The Polish campus of the College of Europe, located around ten kilometres from Warsaw in Natolin, currently runs a master's in European interdisciplinary studies. Every year, it plays host to about a hundred students in a pastoral setting. The Natolin campus stretches out over some 120 hectares and has nearly four centuries of history behind it.
The history of the campus began on 23 April 1677, when the village of Milanow became the property of the Polish king, Jan III Sobieski. He who was called the Lion of Lechistan' by the Turks at that time first had a residence of relatively modest size built there before reviewing his plans and erecting a real palace on the back of his military triumphs.
But the evolution of the domain, whose name would then change to Wilanow (instead of Milanow) because it sounded more Polish, did not stop there. When the king died, it passed into the hands of great Polish families, who had secondary buildings constructed there, such as an amphitheatre in front of the palace, an area reserved for servants and stables as well as a coach house'.
In 1830, the domain changed name again and was christened the Domain of Natolin in honour of Natalia Potocki, the daughter of the couple who owned it at the time. But this grand expansion was held in check during World War Two, when the domain became a refuge for Polish patriots. The palace was damaged and pillaged by the Nazis during the Warsaw uprising before become a state property a year later (1945) and a summer residence of the president of the Polish Republic.
Following the fall of Communism and ahead of the enlargement of the European Union, the Polish government proposed to the College of Europe...