The College of Europe is characterised by its academic independence, its bilingualism, the diversity of its teaching staff and its multicultural environment, which together create a genuine European "microcosm".

The College of Europe was the world's first university institute of postgraduate studies and training in European affairs, and remains unique and innovative to this day. The College's origins date back to the 1948 Hague Congress when Salvador de Madariaga, a Spanish statesman, thinker and writer in exile, proposed the establishment of a College where university graduates from many different countries could study and live together.

A group of Bruges citizens led by the Reverend Father Karel Verleye were successful in attracting the College to Bruges and Professor Hendrik Brugmans, one of the intellectual leaders of the European Movement at the time, became the first Rector of the College of Europe (1950-1972). In the wake of the changes in Central and Eastern Europe following the fall of Communism, at the invitation of the Polish government and with the support of the European Union, a second campus was opened in Natolin (Warsaw) in 1994. The College now operates as 'one College – two campuses' and what was once referred to as the "esprit de Bruges", is now known as the "esprit du College".

College of Europe