BRUSSELS, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Taking strength from their political and economic ties, cultural exchanges between China and Europe were greatly enhanced in 2009, which analysts said should promote understanding and trust between the two sides.
At two main cultural events in Europe, China was chosen as the guest of honor this year, namely the Europalia China art festival in Belgium and the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.
The ongoing Europalia China art festival, which opened on Oct. 8, will last until Feb. 14, 2010. About 50 exhibitions and 450 art shows will be staged in more than 70 cities in Belgium and four neighboring countries of the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and Germany.
The exhibitions and performances highlight four main themes: Immortal China, Contemporary China, Colorful China, and China and the World, which aim to give European audience a full picture of China,s traditional and contemporary arts.
As to the decision to choose China as the guest country of the four-month cultural event, General Commissioner of the art festival Claire Kirschen said, "There was the Olympic games in 2008 and the Shanghai Expo will take place next year. And to put Europalia in between is a good idea."
"We have tried to make it a wide-ranging festival, not only archeological exhibitions but also exhibitions reflecting the day to day life of the Chinese, their beliefs and how they go to temples and how they celebrate the new year," Kirschen said in an interview with Xinhua.
The commissioner said that Europalia was not only an artistic festival, but also an event that reflected Chinese culture, Chinese civilization and Chinese way of thinking.
"Europalia China is really a feast," Belgian lawmaker and painter Rick Daems told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Daems, who has seen several key exhibitions at Europalia China, said the art festival opened "an incredible window" to the Chinese culture at a time when many Europeans know no more than its food when talking about China.
The art festival will greatly promote understanding between China and Belgium and Europe as a whole, the lawmaker said.
Besides the Europalia China art festival, the Frankfurt Book Fair, which kicked off on Oct. 13, was another cultural event that drew widespread attention.
More than 150 Chinese authors and scholars, 300 artists and 700publishing house representatives attended the fair, demonstrating their works and seeking book and copyright trading opportunities.
"We don,t speak the same language, but we have come to understand each other better," said Director of the Frankfurt BookFair Juergen Boos.
"The openness of China is more than we could have expected. And visitors have got their own pictures of China," he added.
Besides the two major cultural events, the Confucius Institutes that mushroomed in Europe also contributed a lot to cultural exchanges between China and Europe. A recent meeting of Confucius Institutes convened in Belgium attracted about 200 delegates from 66 Confucius Institutes in 20 European countries.
Analysts said the intensive China-Europe cultural exchanges this year would greatly contribute to their ties and promote mutual understanding of the two peoples.