The 100-year-old Baek In-Je House Museum in Bukchon opens at night

  • – Seoul Museum of History opens the Baek In-Je House in Bukchon at weekend night for two months from July through August
  • – During the same period, the guided tour program is available from 7pm to those who make a reservation in advance
  • – It is expected to attract many visitors, especially couples and families because it is a rare opportunity to enjoy a beautiful night view of hanok

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 11, 2018 – The Seoul Museum of History will open the Baek In-Je House Museum located in Bukchon at weekend night for two months from July through August. This decision was made for domestic and international visitors who may have difficulties to visit in daytime due to the sweltering summer heat wave.

Those who would like to see this early 20th-century Korean traditional mansion at night should arrive no later than 8:40pm on Fridays or Saturdays.

During the same period, the guided tour program is also available from 7pm to those who make a reservation in advance at Seoul City’s Public Service Reservation System (http://yeyak.seoul.go.kr). If one gets all five stamps hidden inside the House, five postcards will be given as a souvenir.

Built in 1913, the Baek In-Je House was designated as the Seoul Cultural Heritage No. 22. The Seoul Metropolitan Government purchased this “modern hanok (traditional house)” from Baek’s family in 2009, and renovated it and turned it into a public museum in November 2015.

This House was the first house opened to the public in Bukchon, where has traditionally been one of Korea’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Unlike other hanok houses, men’s quarters Sarangchae and women’s quarters Anchae are connected to each other with a hallway, and it uses many red bricks and glass windows. The Baek In-je House sized in 2,460 square meters represents Korean’s upper-class lifestyle in the early modern days.

It is expected to attract many visitors, especially couples and families because it is a rare opportunity to enjoy a beautiful night view of hanok.




Seoul Receives World’s First Fair Trade City Recognition among Megacities

Seoul Receives World’s First Fair Trade City Recognition among Megacities

Of cities with a population of over 10 million people, Seoul is the first in the world to receive the official ‘Fair Trade City’ recognition. The goal was reached within 6 years of the 2012 ‘Fair Trade Capital City Seoul’ announcement.

The title of ‘Fair Trade City’ is given to cities that meet all 5 standards set by the International Fair Trade Town Steering Committee, including △ support of an area assembly, △ supply of fair trade products by area merchants, △ use within the area community, △ promotion, and △ convention of a local fair trade steering group.

Seoul was selected as a Fair Trade City by satisfying all five of the International Fair Trade Town Steering Committee’s standards, through their △ fair trade support resolution and ordinance resolve, △ expansion to 1 fair trade provider per 25,000 people (about 400 providers), △ fair trade organization announcements within area workplaces and living areas, △ citizen participation in fair trade campaigns, promotions, and education (over 700,000 people), and △ assembly and management of a Fair Trade Steering Committee.

Continuous efforts have been made since the presentation of the ‘Fair Trade City, Seoul’ announcement in cooperation with the Korea Fair Trade Organization during Seoul’s ‘World Fair Trade Day Festival in Korea’ in 2012.

Mayor Park Won-soon stated, “This is a symbolic meaning and opportunity for Seoul, coming from a place that went from a poor country to a trade giant within one generation, to receive recognition as the world’s most populated fair trade city. We will ensure that Seoul is truly the capital of world fair trade by boosting citizen awareness on ethical consumerism.”




Mayor Park Won-soon Travels to Singapore for ‘Lee Kuan Yew Prize’

Mayor Park Won-soon Travels to Singapore for ‘Lee Kuan Yew Prize’

From July 7-10, Mayor Park Won-soon will be in Singapore to receive the ‘Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize,’ which is considered the Nobel Prize for Urban Administration.

Mayor Park Won-soon will meet individually with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and discuss measures regarding Seoul-Singapore exchange and cooperation, for the peace of Northeast Asia and the common prosperity of all of Asia.

The ‘Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize’ award ceremony is held as a main event in the 2018 ‘World Cities Summit’ on July 8. Mayor Park Won-soon will accept the prize on behalf of the tens of millions of Seoul citizens, and he will directly introduce Seoul’s various urban regeneration plans that are receiving high evaluations through the progression of core joint- participation with citizens.

Seoul was selected as a prize-winning city based on the high evaluations of various urban regeneration plans that are propelled by the key power of citizen participation, such as Seoullo 7017, Sewoon Again Project, Mapo Oil Tank Culture Park, Sinchon Yeonsei-ro exclusive walking zone, and Dongdaemun re-industrialization.

Mayor Park Won-soon stated, “It was very meaningful for me to be able to receive the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize through the citizen-centered regeneration policy, at such a symbolic place of peace like Singapore after the successful North Korea-US Summit. This doesn’t end with the prize, and I am hoping that we, as world cities, and especially in regard to North Korean cities like Pyeongyang, can continue to seek out the path towards Northeast Asia’s common prosperity through the sharing of administrative know-how.




Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon meets with NGO conducting startup education activities in North Korea

  • – Mayor Park meets with representatives from Singapore’s NGO “Chosun Exchange” that provides startup education programs to 1,300 North Korean residents
  • – Founded in 2009, Chosun Exchange has built up the largest business network in North Korea
  • – Chosun Exchange was named “the most important non-governmental organization network in North Korea” by Harvard University in the United States

SINGAPORE, July 10, 2018 — Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon, who is currently on his business trip to Singapore, had a meeting, July 8, with representatives from Singapore’s NGO “Chosun Exchange.” The meeting was attended by Geoffrey See, the founder of Chosun Exchange, and activists.

Founded in 2009, Chosun Exchange has built up the largest business network in North Korea, while providing startup education programs to more than 1,300 North Korean residents for the last ten years. They provided more than 43 rounds of education and training programs for entrepreneurship and startup so far.

Chosun Exchange is well received internationally, and was named “the most important non-governmental organization network in North Korea” by Harvard University in the United States for its active activities. The Washington Post has also paid attention to Chosun Exchange, explaining it played an important role in realizing the recent summit between North Korea and the United States in Singapore.

In accordance with the opening of the Peace Era on the Korean Peninsula, Mayor Park learned about the experiences and know-how of Chosun Exchange’s support activities for the North. He also asked for their advices on the Seoul-Pyeongyang Comprehensive Cooperation Plan prepared by the Seoul Metropolitan Government since 2016. The Mayor also sought for ways to increase cooperation and exchanges with the North in cooperation with Chosun Exchange.




A sure way to escape from the summer heat: 2018 Seoul Hangang festival starts July 20

  • – 2018 Hangang Summer Festival to be held from July 20 to August 19 at 11 riverside parks, and 70 percent of the festival’s 80 program to be run free of charge
  • – Watching movies inside the swimming pool, walking in the rain, three-day circus festivals and crossing the Hangang River by swimming – They are all new programs you are able to enjoy during the annual Hangang Summer Festival

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 10, 2018 – Watching movies inside the swimming pool, walking in the rain, three-day circus festivals and crossing the Hangang River by swimming – They are all new programs you are able to enjoy during the annual Hangang Summer Festival.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced to hold the 2018 Hangang Summer Festival that provides 80 ways to escape from sweltering heat only in the river for a month from July 20 to August 19 at 11 riverside parks.

More than 70 percent of the festival’s 80 program is run free of charge so anyone is allowed to enjoy them without burdens.

The Seoul Metropolitan Hangang Project Headquarters, the main organizer of the festival, selects the following seven programs for festival-goers to better enjoy the occasions:

  • 1) “Essential” Summer Program: “Water Fight” using 200,000 water balloons and “Water Playground” where e.g. paddle-boarding can be enjoyed
  • 2) Night Culture & Arts Program: 3-day Free Circus & Puppet Show
  • 3) Mania Program: Walking on A Rainy Weekend & Crossing the Hangang by3,000 swimmers
  • 4) “Small Yet Clear Happiness” in the Busy Life Program: Watching movies inside the swimming pool & Night-time healing performance
  • 5) “Hangang in the World” Program: collaboration performances by nine local governments of the regions along the river
  • 6) “Young” Planning by Youth Cultural Planners Program: Night-long concerts & Busking Festivals
  • 7) Sustainable Festival for Earth and Environment Program: Watching movies at an open-air space with the hydroelectric power generation

For more information on the 2018 Hangang Summer Festival, visit the Festival’s official websites (http://hangang.seoul.go.kr/project) or use the “Smart Seoul Map” mobile application.




