In March 1983, an independent cultural centre, Les Halles de Schaerbeek, organised a weekend of discussions in Brussels to enable European independent cultural centres to exchange experiences and participate in events under the theme of “adventures of the rediscovered ark”. This three-day forum focused on the alternative culture emerging in rehabilitated industrial buildings, and how to assert its identity despite the reservations of political authorities.
Seven centres from seven European cities took part in this initial meeting that gave birth to Trans Europe Halles (TEH): Halles de Schaerbeek (Brussels, Belgium), Huset (Copenhagen, Denmark), Kultur Fabrik (Koblenz, Germany), Melkweg (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Ny Scen (Gothenburg, Sweden), Pali Kao (Paris, France) and Rote Fabrik (Zürich, Switzerland). After this initial meeting, delegates from these centres decided to keep on gathering in order to to support each other and develop their ways of working.
Much has happened in the Trans Europe Halles network since then. From the beginning, Trans Europe Halles has organised meetings twice a year for its members as well as major international projects. The network has expanded actively and new members have joined and enriched the network with their experiences and expertise growing to become the prominent cultural actor it is today.
In conjunction with of the 30th anniversary of Trans Europe Halles, TEH Ambassador Sandy Fitzgerald was asked to summarize the history and achievements of the network. His text “30 Years of Trans Europe Halles” can be read and downloaded here.