First International Passport Europe 1953

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First International Passport Europe

First International (European) passports for Steel-Coal Community officials, Luxembourg – 7 October 1953

Steel-Coal Community officials go through customs and show their national passports. At the Steel-Coal Community headquarters in Luxembourg, M. Jean Monnet hands over their new European passports to several of his organization’s staff. After the ceremony, Mr. Reinz (Dutch) chief of Transport Department of Community receives his passport. Mr. Belladore-Pallieri, Chief of Community’s Staff, also has a European passport. It seems the staff got all a European Commission Laissez-Passer. The video has no sound.

Below address was given by Jean Monnet (7 October 1953) First International Passport Europe

“I am delighted to see here the representatives of the Community institutions, as well as Mr. Kunnen, Director of the Luxembourg Customs, and Colonel Gilson, commander of our Luxembourg gendarme forces, who will be responsible for giving instructions to make sure that the holders of these passports can cross borders as freely as if they were citizens, not just of Luxembourg but of all the Community countries.

As you know, the Coal and Steel Community has already established the free movement of goods between the six Community countries. Today, however, the initiative takes a crucial step – enabling the free movement of individuals. Though starting modestly, limited to Community officials, it marks a promising commencement. Anyone bearing this document will be able to cross the old borders of the six countries as if he or she were a citizen of those six countries. First International Passport Europe

And further…

It is the first European passport. I am going to sign this document for the first time and issue it to the representatives of the Community institutions. Mr. Ernst, Deputy Secretary of the High Authority, I hand you your European passport. Mr [Deneré], Secretary of the Common Assembly of the Community, I hand you your European passport, as I do to Mr [Van Hout], Registrar of the Court, and Mr [Decharpe], Deputy Secretary of the Council of Ministers. I hope, and we all hope that these European passports will soon be issued to other persons.

European People reunite…

That, soon, all of Europe’s people, at last reunited, will hold this laissez-passer and will thus be able to move about the six countries as citizens of the European Community and citizens of the six countries. Amid active discussions in Rome regarding political authority establishment, there’s hope that a European Community will soon emerge, ensuring prosperity and peace. First International Passport Europe

Source: Remise des Passe-Ports Européens / Jean Monnet.- Luxembourg: 10/07/1953. CLT-UFA, Luxembourg. – SON (00:03:38, editing, Original Sound Track). CLT-UFA, 45, Boulevard Pierre Frieden, L-1543 Luxembourg. Translated by the CVCE. Copyright © Translation Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE).

Jean Monnet

(9 November 1888 – 16 March 1979) is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is considered one of its founding fathers. Never elected to public office, Monnet worked behind the scenes of American and European governments as a well-connected pragmatic internationalist.

first international passports europe
The first-ever European passport, issued by the President of the High Authority of the ECSC, Jean Monnet, to Community personnel, 14 July 1953.

European Coal and Steel Community First International Passport Europe

After liberation, Monnet advocated for a “global plan for modernization and economic development” to the French government. Appointed Planning Commissioner by de Gaulle, he oversaw the revitalization of the French economy.

In 1949, Monnet saw rising tension between Germany and France over the Ruhr’s control, fearing a return to hostilities. Monnet and his associates conceived the idea of a European Community.


On May 9, 1950, Chancellor Adenauer agreed to a declaration by French Minister Schuman. The proposal suggested integrating French and German coal and steel industries under joint control, forming a High Authority accessible to other European nations. First International Passport Europe

Shortly after that, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands responded favorably, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was born. Britain was invited to participate, but it refused on the grounds of national sovereignty.

In 1952, Jean Monnet became the first president of the High Authority. First International Passport Europe


FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...