Coinciding with the 30-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Republic of Korea, the Korean Cultural Center has been officially re-opened at a new location in the Hungarian capital. The 8,000-sqm facility, rebuilt with a HUF three billion investment, is the fifth largest cultural center worldwide and the largest in Europe.
The Center offers a variety of cultural events and learning opportunities from Korean language courses to taekwondo training and to dances related to K-pop culture. It also provides cooking classes and Korean crafts in its cultural workshop. The newly opened three-story cultural complex includes a theater hall for 100 people, exhibition spaces, seminar rooms, a showroom, a library of thousands of books, a children's library, a tea pavilion and a taekwondo gym, as well as a separate floor for Korean language education as well as for the presentation of traditional attire and crafts. The Korean pavilion, planned to be built on the roof terrace, will open next year.
Kim Tae Hoon, the Director of the Korean Overseas Culture and Information Service at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, reminded the audience that originally, the Korean Cultural Center opened in Budapest in 2012. “Culture and Art of Korea is greatly loved in Hungary. In 2008, the Korean drama, ‘The Great Jang Geum’ was been first aired in the national TV of Hungary in Europe, and it recorded 51% ratings. Moreover, in Hungary, there are the most communities of Korean culture and arts among European countries. The new Korean Cultural Center in Hungary will become more than a space to promote the Korean culture to the Hungarian audience… it will to become the symbolic space of the friendship between Hungary and Korea,” he said.
Deputy State Secretary for Eastern Relations at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, András Baranyi reminded the audience that there is excellent economic cooperation between the two countries, saying that this year the Republic of Korea became Hungary's largest foreign investor. “In bilateral relations, culture also plays a key role, as this year the Hungarian cultural season was held in Korea, and Hungary was also the guest of honor at the Seoul International Book Fair,” he added.
The Korean ambassador to Hungary, Choe Kyoo Sik stressed that the Korean Cultural Center in Hungary opened again in the greatly expanded space as the symbol of friendship of Hungary and Korea. He was of the view that “2019 will be one of the most meaningful years in the history of the relationship of Hungary and Korea.” Apart from this year being the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Hungary and Korea, the Republic of Korea becomes a country that invests on the largest scale to Hungary in this year. “In addition, Hungary and Korea made a new turning point in cooperation of science and technology while organizing the symposium for a future mobility and preparing the Joint Committee for economy and a direct flight between Hungary and Korean has been also begun from this year.”
All three speakers recalled that Hungarians and Koreans suffered together from the tragedy of shipwrecking in Danube River in Budapest and expressed hope that all of these pleasant and heartbreaking moments of this year tighten the links between Hungary and Korea.