The Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute is a branch of the Balassi Institute, which is responsible for spreading and popularizing Hungarian culture around the globe. It acts as a backbone for the international network of Hungarian education, functioning as a specialized base and professional headquarters since March 1, 2007. One of the main objectives of Hungary’s cultural policy is constant development and maintaining of its level of competitiveness. Cultural diplomacy has been reevaluated in the 21st century, gradually becoming a „third pillar” of international relations, thus becoming the main scope of activity for the Balassi Institute and its affiliates.
The Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute is located at the heart of Beijing, opening its gates to the public on November 13, 2013, at the magnificent Galaxy SOHO, designed by Zaha Hadid. The location was selected as a symbolic gesture: Hungarian cultural diplomacy is not only meant to impart Hungarian traditions and heritage, but also to put an emphasis on current trends as well, thus the institute settled in the state of the art building complex, reminiscent of the Chinese siheyuan concept.
Of all the Central-European countries, Hungary is the first one to have its own cultural institute in the Chinese capital, and as such has set out not only to act as a bridge between Chinese and Hungarians, while spreading Hungarian language and culture, but also to allow Chinese a glimpse into Central-Europe, and through its programs and events become an integral part of the European-Chinese dialogue. The institute’s educational program is based on three, clearly separable parts: as the main authority on spreading Hungarian language and culture, the institute offers specialized and personalized language courses to all those who wish to learn. In addition, the Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute is responsible for organizing Pop Up Hungary, a program which aims to connect the representatives of the Hungarian education system with Chinese students. Thirdly, of all Hungarian Cultural Institutes around the globe, our institute is the only one including the K(odály) Points system in our education portfolio, thus spreading one of the most important cultural contributions Hungary has made to the world thus far.
In addition to organizing educational and cultural events (concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, etc.), the institute is also present on social media, with the clear aim of utilizing every available platform in order to reach the target audience. Those interested in broadening their horizons regarding Hungarian literature, history, traditions, holidays and basic cultural heritage may do so within the framework of school programs and at the events organized by the institute itself, or visit the institute on their own, which in itself serves not only to introduce Hungarian culture and creativity, but also as window through which those interested may gain a glimpse to what Hungary is like.
The Institute has made a conscious decision to break out of the confinement of the four walls during its work, and with the help of local event organizers it wishes to spread Hungarian culture and language in as many locations as possible around the country.
The Institute was inaugurated by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations, on November 13, 2013. The prestigious event was marked by speeches made by the representative of the Hungarian government in charge of Hungarian-Chinese bilateral relations, Péter Szijjártó, and Pál Hatos, the head of the Balassi Institute, emphasizing the institute’s importance, as the new connections between the two countries open new realms of mutual development, thus building Hungary’s relations, economic power and international recognition of its versatile culture.
The season of 2014 was opened by the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr. Viktor Orbán.