The Council of Europe Museum Prize

The Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2016 – which is a recognition of excellence – has been awarded to the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk. It is worth reminding that in the first year of activity in the new seat at 1 Solidarity Square in Gdańsk ECS was visited by 390 thousand guests.


A shortlist of three museums was selected from 49 candidates.

According to the rapporteur on the Museum Prize in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Vesna Marjanovic (Serbia, SOC), this museum is “a fascinating example of a cultural institution working to promote freedom and solidarity. The events it recounts and its programme make it a forum for modern Europe. It succeeds in making the history of the trade union Solidarność a powerful and moving source of inspiration for civic engagement and action. The Centre connects history with life and makes a direct link between culture and democracy.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, thoughts are returning of building new walls. The European Solidarity Centre’s aim is to provide factual back-up for organisations working for the common good, freedom and human rights”.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA). It has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage as a factor uniting the Council of Europe’s 47 member states. This prestigious prize is awarded based on the recommendations of the EMYA Judging Panel, by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The winning museum will be presented with a bronze statuette, “La femme aux beaux seins” by Joan Miró, which the museum will keep for a year, together with a diploma. The final choice is decided on the basis of a shortlist presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum

Recent winners of the prize include the MUCEM in Marseille, France (2015), the Baksi Museum in Turkey (2014) and the Museum of Liverpool in the United Kingdom (2013).

ECS was honoured by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris on the 4th of December 2015. The awarding ceremony took place on April 19th 2016, during a plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly.