Foreigners’ Affection for Hanoi: A Love Story

Inspired by the vibrant culture and heritage of Hanoi, an author has conceived a unique construct linking the preservation of culture and economic growth.


“For the Love of Hanoi” by Martin Rama, an economist at the World Bank, is set to be released on July 29, 2023.

This book is the 9th installment in the “Hanoi, the Street and the People” series published by Vietnam Media and Books Co., Ltd (Tri Thuc Trebooks).

The book “For the Love of Hanoi” will be released on July 29. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The book consists of 45 articles divided into five chapters: Hanoi is Special, What is Heritage?, Preservation Campaigns, The Bui Chu Saga, and A Project for Hanoi.

“For the Love of Hanoi” documents the author’s journey to protect and develop the precious characteristics of Hanoi. It not only showcases his passion but also his clear vision to foster Her prosperity while preserving Her unique identity.

By choosing the young poet Nguyen Bang Ngoc as his translator and the young artist Dang Viet Loc as the illustrator for the book, Martin Rama possibly aimed to convey his enthusiasm through different “languages”: economy, emotion, and art. With this diverse range of perspectives, For the Love of Hanoi may touch readers’ hearts in various ways.

As a foreigner and economist, Martin Rama has a special affection for Hanoi. He is not nostalgic for the past nor does he strive to restore its former appearance. He appreciates Hanoi as it is in the present moment and holds hope for its future development. Over the years, from Hanoi Promenade to For the Love of Hanoi, Martin Rama has not only expressed his views on heritage preservation and urban development but also showcased intellectual clarity and social responsibility. His passionate and unwavering journey demonstrates his love for Hanoi from the heart and his determination to protect it with reason.

Martin Rama is well-known among Vietnamese readers for his book Hanoi Promenade, which received the Bui Xuan Phai Award – For the Love of Hanoi in 2014. Nearly a decade later, Martin Rama publishes his second book about Hanoi. Taking its title from the Bui Xuan Phai Award, the book reveals Martin Rama’s ever-growing love for the city, from being captivated while wandering through Her – his affectionate term for Hanoi – to being deeply devoted to Her.