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Preserving the history of Europe

Posted on 30 September 2019

The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) collect the archives deposited by EU institutions, as well as private papers. On the occasion of #Bright19, ‘la notte dei ricercatori’, we exceptionally opened our doors to the public.

On Saturday 28 September the people of Florence had a unique opportunity to visit the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU). Based in Villa Salviati, overlooking the city of Florence, the archives host the archives deposited by EU institutions, as well as a collection of private papers by founding members of the European project. 

Senior Archivist Mary Carr described the meaning of this special day: ‘The archives are not only of interest to the academic and research community, but to people from all walks of life. They can see something that has been hidden for so long, but is part of the Florentine background.’

Bright-HAEU

Archivist Mary Carr explains the HAEU's collections to open day visitors

One of the exceptional pieces in the collection is part of Altiero Spinelli’s private papers. The Ventotene manifesto by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi is ‘one of the first documents written on a dream. A dream of a united Europe,’ explained HAEU Director Dieter Schlenker. The Manifesto was written in 1941, when Spinelli and Rossi were exiled to the island of Ventotene by Italy’s fascist government. The document was smuggled out under difficult circumstances.

The archives host a total of 8 kilometres in paper files and more than 30,000 files are already available online. 

Relive the event through the video below.