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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 English/German online version of the European Thesaurus is freely accessible:

Alphabetical Index

Systematic Index

You can use the thesaurus to search literature in IREON.


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

It contains about 8,200 descriptors (preferred terms), 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 multilingual European Thesaurus. Equivalents of the English descriptors are available in Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

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:

Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin (SWP)

Deutsch-Französisches Institut, Ludwigsburg (dfi)

Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin (FU),

German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg

Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London (RIIA)

Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warschau (PISM)

Institute of International Relations, Prag (IIR)

Fundació CIDOB – Centro de Investigación de Relaciones Internacionales y Desarrollo, Barcelona

Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rom (IAI)

Institute of Scientific Information in the Social Sciences, Moskau (INION)

Hellenic Foundation of European and Foreign Policy, Athen (ELIAMEP)


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