Milestone: Vice President McGuinness welcomes one millionth visitor to Parlamentarium
Marco Alberti simply wanted his children to learn more about Europe, but when he took them to Parlamentarium - the EP's visitors centre - he hadn't counted on being welcomed as the one millionth visitor. A delighted Alberti said: "We are trying to explain to our children what Europe is and thought this would be a good opportunity." The centre, hailed by Tripadvisor as one of the top things to do in Brussels, reached the landmark after having been open for just over three years.
Alberti and his family were welcomed by EP vice-president Mairead McGuinness as soon as they entered the centre on Wednesday 7 January, after which they were offered a tour of the Parlamentarium. Afterwards Alberti, from Italy, said: "I like that there is also information specially made for children and for me personally the most interesting part was the room where you can see how the plenary looks like with all the 751 MEPs."
Opening in October 2011, The Parlamentarium offers visitors from all over the world an insight into how the Parliament and the European Union function. EP vice-president McGuinness praised the visitors centre, which operates in all of the EU's official 24 languages, for opening up the Parliament to the public: "We have a very open European Parliament, but it´s not possible to bring everyone in to the Parliament and in my view the Parlamentarium gives an even better experience because you can learn more and see how the Parliament works in a way which is very interactive."
The visitors centre is open to the public seven days a week, free of charge and with no need for an entry pass. It works in 24 languages, can provide sign language in four (English, French, Dutch and German) and is fully accessible to visitors with special needs. With its state-of-the art multimedia tools, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Brussels and the biggest parliamentary visitors centre in Europe.