Inaugural Address by the Mayor of Seoul

Inaugural Address by the Mayor of Seoul

  • 1.

    Dear respected fellow citizens of Seoul. Thank you.
    Your grand decision has allowed me to stand before you again today.

    Each of your votes reflects your earnest wishes for the success of the Moon Jae-in administration.
    These votes embody your aspirations for complete peace and a new economic order on the Korean peninsula.
    They are the expression of your support for the administration I have led over the past six years and your higher expectations for Seoul’s future.

    During the campaign, I asked for an opportunity to complete a ten-year revolution seeking to transform the citizens’ quality of life; and you have given me the honor of being the first mayor to serve Seoul’s citizens for three consecutive terms.
    During this election, I campaigned with the commitment of a field commander. You elected 24 district mayors and 102 councilors from our political party, thereby giving the Democratic Party of Korea an opportunity to change Seoul exactly the way it should be.

    The overwhelming support for our party
    is truly astonishing.
    Yet it is also frightening, too.

    From now on, everything is entirely under the responsibility of the Democratic Party of Korea.
    Based on the wisdom and competence that it has acquired over the years,
    we will put in every effort to fulfill the citizens’ demands
    as our municipal administration devotes itself to reshaping the lives of Seoul’s citizens.

  • 2.

    Dear fellow citizens,

    Over the past six years, Seoul experienced numerous changes.
    “Humankind” that was pushed to the sidelines during the era of development and growth finally stands at the heart of the city’s administration.
    The burden that each individual had to bear alone,
    has now been lightened with the help of Seoul City through a new institutional arrangement.

    Community service centers provide home-based welfare benefits to those who still fall through the safety net. More children are able to attend public daycare centers today.
    Multiple irregular workers have become full-time employees,
    and the supply of public rental housing has eased the citizens’ housing burdens.

    However, we still have a long way to go.
    An incalculable number of people I met on the campaign trail,
    faced a harsh and desperate reality.

    Ever-rising household debt; Shop owners suffering from high rents and credit card fees; The worst youth unemployment in history; Working moms suffering from occupational burnout; Many young people who have given up on love, marriage and childbearing.

    To change the lives of our citizens, we still have many challenges to face.

    In the past, I led a difficult fight to push for policies focusing on the improvement of our citizens’ lives,
    despite the opposition of a conservative government.
    Yet, I still regret not having been bolder or not faster.

  • 3.

    Dear fellow citizens,

    The ultimate reform in this era is to end poverty once and for all.
    The greatest task Seoul has to face is resolving the problems that citizens meet in their everyday lives.
    Over the next four years, I will do everything in my power to improve the citizens’ quality of life.

    I will never hesitate, nor will I pause in my devotion to looking after your lives.

    First, I will solve the issue that one million self-employed citizens face, standing at the brink of survival.
    As promised, I will lessen their heavy burden of credit card fees by lowering the rate below 1 percent within the year.
    I will also realize a paid sick leave system and incorporate them into the country’s employment safety net.

    Second, I will solve the high rent issue, our era’s most substantial source of suffering. I will make sure that tragedies such as the one that occurred at the restaurant “Gungjung Jokbal” in Seochon will never happen again.
    I will find solutions to the high rent issue that threatens the survival of citizens living in rental housing as well as those doing business in rental properties.
    Of course, I cannot do it on my own: there must be an institutional support. I will join forces with the central government and the National Assembly to achieve this goal. If not, I will absolutely make it possible in solidarity with all the tenants, the self-employed and people in general.

    Third, I will start working today to find a complete solution to childcare.
    The childcare gap is directly connected to unemployment rates, women’s career disruption, and low birthrates.
    During my term, I will realize a complete public childcare system so that the heartbreaking fate of “Kim Ji-young: Born in 1982” will never be a reality in Seoul again.

    Fourth, I will solve the housing issue which plagues the citizens of Seoul more than anything else.
    I will supply 240,000 public housing units while in office, thereby raising the proportion of public housing in the city to 10% for the first time in South Korea’s history.

