To repair, repairing: colonial memory in the House of European History




House of European History, Colonial Memory, Coloniality, Reparations


Through a discursive analysis of its founding documents, curatorial project, visual and exhibiting rhetoric and the objects that gradually integrated its collection, this article critically addresses the way in which colonialism and its afterlives are thought and displayed (or not) at the House of European History, in Brussels. This museum inaugurated in 2017 under the initiative of the European Parliament with the goal of telling a “transnational history of Europe and the European integration” in order to “reinforce the conscience of European cultural and civilizational heritage”. The article explores how this museum translates the persistence of a colonial episteme in the present, which feeds on an alleged “common European past” by dislocating it without naming it, and, in doing so, shaping its complex. The article also seeks to answer the following question: how does the recently inaugurated House of European History acknowledges (or not) colonialism as the most common and shared experience of European national histories? And how is this museum answering (or not) the recent demands for reparations and welcoming all of those who have always inhabited the European territory?



How to Cite

Barreiros, I. B. (2023). To repair, repairing: colonial memory in the House of European History. Práticas Da História. Journal on Theory, Historiography and Uses of the Past, (15), 101–149.