Palace of the European Commission of the Danube

The EHL Site

The Palace of the European Commission of the Danube (ECD) was built in 1896 on Mihai Bravu St. in Galaţi, Romania to serve as the Commission’s administrative headquarters. The ECD, created in the wake of the Crimean War, was the second international organization in the world and the first international institution to have the word “European” in its name.

The construction of the Palace was carried out by the Romanian Society for Construction and Public Works, whose president at the time was Prince Ghika. It was inaugurated on April 29, 1896, in the presence of Karl Kuhl, the organization’s chief engineer. The Palace housed the General Secretariat, the archives, the library, and the plenary hall and provided accommodation for some of the officials. Following its destruction in WWI German-Bulgarian bombing raids, it was rebuilt by the Romanian Company of Enterprises in Bucharest between June 23, 1922 and May 10, 1923, in the form still visible today. The ECD operated in this building until its dissolution in 1948.

Since 1968, the Palace has served as the home of the “V.A. Urechia” County Library Galaţi, a public institution under the aegis of the Galaţi County Council.

European dimension

The ECD’s principal mission was to ensure good navigation and regulate trade at the mouth of the Danube and in adjacent maritime areas. Although it started out as a technical organization, it evolved into a complex institution which maintained peace in a vulnerable region wedged between Europe’s rival empires. The ECD served as a good communication platform for delegates from eight European countries and provided the basis for a legal status for the staff of international institutions (international civil service). Regulations drawn up by the Commission have been adopted by Member States and other states around the world, becoming part of national law and showing the benefits of working together for the common good. The ECD promoted the principles of international and transnational collaboration which are part of today’s European values and principles and served as a model of collaboration for the development of a more peaceful and prosperous Europe.

The organization

Today, the Palace of the European Commission of the Danube is owned by the Galaţi County Council and administered by the “V.A. Urechia” County Library Galaţi, one of the largest county libraries in Romania. The Library boasts an impressive special collection which includes incunabula, old printed books, rare maps, engravings, photographs, etc., a large collection of Romanian periodicals, an American Shelf, audiovisual media collections, as well as general collections for children and adults. We regularly organize book launches, exhibitions, concerts, and other cultural events. Since 2022, when the building was awarded the European Heritage Label, we have also organized EHL events and competitions meant to celebrate our local heritage.