The EPO provides the backdrop for a vibrant, multilayered dialogue between contemporary art on the one hand and science, technology and innovation on the other. Since 1978, frequent commissions have been given to artists for works for the Office's buildings in Munich, The Hague and Vienna. In parallel, the Office curates a collection of contemporary art that shapes the daily work environment of staff.
Six public art competitions were held by various specialised bodies to involve artists in the architectural planning phase. This was a unique opportunity to lend a sense of intellectual vitality and culture to the EPO, and to make this visible to the public.
Besides site-specific installations, the EPO has a collection of contemporary art that grows through annual acquisitions. The collection now includes almost 400 works by around 250 artists from 32 countries.
The EPO's task of granting high-quality European patents and the technical and scientific educational background of its patent examiners were a key orientation for the collection's ethos from the very outset.
For a brief introduction to the collection and its development, please refer to our brochure entitled "The art collection. Contemporary art at the European Patent Office".