University of Leicester
2018SIMANSONSRSPhD.pdf (1.66 MB)

Europe’s Journey to Modernity: Developing the House of European History in Brussels

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posted on 2019-01-31, 15:11 authored by Raivis Simansons
This thesis investigates the historiographical and museological aspects of the House of European History (HEH). This new museum was developed by the European Parliament in Brussels between 2007 and 2017, being conceived as an additional contribution to the European Union’s identity, integration and communication agendas. It is partially ethnographic in nature and focuses on the development process of the HEH during its conceptualization and production phase, from March 2011 to May 2017. During this period the author was an integral part of the Academic Project Team, which was charged with creating the HEH. In seeking to address the central question – What is the House of European History as a museological act? – the thesis examines the nexus between history, memory and political power, from which a distinctive, new type of historical museum emerged in Germany that emphasised the importance of people’s living memory. Drawing upon the German House of History concept and the methodology offered by conceptual history, this study highlights how a contemporary museum can be developed as a concrete and symbolic manifestation of political power. The production of this new historical museum in the political capital of Europe was born through political ambition, rooted in European history politics, influenced by the vagaries of Parliamentary bureaucracy and dependent for its form and content upon a micro-network of non-governmental actors drawn from European museum scene.



Knell, Simon; Watson, Sheila

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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