Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466-1536) was a theologian and philosopher, regarded as one of the great humanists of the Renaissance. His extensive and eclectic work covers many topics, such as pedagogy, moral, religious and political philosophy, rhetoric, as well as translation. Erasmus led a life of roaming, journeying throughout Europe to expand his knowledge of Greco-Roman intellectual heritage, but also to teach. ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a man’, he said, ‘through education and culture.’ In 1508, Erasmus published The Praise of Folly, a satirical work that stands as a testament to his great independence of mind. A committed philanthropist, he defended the values of tolerance and peace through to the end of his days.
By choosing the name Erasmus, the Court of Justice of the European Union pays tribute to the man who was at times seen as the first European, who helped, through his numerous journeys and through translation, to bring cultures together around humanist ideals.
The Erasmus building was the first extension of the Palais. Together with the Thomas More and Themis buildings, it was designed by the Luxembourg architects Paul Fritsch, Jean Herr and Gilbert Huyberechts, along with the Italian architect Bohdan Paczowski. The Erasmus building was completed in 1988, in preparation for the establishment of the General Court in 1989.
Originally, the building was separate from the Palais and only connected to it by a 50-metre long tunnel dug through the rock. Completely renovated between 2009 and 2013, it is now connected to the Palais via the Gallery and its grand staircase.
Clad in pink granite, which harmonises perfectly with the bronze tones of the Palais, the Erasmus building is characterised by large spaces criss-crossed by interior courtyards linked by bridges and walkways made of steel and glass.
Today, this building houses the Judges of the General Court, their chambers and three courtrooms (the Dalsgaard Courtroom and the Pessoa Courtroom, named after the Danish artist and the Portuguese poet respectively, and the Red Courtroom, built in 2022), which are used for public hearings before the General Court.