On Saturday 4 May 2019, the European institutions will open their doors to the public in a festive, family atmosphere. Throughout the day, citizens can stroll through the EU's emblematic buildings and discover how the institutions work in practice. The hemicycle of the European Parliament, the meeting room of the European Commission, the Europa building and meeting places of Heads of State and Government are just some of the spaces open to visitors.
This year, the day will be themed around the European elections to highlight the importance of the democratic process in the European Union. Through its programme of activities, workshops, meetings and games, the event will invite citizens to make their voices heard.
Choosing the future
The election of a new European Parliament, the only directly elected institution of the European Union, concerns 500 millions Europeans. The challenges it faces are significant: managing migration flows, security, protection of the environment and employment are among the most important…At the European elections 23-26 May, Europeans will have a chance to choose their future, not only for themselves but also for those who will inherit their decisions. A decisive act that will shape the future of the continent and its role in the world for years to come. Full information about the European elections can be found on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/at-your-service/en/be-heard/elections and on the awareness raising website www.thistimeimvoting.eu.
Europe Day partners with Brussels-Capital Region festivities
Europe Day will be organized in partnership with the Iris Festival, which celebrates the anniversary of the Brussels-Capital Region. From 1–5 May, marking 30 years of the Brussels Region and 150 years of the Brussels tram, the Belgian capital is putting on a huge number of original activities for visitors at various locations across the region. From the European Tram Driver Championship to the unmissable Electro Night, including a spectacular fireworks display, there will be a host of free activities celebrating both of these anniversaries. An event not to be missed.
Every year the Iris Festival celebrates the Brussels-Capital Region. It is worth noting that on 16 May 1991 the iris was adopted by the Brussels Parliament as the symbol of the Brussels Region.
Next 1 May, Brussels will be launching a week of festivities. Only 30 years ago, the BrusselsCapital Region was created and 150 years ago the first tram appeared on the streets. Numerous activities have been programmed to highlight these two events. The Belgian capital will also be on exhibition with the European Tram Driver Championship organised by the Brussels Public Transport System (STIB).
Free Open Day bus
During the event, free vintage buses will circulate in the European quarter between the participating institutions and bodies. This year is the first time that the route connects to the Park and the ongoing European Tram Drivers Championship.
With the Open Day, the institutions remember and celebrate French foreign minister and founding father of the EU Robert Schuman's declaration of 9 May 1950. In this declaration, he proposed that France and Germany share their natural resources in a bid to make conflict between the countries 'not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible'. Other European nations joined the endeavour, which made European cooperation a reality.
This year is the 27th edition of the Open Day in Brussels. Taking part: the European Parliament, the European Council and Council of the EU, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions and the House of European History.
For more information you can visit europeday.europa.eu.
Planning to report on the event? Want to discuss a new angle or the possibility of interviewing political personalities present at the event? Do you have specific technical/logistical needs? Contact us:
Press Officer – European Parliament
+32-2-284 38 08
+32-470 88 03 33
Press Advisor to the European Parliament
+32 – 475 44 17 21
Press Officer – Council of the European Union/European Council
+32-2-281 89 14
+32-473 86 54 37
Press Officer – European Commission
+32-2-299 87 21
+32-484 50 80 16
Press Officer – European Economic and Social Committee
+32-2-546 97 93
Press Officer – European Committee of the Regions
+32-2-282 24 99
Strategic Communication – European External Action Service
+32-2-584 33 10
+32 460 84 33 10
Press officer – Visit.Brussels
Opening ceremony on the Esplanade
At 9:40 Alain Hutchinson, Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations, and Els Gossé, Échevine for Ixelles Commune will officially declare the day open.
A discovery path
A path through the main building of the European Parliament will teach visitors the basics about the European Parliament and its daily life. Assistants will also be available to answer any questions.
European democracy in the focus
- The interactive map of the 'What Europe does for me' page will allow everyone to find out how the European Union benefits the life of its citizens and regions.
- Knowledge café - European Parliament staff will answer visitors' questions about The European Union on a variety of topics: security, social protection, consumer protection, the environment, human rights, migration, growth and the future of Europe.
Representing you - Meeting the political groups that represent Europeans and see what their priorities are.
Briefings and tours
- Hemicycle briefing explain what goes on inside the debating and voting plenary chamber, starting from 10.30 onwards with the last briefing at 17.00. Briefings last for around 30 minutes each and include a Q&A session. Briefings in English and in Dutch will be given every 30 minutes (from 10:30 onwards). Briefings in French and in German will be held every 30 minutes (from 10:45 onwards).
Art tour - The European Parliament will be giving two tours of the Parliament's art collection, in English, at 11:00 and 15:00.
Hands on Interactive programs
A series of interactive hands on programs, such as the true or false quiz, a virtual reality experience, interpretation and audio booth activities or children's voting booths invite everyone to learn about the EU and the European Parliament in a fun atmosphere. Visitors will have the chance to send a postcard to their friend or families, take home a photo as a souvenir and pick a gift before leaving to the next destination.
DJ stage on Place du Luxembourg
An open-air DJ stage from 14:00 until 20:00.
14:00 DJ Kwak - Timeless classics and discoveries in funk, soul and beyond.
16:00 L-Fêtes - A musical journey through 80s, house, nu disco and hip hop.
18:00 DJ Konna - Forward thinking music from techno and trance to house and disco
Esplanade open-air programme
A festival atmosphere awaits outside the European Parliament Open Day entrance:
- Bike fanfare : a surprisingly musical six-seat bike.
- Les Grandes Personnes : Giant marionnettes
- Vespaudio : Rock 'n' Roll and boogie of the 1960s with a vintage Vespa scooter and sidecar.
