Historical Archives By / May 21, 2014

The first hemicycle of the European Parliament

During its first years of activity, the European Parliament held its plenary sittings in different locations, made available by other…

by kind permission of the Nerone Giovanni Ceccarelli Archive

The first hemicycle of the European Parliament

During its first years of activity, the European Parliament held its plenary sittings in different locations, made available by other Institutions or by the hosting countries.

It was only in 1973, with the construction of the Schuman building in Luxembourg, that the European Parliament decided to equip its premises with a hemicycle for its meetings.

The hemicycle

The first hemicycle of the European Parliament
Pieter DANKERT

Located on the first floor of the building, the big rectangular room (28 x 20 metres) was designed specifically to host the plenary sittings of the European Parliament, which at the time comprised 142 people. The room was subsequently enlarged following the accession of the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland in 1973.

The hemicycle is still in use, and can accommodate up to 208 persons. It has interpretation rooms for 8 different languages, and on the upper floor, the gallery and press room can host up to 200 people.

The first plenary sitting using the hemicycle was held on 4 April 1973.

The decor

The first hemicycle of the European Parliament
by kind permission of the Nerone Giovanni Ceccarelli Archive

The hemicycle is beautifully decorated following a project by the architect Simonis, combining different materials (leather, wood, metal) in a geometrical harmony, the whole integrated by the zinc bas-relief on the rear wall. This work of art is signed by the Italian artists Nerone Ceccarelli and Giancarlo Patuzzi from the group NP2 of Turin and dated 1972.

The hemicycle is beautifully decorated following a project by the architect Simonis, combining different materials (leather, wood, metal) in a geometrical harmony, the whole integrated by the zinc bas-relief on the rear wall.

This work of art is signed by the Italian artists Nerone Ceccarelli and Giancarlo Patuzzi from the group NP2 of Turin and dated 1972.

The zinc models were engraved using an etching technique, representing geometrical and abstract figures, and mounted on a surface of 150 square metres. The bas-relief was considered at the time to be the biggest sculpture in metal of the world.

The room soon grew too small to host the growing parliamentary assembly (410 deputies were elected in 1979), but has remained in use, often hosting important meetings and events.


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