Abstract We report a study of the phosphate glass PZABP (P2O5–ZnO–Al2O3–BaO–PbO) doped with europium (Eu3+) in different concentrations. Absorption, photoluminescence and time resolved photoluminescence were used to investigate the influence of increasing Eu3+ concentrations. The present glass exhibits Eu3+ absorption bands in the ultraviolet region (about 300nm) due to the high transparency of the system compared to other phosphate glasses. In this way, it was possible to obtain the Judd–Ofelt parameters from the emission and absorption spectra. Moreover, a strong red emission attributed to the transition 5D0→7F2 of Eu3+ (611nm) was observed. It was found that the radiative lifetime and the quantum efficiency of the Eu3+ level, 5D0, do not suffer a significant change as the concentration of Eu3+ ions increases.