    Fifth, I will launch the “Long March for Jobs, Season 2” to improve today’s job market.
    The country’s unemployment is largely due to external and structural elements such as continuously low economic growth and the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution. Yet, I am certain that we can mitigate the problem to a considerable extent through our own initiatives.
    I will make practical and realistic efforts
    instead of depending on theories and statistics to create jobs.

  • 4.

    The situation is grave.
    Emergency warnings are signaling the difficulties that ordinary people must face in their everyday life.

    I will take all the emergency measures necessary to help the citizen’s welfare. I will begin by diving into the citizens lives myself.

    To change the citizens’ lives, we must meet citizens in their daily lives, not at the mayor’s desk.
    I will move the mayor’s office to locations that require the mayor’s influence the most.
    I will start by living among the people of Gangbuk, sharing both the pleasures and pains of life with them.

    I will commute to work and share my daily life with the local residents, to make an accurate diagnosis of their arduous lives.
    I will sympathize with your pain.
    I will lay out alternative solutions.
    I will change the lives of citizens in Seoul.

    Dear fellow citizens of Seoul,

    The city’s decade-long revolution to change the citizens’ lives for the better requires funds and investments. So far, I have reduced the city’s debt by KRW 8 trillion to fill its reserves.
    I will now invest in the improvement of your lives through a bold fiscal expansion policy. I will make the citizens of Seoul thrive even if the city must endure shrinking finances.

    Above all, I will make changes rapidly.
    I will focus on policies that will change your lives for the better in a tangible manner.

  • 5.

    Dear fellow citizens of Seoul,

    I feel a heavy burden on my shoulders as I must fulfill the requests that you have made.
    Nonetheless, I am also thrilled at the idea of completing the decade-long revolution that will Seoul’s citizens’ lives for the better.
    I am proud to have opened an era of social friendship based on community life,
    instead of a lonely individualist society.
    I am now happy to be able to dream of Seoul in the new Northeast Asian era moving toward peace and coexistence.

    As I take my first steps on the untouched path of the third term,
    I promise to do my utmost to fulfill all of my duties faithfully
    and to join hands with you
    to make deeper, broader, and more sustainable changes.

    Let’s begin this exciting, beautiful journey together.
    Great cities are built by great citizens.
    Today again, the citizens remain the mayor in Seoul.

    Thank you.




Centennial Hanok, Baek In-Je House, Opens for Night Operation

The Baek In-je House, located in the Bukchon Hanok Village, will be initiating Friday and Saturday night operations during the months of July and August, permitting last entrance at 8:40 pm, followed by the closing of operations at 9 pm.

Reservations are required through the Seoul Public Service Reservation System (http://yeyak.seoul.go.kr) during the two month period as guests will be treated to a guided tour of the House. Guests who obtain all the hidden stamps at five locations throughout the House will receive a special souvenir gift comprised of five different Baek In-je House postcards as a stamp tour is simultaneously conducted.

Designated as Seoul Folk Cultural Heritage No. 22 and capturing the design of the modern hanok as it was built in 1913, the Baek In-je House was procured by Seoul City from the Baek In-je family, followed by structural renovations and the restoration of the architecture and lifestyle at the time prior to the opening of its doors on November 11, 2015.

The Baek In-je House is the very first hanok to be opened to the public in the Bukchon area and maintains characteristic features different for traditional hanoks in that the sarangchae and main building are connected by a hallway amid the frequent use of red bricks and glass windows. It covers an expansive area of 2,460 ㎡ that allows guests to get a peek into the lifestyle of not only hanok culture, but also what life was like during the Japanese Colonial Era and for the Seoul-based upper class with its unique modern-day design featuring a two-story portion of the main building.

