The «Commission d’information et de liaison des associations de noblesse d’Europe» (CILANE) was founded in Paris in 1959 on the initiative of five representatives of Nobility associations, namely France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Russia. CILANE is a co-ordinating and liaison body, which comprises today sixteen independent national associations of nobility, each considered representative of their own country’s nobility as a whole.
Neither CILANE nor its Member Associations are able to accept sales or purported sales of titles or nobility, or grants of nobility, titles or decorations not awarded by a sovereign state to one of its own nationals. CILANE is a forum and it does not purport to speak for the European nobilities as a whole.
The aims of CILANE are primarily cultural but a number of the Member Associations also have charitable objectives and/or publication programmes. In particular CILANE seeks to maintain an understanding of the identity of the nobility based on historical and legal accuracy while promoting the maintenance of traditional noble values as a dynamic resource for our own times. This is encouraged by providing an effective means of liaison and information between the Member Associations and, by developing relations of friendship and reciprocity, and by organising exchanges between members of the individual associations of all ages, are invited to meet during different events and to take part in exchanges.
The official seat of CILANE is 9, Rue du Chevalier de Saint Georges, Paris 75008.
Member Associations are required to apply the law of nobility of their country. All full members must be noble in accordance with the public law of the country concerned, in other words with the current law where nobility is legally recognised or with the historic law at the moment when nobility was last legally recognised, and there must be a public act of nobility for the family in question from the appropriate period. (In some countries a hybrid situation exists, where nobility as a quality is no longer legally recognised but titles of nobility are still subject to official recognition and control.)
Where naturalised members of foreign noble families are admitted to a Member Association, they must be noble in accordance with the law of the country in which their nobility was conferred or recognised, and the persons concerned must first have validated their proofs with the Member Association representing the nobility of that country.
It may be the case, as a result of border changes, that a country with a historic nobility no longer exists within its old borders but its territory is divided between a number of states where nobility is not legally recognised. In such a situation, except where there were autonomous corporate noble structures recognised in public law, the historic nobility should be represented in a single association.
Member Associations must inform CILANE of the full list of proofs of nobility accepted by them, together with the principles of transmission, but must not themselves purport to confer nobility, honours, titles or decorations. Only one Association is admitted for each country, which must be representative of the nobility as a whole, titled and untitled, without regard to religion or politics.
Member Associations do not, however, conform to a single internal model. Some are corporate structures which historically include the whole national nobility, others are subscription-based associations, and one is a federation of regional associations. Others again have their origins in official consultative heraldic councils or committees of privileges.
There are currently sixteen Member Associations. Private individuals cannot belong to CILANE.
Internal structure and meetings of the Commission
CILANE holds six-monthly meetings presided by a Coordinator elected for a term of three years, and attended in principle by a Delegate and assistant appointed by each Member Association, and a representative of their youth membership (aged from 18 to 35). There is a sub-committee of experts on the law of nobility (sous-commission des experts en droit nobiliaire) which meets as required, and whose members may, in addition, be co-opted from among the recognised experts of the Member Associations.
The official language is French with English used as a working language.
Exchanges between families
Members of national associations often seek to arrange exchange visits for their children of school age. Each Member Association nominates a person (the Jugendaustausch) responsible for handling requests for exchanges between children aged from 12 to 17.
CILANE International Weekends
The young representatives (CILANE des jeunes) operate with a large degree of autonomy and organise their own cultural programme of International Weekends which take place during the year. A small Promotions Team exists inter alia to facilitate participation.
CILANE organises a congress which normally takes place triennially on a theme chosen in conjunction with the Member Association of the host country. The congress itself takes place over a long weekend, including a programme of addresses by invited speakers on subjects related to the theme, cultural visits and a ball on the Saturday evening. Provision is made for religious services on the Sunday. Over the last twenty years, congresses have taken place in Milan 1993, Bruges 1996, Stockholm 1999, Potsdam 2002, The Hague 2005, Versailles 2008, Malta 2011, Budapest 2014 and Avignon 2017. The next congress is planned for Brussels in 2021.
Equally important, CILANE offers the practical possibility for those living, working or studying abroad to make contacts in countries with Member Associations.