In 1994, an interview with a French journalist at the HOFBURG Vienna, inspired Mr. Walter Straub to join forces with other historic conference venues. The idea was to form an alliance of historic conference centres all over the world. Criteria were set up for centres to join the alliance.
The centres should be at least a hundred years old and located in monumental buildings. To support conferences and conventions properly, another criteria is for member centres to be equipped with the latest technology. Finally, professional management is required for a congress centre to join HCCE.
In 1995, after research performed worldwide, it was discovered that these criteria were only met by conference venues in Europe. 12 European centres joined the alliance.
Founding members: HOFBURG Vienna (Austria), Congress Graz (Austria), Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin Castle (Ireland), Flanders Congress & Concert Centre, Antwerp (Belgium), Helsinki Congress Paasitorni (Finland), Das Kurhaus Wiesbaden (Germany), M:CON – Congress Center Rosengarten, Mannheim (Germany), Norra Latin, Stockholm (Sweden: no longer a member), Orivieto Conference Centre, Rome (Italy: no longer a member), Palacio de Bolssa, Porto (Portugal: no longer a member), Palais des Papes, Avignon (France: no longer a member).
In 1996 the alliance was established by Mr. Walter Straub (former CEO of HOFBURG Vienna) and Dr. Nikolaus Breisach (Former CEO of Congress Graz).
In 2003 it was decided after the Annual General Assembly that the alliance should be an association under Dutch law. The head office was relocated from Graz to Amsterdam.