- Circus: spectacular circus skills such as juggling, unicycle, magic tricks and acrobatic show
- Sway Pole: high-flying acrobatic artists atop freestanding poles.
Democracy Now & Then: mini-festival at the House of European History
Thematic guided tours on democracy - From Athens to the present day, is democracy a fixed part of our heritage or something that is always evolving? This 45-minute tour will highlight objects in the permanent exhibition that show the changing nature of democracy.
Workshop and debate - Share stories of democracy, voting and civic engagement to co-create visual atmospheres and soundscapes, and debate the role of elections in transitions to democracy and during times of crisis.
- Family activities - Take a special children's guided tour, illustrate their dreams for Europe's future, write headlines from history and live European history through board games or a giant version of snakes and ladders.
Berlaymont, 10:00 to 19:00 (last entrance at 18:00)
- 10:00 - Opening Ceremony in the presence of Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner in charge of Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management.
- Throughout the day, visitors will be able to discover 30 stands situated inside and outside the Berlaymont. They can learn more about the actions and policies carried out by the European Commission through leisure and interactive activities, with a specific focus on what the European Union does for EU citizens and the European elections.
- 10:00-18:30 - Guided tour of the 13th floor of the European Commission (meeting room of the College of Commissioners)
- 10:00-18:30 - New! Visit of the pressroom, audio-visual studios, and the cinema room, where visitors can watch short films by European directors as part of the EUandME campaign.
11:00-18:30 - Series of debates in the presence of European Commission officials - Salle Schuman
Examples of themes: What role does Europe play in tackling climate change? What does Europe do for my region? What does the Common Agriculture Policy do for you? VolontEUring for Europe – promoting cooperation and active citizenship; Success stories in the field of EU Research and Innovation…
Leisure and interactive activities: Visitors will be able to
- Take control of an rescEU airplane simulator;
- Test the new tools of urban mobility (Segway's, monowheels or electric scooters) and get useful tips and tricks on how to be safe when using them;
- Step into the shoes of an Anti-Fraud Office investigator or a customs officer;
- Enter into the virtual reality of fighting organised crime and terror threats on the game platform used by the police for training;
- Learn more about the role of the EU in ensuring secure, safe and quality food for all EU citizens;
- Live the interpreting experience at the European Commission;
- Enrich their knowledge of the European Union through exhibitions, games and... much more!
Outdoor activities on the Berlaymont esplanade: wall of expressions about the future of Europe in the context of the next EU Elections, circus artists, dancers, musicians, animations and games including a Giant European Game of the Goose.
The 7th edition of the Bread Festival (Schuman roundabout and Petite rue de la Loi, 10:00 to 21:00)
A giant European bakery set up by Schuman Square, a non-profit organization, gathers many professionals sharing their passion, art and professional expertise on the Schuman Roundabout. The festival hosts various activities, such as bread and product tasting from all regions of Europe and beyond (India), and offers, this year, special activities for kids.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND COUNCIL OF THE eu
Curious to see the iconic Europa building? Visitors can go for a guided tour of "the house of the EU member states", the seat of the European Council. Tours will start from the Justus Lipsius building on Rue de la Loi 175 and end in the Europa building. Guided tours start between 10h00 and 17h00.
In the Justus Lipsius building, several information stands will provide an insight into the two institutions, EU member states and much more, in an informative and entertaining way.
- Meet the member states: Meet the EU member states and find out their role in the Council of the EU and the European Council. Dive into the culture and beauty of each and every country and don't miss their performances.
- #EUcouncil online: Engage in our interactive games and share your experience at the Council on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Kids' corner: Have some fun while learning about Europe. All ages are welcome!
- Quiz: Test your knowledge on the EU with this quiz and win attractive prizes!
- Green Office: Discover why and how the Council is a green environment.
- Creative services: Discover publications by the Council on European issues.
- Information Service - Production Services - Treaties and Agreements: Allow the archivists to take you on a trip through time and library staff to inform you on access to our reading room.
- Traineeships: Meet our trainees, who are happy to share their experiences with you.
- Translation services: Learn more about multilingualism and how the translators work.
And do not miss our new engaging video portraits of European citizens!
European External Action Service
Rond-Point Schuman 9A, 1046 Brussels
From 10:00 to 18:00, visitors will learn about the European Union's foreign policy and the EU as a global actor. They will be able to explore stands showcasing the EU's work globally, including activities of its civilian and military missions and operations, and speak with EU diplomats, experts and military personnel. While embarking on a tour of the EU around the world, visitors will be able to collect stamps in their passports, play geography quizzes, and step in the role of #EUAmbassadorFor1Day. EEAS will also feature a kids' corner and several interactive performances.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE
99 rue Belliard, 1040 Brussels
Visit the only institution representing organised civil society in Europe (employers, workers and various interests groups such as professional and community associations, youth organisations, women's groups, consumers, environmentalists and many more.) and learn how the EESC works. Find out about our Committee and discuss with the EESC's members to understand their role in the EU's decision-making process. You can discover all that during the Open day!
Information booths, interactive activities for all, a photo point, a special space for children and concerts.
EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
Visit the institution representing the EU's cities and regions and learn more about its role and activities.
- Experience Europe's diversity with our stands of European regions and cities, each highlighting flagship products from their city/region, such as arts, crafts, food and beverages.
- See the benefits brought by the EU at local/regional level with numerous stands presenting the variety of EU-funded projects in regions and cities
- Interactive quizzes on the 25th anniversary of the European Committee of the Regions and information stands of its five political groups.
- Opportunity to take part in the online survey "Have Your Say on Europe" and learn more about the three campaigns of the Committee on the "Future of Europe", "#CohesionAlliance" and "Regions getting results"
- Entertainment for children and adults, such as balloon sculptures and hairstyling
- Don't forget to have your photo taken as a souvenir of your visit!