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European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies

The European Thesaurus is a multilingual resource covering all essential aspects in the field of international relations and area studies.

It employs a controlled vocabulary to index and retrieve specialist literature and information in the field of international relations and area studies.


The European Thesaurus focusses on international politics and area studies. It comprises 24 subject fields (download as PDF file), each of which is further sub-divided.

It contains about 8,200 descriptors (preferred terms) in nine languages, as well as numerous non-descriptors for each language. The proper names of about 600 international organisations and international agreements are also included.


English is the primary language used in the European Thesaurus. Equivalents of the English descriptors are available in Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. Versions in Russian and Croatian are available at the IREON gateway.

The European Thesaurus is also used as a terminological reference source and translation tool.


The European Thesaurus was developed in a collaboration under the auspices of the European Information Network on International Relations and Area Studies (EINIRAS). It integrates the terminologies of a number of thesaurus systems and subject heading lists maintained by European research institutions, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Institut français des relations internationales, Stockholm International Peace Institute, and some members of FIV - The German Information Network for International Relations and Area Studies.

The European Thesaurus is updated regularly.

The following institutions have participated or are still participating in the European Thesaurus project:


Cross-concordances allow you to search across multiple databases. Cross-concordances have been established to the following related thesauri:

  • STW Thesaurus for Economics
  • Thesaurus for the Social Sciences (TheSoz)
  • TWSE - Thesaurus for Economic and Social Development
  • PAIS Subject Terms Thesaurus


The European Thesaurus Project is coordinated by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Contact: Axel Huckstorf, email: axel.huckstorf(at)swp-berlin.org