the European Parliament’s Visitors’ Centre, opened in October 2011 and was already visited by 1.5 million people.
European Parliament and EU quarter are considered a must-see for anyone coming to Brussels. Still, a lot of people miss the opportunity to discover the amazing world inside the ‘EU bubble’ as Brusseleirs like to call the neighborhood where corridors of power are located.
Parlamentarium is the largest parliamentary visitors’ centre in Europe and amazingly, fully operational in 24 official EU languages. The idea of this new age museum is to give insight into the daily work of the European Parliament, explain how decisions are made, and to offer a bigger picture on how Europe was built and how modern EU became what it is now. The museum uses a lot of interesting interactive multimedia tools to create a memorable experience of European political process and to familiarize visitors with the daily work of Members of the EU Parliament.
Temporary Exhibitions Worth Seeing
Parlamentarium regularly organizes temporary exhibitions in its premises, always trying to portray another dimension of European history and politics. Currently, a very interesting expo ‘State of Deception‘ is on display; it deals with the topic of propaganda, particularly with the power it had during the times of Nazi regime.
The issue of using propaganda to achieve political goals is in some ways always ‘actual’ which makes this expo even more interesting for visitors. The artifacts offer astonishing insight into several key aspects of Nazi propaganda and the power it had on the masses.
Propaganda is biased information designed to shape public opinion and behavior. Adolf Hitler said in 1924: “Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert”. This exhibition also sheds light on the sophisticated technologies and techniques that Nazi regime used to disseminate their propaganda. Sophisticated designs, posters, images, audio, film, broadcasts, even toys, parades and other mediums were used to spread the messages and target the opponents.
The State of Deception is a travelling exhibition produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, but the current expo in the Parlamentarium also offers unique chance to see some original objects and posters which were borrowed for this purpose from a Brussels’ collector. This exhibition runs until May 13, 2018.
It is good to know that Parlamentarium keeps its doors open seven days a week and the entrance is free of charge. A visit normally takes around 90 minutes, but visitors can opt for shorter tours that are available for families and school groups. For more details visit the official website.
House of European History
If you feel that you want to learn more about Europe, visit a nearby newcomer to the Brussels’ museum scene, the House of European History. It is a place where common European myths, challenges and hopes are brought together. The goal of this museum is to present a unifying image of diverse European nations and take visitors on a journey along the path of Europe’s history. Museum takes pride that it serves as a reservoir of European memory, a point where Europe’s common history and shared memories reflect on the present and visualize the future.
Visitors can learn about the history of Europe and the process of integration, also in 24 European languages. The visit is free of charge. The House of European History is located in the beautiful, renovated Eastman Building in Parc Léopold,behind the European Parliament. You may find more info on the official website.
Visiting the House of European History and Parlamentarium will provide you with a complete picture about European Union, its history, politics and ideals that are at the core of its existence.