PT Semester logo

The Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council has arrived and the invitation to celebrate it is open to all.

Welcome to our “Portuguese Semester". From 1 January 2021 Portugal takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. Portuguese colleagues at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra want to celebrate the presidency of the semester and propose a rich and varied programme to make their country's culture, science and traditions known over the next six months.

Browse our website to know more about our plans. There is no lack of science, culture, sports, music and films, and many suggestions to discover our traditions, favourite landscapes, artists, products, books! Most of our events will be held online and you are welcome to join!

The motto of our Portuguese Semester is Dreams command life. We grew up listening to the wonderful voice of Manuel Freire singing Pedra Filosofal, reading and reflecting on the wisdom of its words. Dreams (and science!) command life, they drive reality. Dreams are behind humanity’s greatest achievements and Gedeao, the author of this poem and a scientist too, lists them up until Man’s landing on the moon. Since the 50s, when the poem was written, there were many other amazing examples of dreams and science improving our realities – and with our motto we’re determined to dream but also to deliver (and respond to the official motto of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council too!)

About the Portuguese Semester roundabout symbol

The Discoveries and sea voyages are a well-known feat of the Portuguese, who were at the forefront of European maritime exploration and marked an era of geographical openness with the rest of the world. They are the result of scientific knowledge and expertise, of courage, curiosity and ambition.

The Representation idealised for the Semester consists of an armillary sphere and simple stylised boats (the paper boat) that respectively symbolise the scientific instruments that served navigation (orientation, routes, maps…) and the Portuguese caravels designed and built to overcome the seas and storms.

This Representation evokes the achievements of the Portuguese navigators in the age of Discovery. It highlights the role of science and innovation in the success of sea voyages and – just like our motto “Dreams command life” – intends to inspire us to overcome the new challenges of preserving the planet and keeping our unity, taking advantage of science, technology and innovation. Accelerating Green and Digital Transitions! - ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’.

To know more, please see: https://pt-semester.eu/news/roundabout-symbol

About the Portuguese Semester 'Paper Boat'

Why a boat? It is part of our history and represents the strong bond all Portuguese have with the Oceans! It links us not only to our past, but also considers our present and the future i.e. o passado, o presente e o futuro!

To know more, please see: https://pt-semester.eu/news/symbol-paper-boat


* This website and the “Portuguese Semester” celebrations are organised by a group of volunteers at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to promote and disseminate Portuguese culture, on the occasion of the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

This is part of a tradition at the JRC, initiated back in 1992 with the first series of activities to mark the EU Council Portuguese Presidency at the time. Since then, cultural semesters have been organised, as a way to celebrate the culture and traditions of the EU member state that holds the rotating presidency of the Council and bring them closer to the JRC and local communities. *