Today marks 40 years of bilateral ties between Vietnam and Germany, on the occasion of which a series of activities kick off to celebrate the special milestone.
One of the highlighted events is the fourth German Fest, also known as the 2015 Deutschlandfest, which is taking place in Hanoi.
The event is held by the German Embassy in Hanoi at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts.
“The warm, friendly and relaxing atmosphere of the festival will create opportunity for visitors to directly exchange with the German politics, cultural organizations and businesses, as well as to explore more interesting information about Germany,” the embassy said on its website.
Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the Bundestag, which is the German constitutional and legislative body, is the guest of honor of the festival.
The event promises to feature highlights of German music, cuisine and its bilateral ties with Vietnam.
The festival will rock visitors at night with a performance by Raggabund, a famous German Reggae and dancehall band. This will be the first out of many shows the band is performing in Vietnam at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, according to the German embassy.
The 2015 Deutschlandfest is among many of other events including exhibitions and concerts the embassy is holding to celebrate four decades of bilateral ties with Vietnam.
Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) also published a special article on Vietnam-Germany diplomatic ties to mark the anniversary.
Vietnam and Germany have a shared experience of division and reunification, which Rabea Brauer of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Hanoi believes has created “a lot of faith in each other” between the two countries, according to DW.
Brauer told DW that the image of Germany and the Germans in Vietnam has been overwhelmingly positive because “there are many things in common.”
“We are connected by common values – diligence, punctuality, and a sense of order,” she was quoted as saying.
Germany was Vietnam’s largest trade partner among EU countries in 2012, according to the German embassy’s website.
Bilateral trade between the two countries topped US$7.05 billion that year.
“Berlin became Hanoi’s main trading partner in the EU and a ‘priority country’ of German development cooperation,” the DW said, citing Gerhard Will, a Vietnam expert who works at the German Institute of International and Security Affairs in Berlin.
The Vietnam-Germany diplomatic relations have also greatly strengthened over the last four to five years, German Ambassador to Vietnam Jutta Frasch told DW in an interview in the German language.
Frasch, who took the Hanoi job in 2012, underscored that Vietnam is always an important partner of the European country.
Around 300 German businesses are operating in Vietnam with a total foreign direct investment of 170 million euros (US$185.1 million), the ambassador said in illustrating the fortified economic and development cooperation between the two countries.
“Such a commitment by German companies reflects the rapid economic development of the country,” she was quoted by DW.
The ambassador asserted that Germany remains a partner in development cooperation with Vietnam, especially in the areas of vocational training and green growth.
Frasch mentioned the Vietnamese – German University (VGU), which was founded in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong in 2008, as a particular illustration of the bilateral cultural cooperation.
The university, which recently received a World Bank-backed loan of $200 million to build a new campus, has about 750 students, whereas there are currently over 4,000 Vietnamese students in Germany.
“Both are a clear sign that there is an interest of the people of Vietnam in Germany,” she said.
President of the Bundestag Lammert is slated to visit the VGU on March 31.
He will hold a talk with 100 students from the university on topics concerning bilateral relations as well as relations between the European Union and South East Asia during an event joined by Frasch and Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan.