Belgrade was one of the first eight cities in which the British Council opened its offices overseas.
Our first office in old Yugoslavia was opened in 1940. It was known as the Yugoslav-British Institute and occupied the first two floors of the Anglo-American-Yugoslav club. The Club itself was located in the heart of the town, in the building that is today known as Albanija. At that time we had two main activities: running English language courses and an English kindergarten.
During the Second World War the work was disrupted, but was resumed as early as June 1945. The first British Council Library was set up as part of the operation in 1946. Development of cultural and technical cooperation was also very rapid with first exchanges and visits taking place in 1947.
Having moved premises several times and having had our office and library separate for almost 40 years, we settled into our current building on Terazije Street in January 2001. We are now only 100 metres away from the place we first began work as the Yugoslav-British Institute.
In 2008, the British Council redefined its role across Europe in order to ensure that we continue to contribute to stronger cultural relations within and beyond Europe in a rapidly changing environment.
This change directly affected our library services. Since the uniqueness of the British Council library offer was gone, we transferred the resources to our new partner libraries in Novi Sad and Kragujevac. This transfer also meets the long-standing need of these important Serbian University cities, and will help us provide information services to a wider audience in Serbia.