Europe's printed memory - a new treasure in Strasbourg
In 2010, the BNU was able to acquire from a private collector an exceptional collection of 4 156 posters on the subject of Europe - not only on its construction, the functioning of its institutions, and the related elections, but also on the use made of it in advertising, the media in general, and the cinema. In addition to the great variety of themes, there is also a wide linguistic range - virtually all the EU countries are represented in the collection.
This makes the BNU one of the very few institutions in Europe able to boast such a rich collection. The national libraries have their own collections that represent their own countries, but only Strasbourg can claim to have in one place such a graphic treasure in which all the main countries of the EU are represented.
This incomparable visual memory could not be conserved in a more appropriate place than the largest library in the city and the region that are themselves symbols of the European Union. That is why the BNU's missions felt that the acquisition of such a collection was justified, despite the substantial financial investment it involves. Europe is indeed one of the BNU's areas of excellence.
Following the transfer of the Council of Europe's extensive library to the BNU in 2009, this new and prestigious acquisition not only gives the centre of excellence a new face, but also gives it greater credibility as it constitutes a welcome counterbalance to the acquisition policy that has until now focused on books and periodicals. Europe in Strasbourg is thus enriched by a deliberate documentary policy, and the BNU is henceforth one of its showcases.
The interest of the collection, however, goes far beyond the documents the library is able to offer. For the European institutions established in Strasbourg, it constitutes both a stock of archives and a reservoir of images - it is of interest to the city, one of Europe's official capitals, which has indeed itself become a symbol to be found on a number of the posters, and it is also part of the memory of a region that has always seen itself as a bridge between East and West, and whose European vocation has always brought people together.
The collection comprises the following major groups:
- 804 posters covering the entire twentieth century, on the theme of Europe, covering politics, culture and travel
- 597 posters referring to the European elections in the various EU countries, from 1979 to 2009
- 596 posters from the European institutions (Commission, Council, Parliament, etc)
- 250 anti-Europe posters from associations, political parties, citizen initiatives, etc
- 71 posters illustrating the relationship between Switzerland and Europe and the ideas behind European construction
- 23 very large format posters on all these topics
- lastly, 1 815 posters from the European institutions (in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg) for in-house use, announcing lectures, exhibitions, workshops, etc, and language variations for all these topics