It is intellectually extremely important for the Central European region, which is so multinational and coloured by oppositions and conflicts, to handle / treat the history of its population in a comparative manner. This may seem easy, given the fact that for nearly 400 years people here lived in a multicultural and multi-ethnic setting. Even our history existed in this context. In this region the existence of the Habsburg Monarchy defined the period, from the 16th century to the 20th century, nearly 400 years. The conflicts, the mechanisms of integration and disintegration, the cultural, social and political interaction, the economic developments all occurred in the framework of the Habsburg Monarchy. Their character, their strength changed – even the borders of the monarchy altered as well–, but the fact that Habsburg times was the integral part of the region did not change at all. The national historiography of each country took a standpoint  

 The national historiographies – understandably – took a standpoint of their own and cut up this common history accordingly.


The intellectual processes of the last third of the 20th century discovered this common past, which existed once and was since enhanced with new points of view. This process was greatly helped by the fact that the majority of the former members of the Habsburg Monarchy have become member states of the European Union, which is “United in diversity” according to its motto. The intellectual processes and the membership of the EU reinforced the intellectual urge to reach further than national level and connect the local with the global.

The Institute of Habsburg History was founded in 2003. The change in the horizons of the history of science, a clearer awareness of the rediscovered wider contexts of the past and the significance of the European contexts in the light of political changes played a crucial role in its foundation.

The Institute of Habsburg History is a result and a beginning at the same time. It is the institutionalised beginning of the intellectual changes, which enable us to rediscover our shared past. In 2011 the Hungarian government decided to bring the Public Endowment providing the legal grounds for The Institute of Habsburg History to an end and to affiliate it into the Public Endowment for the Research on Central and Eastern European History and Society.


András Gerő

Director General of the Institute of Habsburg History”