Hanoi and Toulouse to strengthen partnership in heritage conservation

Enhancing cultural understanding is key to enhancing public knowledge of the history and culture of two cities, bridging the geographical gap between them.

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A delegation from the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center visited Toulouse from November 13-17 as part of the cooperation project between the two cities to enhance collaboration in heritage conservation and tourism development.

 The exhibition “From Underground to the Museum – A Journey of Artifacts” in Toulouse. Source: Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center

Building on nearly 30 years of cooperation between Hanoi and Toulouse, the Hanoi-Toulouse cooperation project, focusing on technical support for preserving and promoting the value of urban heritage and archaeological relics at the World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi,has been systematically implemented.

This initiative falls under the Funding Facility for Local Authorities (FICOL) of the French Development Agency (AFD) and has been effectively underway since 2020. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, experts from both cities have diligently worked to achieve the project’s objectives. The activities held within the project framework in both cities have yielded more results than initially anticipated.

 Delegates during the meeting between Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center and Toulouse’s officials.

In April 2023, a series of events took place at Thang Long Imperial Citadel, including an international symposium on promoting the value of the archaeological site of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the exhibition “From Underground to the Museum – A Journey of Artifacts,” activities on the occasion of the 12th Conference on Cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities in Hanoi and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and France.

In particular, the training program of French experts conducted both online and in person at Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Toulouse has yielded practical results for the staff of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center.

 A corner introducing the Hanoi – Toulouse cooperation project. 

More than 50 officials have undergone training, participating in sessions led by experienced experts, and gaining access to scientific and modern methods in specialized fields such as archaeological excavation research, interpretation of museum displays, preservation of artifacts, and communication and promotion of heritage.

During the visit, the Center also collaborated with its counterparts to organize a scientific seminar on “Promoting the Value of Archaeological Heritage,” brought the exhibition “From Underground to Museum – A Journey of Artifacts” to Toulouse, and conducted a summary and evaluation of the project’s results.

This served as a foundation for proposing future collaboration content and building a project to secure funding from the AFD.

Nguyen Thanh Quang, director of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center, said the visit provided an opportunity for both sides to share and learn from each other’s experiences in managing, researching, excavating, and preserving domestic and international archaeological heritage.

“It also helped shape the direction of promoting the value of the archaeological heritage at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi and Toulouse through various activities, including training sessions, exhibitions, tours, and media products,” he added.

 Deputy Mayor of Toulouse Jean Claude Dardelet at the exhibition.  

“The Hanoi-Toulouse Cooperation Project holds significant meaning to Hanoi’s efforts in cultural heritage preservation. With its notable achievements, the project is a key element in furthering the longstanding cooperative ties between the two cities and a model collaboration between French and Vietnamese localities,” Quang said.

Jointly organized by experts from Hanoi and Toulouse, activities such as dialogue sessions, scientific research, and exhibitions have further strengthened the cooperative relationship between the Thang Long Imperial Citadel heritage and that of Toulouse. This has enriched the public’s comprehension of the history and culture of both cities. Through these conveyed messages and cultural insights, we can effectively diminish the geographical distance separating the two cities.”

He expressed his gratitude for the support received and hoped for further French assistance in preserving and promoting the heritage value of Thang Long Imperial Citadel, particularly in heritage tourism, staff training, and the conservation of French architectural works in the heritage area.
Jean Claude Dardelet, Deputy Mayor of Toulouse, acknowledged the project’s role in facilitating exchange, experience-sharing, and mutual learning between professional officials from both Vietnam and France.

Despite initial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and personnel changes, both sides persevered to achieve significant success, he noted.
According to Dardelet, the project organized two scientific seminars and two exhibitions in both Hanoi and Toulouse, involving the participation of 11 experts from Toulouse.

While highlighting the geographical distance between the two cities, he noted their shared cultural and historical themes and emphasized that the project’s results serve as a crucial foundation for opening new opportunities and ways of cooperation between the two cities, especially in the realm of heritage conservation research, production, and tourism promotion.

As part of the visit, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center engaged in a working program with specialized agencies of UNESCO, including the World Heritage Center and the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). This collaboration, alongside the Permanent Delegation of Vietnam to UNESCO, aims to advance the development of a scientific profile for beautifying the central area of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi.