Calle Prado, 21 - 28014 Madrid
Culture as a means towards the emancipation of the people.

The word ‘Ateneo’ comes from the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena and an Athenaeum is a center where culture is disseminated. It is  a particularly Spanish phenomenon and in Spain, from the mid-nineteenth century, both the bourgeoisie, with the Ateneo de Madrid and the Ateneo de Barcelona, and the working classes, created their own Athenaeums, where cultural and intellectual activities took place. Their slogan was “culture as a means towards the emancipation of the people.”

Created in 1820 the first Ateneo de Madrid brought together all the liberal philosophers, writers and politicians of the day, but when Fernando VII reinstated absolute Monarchy in 1823 most of these men went into exile, and it was not until the Regency of Maria Cristina in 1835 that the Ateneo was restored. It  occupied various different buildings in Madrid but finally in 1884 a new building  was created in Calle del Prado to become its permanent headquarters.

The Ateneo became the centre of intellectual life. The writers of the Generation of ’98, such as Unamuno, Machado, Pio Baroja, Azorín, all the Spanish Nobel prize winners – Ramón y Cajal, Jacinto Benavente, Juan Ramón Jimenez, Severo Ochoa, Vicente Aleixandre and Camilo José Cela were members of the Ateneo. The musicians Manuel de Falla and Andres Segovia performed here. Luis Buñuel was a member and Cartier- Bresson’s photographs were shown here.

In 1895 the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán became the first woman to be admitted as a member.

By the attending the 17th IFMAD congress you will have the opportunity  to access the Salón de Actos (The Auditorium) a  work of the architects Luis Landecho and Enrique Fort who charged the artist Arturo Mélida with the difficult task of capturing in pictures the function and the reason for the existence of the Ateneo and enjoy the feeling  of a room where  kings, presidents, artists and thinkers stood and personalities such as Einstein, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa of Calcutta gave conferences.

Calle Prado, 21 • MADRID


You can choose the Madrid underground to reach the congress.

•  Sevilla

•  Antón Martín

•  Sol

Click here to see the Metro MAP of Madrid ->


You can reach the Ateneo also by using the following bus lines:

5, 6, 9, 15, 25, 27, 32, 34, 51, 52, 53, 57, 150.