□ Baek In-je House Overview

  • Location: 16, Bukchon-ro 7-gil, Jongno-gu (Gahoe-dong)
  • Operation Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9 am – 6 pm
    • ※ Night operation hours run until 9 pm, Friday & Saturday during July/August
      Guided tours & stamp tour commence from 7 pm
  • Schedule: Closed January 1 & Mondays (Open on national holidays)
  • No. of Guests: One tour guide per 15 people / Up to 100 guests permitted at once for self-touring
  • Admissions: Free
  • Available Tours
    • – Self-touring: Tour the outer grounds / First-come, first-served admissions (No RSVP required)
    • – Guided touring: Guided tour of House grounded and interior of the main building, sarangchae and annex provided four times during the week & six times on the weekends
  • RSVP: Use the Seoul Public Service Reservation System (http://yeyak.seoul.go.kr) & on-site registration (For inquiries: 82-2-724-0200, 0232)

Baek In-je House Photos

Front entrance Interior Gate
Front entrance Interior Gate
Anchae (Main building) Panoramic of Main Building
Anchae (Main building) Panoramic of Main Building
Sarangchae (Guest house) Byeoldangchae (Annex)
Sarangchae (Guesthouse) Byeoldangchae (Annex)



Seoul to offer legal status to street stalls

  • – Seoul to offer legal status and business licenses to street stalls, instead of crackdown or regulation on them
  • – The “Policy Advisory Committee for Street Vendors” was formed and operated for four and half a years , and guidelines about the street businesses were prepared
  • – The guidelines are agreed by all members of the Committee on June 28, and are scheduled to take effect in January 2019
  • – The new system expected to guarantee their right to live, and improve the walking environment of citizens

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 9, 2018 – Street stalls in Seoul will be given legal status starting from next year. According to the announcement of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, it plans to offer an adequate license to them if they apply for it.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been committed to drawing up management measures for street stalls to guarantee their right to live, while improving the walking environment of citizens.

In an effort to effectively deal with street vendors, the city government formed the “Policy Advisory Committee for Street Vendors” in December 2013, and invited Professor Jeong Seok of the University of Seoul as the Chairman of the Committee, and city planners, design experts, civic groups, shop merchants, and groups of street vendors to draw up guidelines about the street businesses.

The guidelines are agreed by all members of the Committee on June 28, 2018, and are scheduled to take effect in January 2019.

Some of the highlights of the guidelines are – 1) the license system is introduced to occupy streets; 2) standards of street facility installation shall be followed; 3) resale or sublease is not allowed; 4) operators should be trained; and 5) street occupation fee should be calculated and levied.

In order to ensure the smooth enforcement of the guidelines, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will work with the capital’s 25 autonomous district offices to make regulations and guidelines for each district.




Seoul to demolish 42-year-old Hannam Overpass, and instead to install the median bus lane

  • – The 42-year-old “Hannam 2 Overpass” to be demolished from July 10
  • – The median bus lane to be installed in the place where the Overpass is torn down
  • – The demolition of the obsolete overpass to help improve the city landscape and revitalize the local economy, and the median bus lane to increase the conveniences of the citizens

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 9, 2018 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it will begin demolishing the 42-year-old “Hannam 2 Overpass,” which was built up in 1976 and passes through the Hannamogeori (Hannam five-way intersection), from July 10. Also it will fully control the traffic until the end of July when countermeasures against the traffic control are made.

The median bus lane will be installed in the place where the Hannam 2 Overpass is torn down. It will be expected to contribute to increasing traffic speed going towards the downtown to 23.3km per hour from 18.6 km per hour in rush hours.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government asks the citizens to use the public transportation or to make a detour, and to update their navigation devices in advance to ease possible inconveniences.

The city government has installed 100 construction signs, 30 street banners and 900 banners in the vicinity of the Hannamogeori and major spots in downtown Seoul to increase public awareness. In addition, it plans to provide detailed information on detour routes at the official websites of the city government and its autonomous district offices, major Internet portal websites, such as NAVER and DAUM, and at the city’s social network pages, navigation manufacturing companies’ websites, TBS (Seoul Traffic Broadcasting), TOPIS (Seoul Transport Operation & Information Service), as well as road sign information (VMS) so that the citizens are able to take a detour.

In order to ensure smooth traffic flows at major intersections including Hannamogeori, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will deploy more than 2,000 “best drivers” annually during the construction period.

It is expected that the demolition of the obsolete overpass will help improve the city landscape and revitalize the local economy, and the median bus lane will increase the conveniences of the citizens who take the public transportation to commute every day.




Seoul’s Clean Tap Water – Arisu




Two Koreas kick around ideas for closer sports cooperation




A picture-perfect Seoul neighborhood is fighting back against tourists