It used to be a place where disadvantaged children could get their teeth checked. It’s now the House of European History, with a permanent exhibit of more than 4,000 square meters on foundational events in Europe’s recent history up to the present day.
This Bible belonged to a German soldier during the First World War. It literally saved his life when his shelter was bombed and a 4cm-long piece of shrapnel came to be lodged there. It's just one out of 1,500 original objects hand-picked from 35 countries to be part of a new, transnational history museum opening this week in Brussels. Today in 2017 we are seeing the rise of nationalism in many European states and so it is even more important to remember Europe's history and where things lead when each country says, 'we are the best.' It leads to wars. We have to remember that we as Europeans belong together. The brainchild of the Parliament's former President, the House of European History takes visitors from the French revolution up to today, showcasing times of war as well as peace. Meant as a place for debate, the museum does not claim to define European identity. The line to take is: we need to debate, we need to discuss and to study and to know our history, our 70 years of freedom and peace I think is important. The spiral at the building's heart sets the tone: history is in flux, depending on how you look at it.