From the mid-twentieth century to date, Strasbourg has constantly reinforced its role as capital of Europe. Two key dates in this respect are:
1949: creation of the Council of Europe and its related institutions
1992: confirmation of Strasbourg as the seat of the European Parliament
The University of Strasbourg opened up very quickly to its European environment – 1953 saw the creation of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Européennes (I.H.E.E.), followed by the Centre d'Etudes Internationales et Européenne (C.E.I.E.) in 1963. This gave the initial boost to the subsequent multiplication of courses and diplomas in European studies, particularly in the fields of law, politics, administration, and economics.
This very dynamic institutional and academic context was the reason for the BNU deciding in 1992 to create a “Europe” centre of excellence.
Its aim is two-fold – to bring together in one place the study and research collections for use by both an academic public of students and teaching staff and the general public.
About 1 000 titles and 150 subscriptions to periodicals are added to this specialised collection each year; it currently comprises 15 000 works, in the following fields:
- History of Europe and European countries since 1945
- European institutions, political unification (treaties, constitution) and enlargement
- Security of frontiers (Schengen Area) and defence (Eurocorps)
- Community law and comparative law
- Economic and monetary Europe
- Social Europe (standard of living, leisure activities, health, etc)
- Europe and young people, training courses and school and university systems
- The future – the environment, energy, etc
In addition to these areas, the “Europe” centre of excellence also relies on all the collections the BNU has constituted since its creation in 1871, which are highly representative of European civilisation. The BNU has always maintained this approach, and even today the library’s acquisitions in philosophy, religious sciences, languages and literature, and the arts all add, by the diversity of their disciplinary approaches, to the expansion and completion of the centre’s documentary coverage.
Deposit of the Council of Europe’s library (2007)
The decision on this was the culmination of a decade of very active partnership between the Council of Europe and the BNU. It is above all a mark of the trust of a prestigious institution that sees the BNU as the right library to ensure the conservation and enhancement of its collections, and to provide easy access for the public.
In 2009, a number of important collections will be added to those already at the BNU not only on the political issues of the construction and enlargement of Europe, but also in the fields of international relations, parliamentary history, diplomacy, education, and the environment.
In this way the BNU is confirming its undeniable European dimension on the local, national and international documentary scene.
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