Towards the beginning of 1955, when the first students moved into their apartments at the Europa-Kolleg, the process of European Integration had just begun. The Treaty on European Coal and Steel Community had been signed just a few years before and the European Community was nothing more than a vague idea. From that point onwards the process of European Integration was about to be observed, examined and described by the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg.

Bruno Snell had promoted the foundation of the Kolleg since the beginning of the 1950s. As an ancient philologist Snell had studied the early European ideas of the ancient Greek, and as a human being he witnessed the terror of the Nazi dictatorship. Both events shaped his vision of a democratic and united Europe. In his position as the rector of the Hamburg University he expressed this idea repeatedly and finally on July 31st constitute the foundation Europa-Kolleg Hamburg.

Initially the new institution focused on highly qualified local and foreign students from various disciplines. They were supposed to live and study under one roof. In the 1960s different advanced education and postdoctoral opportunities are added.

In 1978 the “Institut für Integrationsforschung” (today: The Institute for European Integration) was founded. It became part of the Europa-Kolleg and an academic institution at the University of Hamburg. Thereby the organizational framework for the further development of research expertise was created.

Three decades later another milestone was achieved with the introduction of the post graduate programme (“Integrationsforschung”), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). From this program 45 postgraduate students arose. In the year 1998 the Europa-Kolleg launched the postgraduate study course “Master of European Studies”. In 2009 this programme was integrated into our existing program “Master of European and European Legal Studies”.

The work of the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg has been well appreciated for its contribution to German and European academic community. “Emerged from the experience and the foresightedness of its founder, the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg has developed into an institution which the German academic community cannot be imagined without.”, said the former president of the European commission Romano Prodi in his greeting remarks on occasion of the 50th linkage of university education and practical European politics, which was far ahead of his time then, has proved itself”.