From August 10 to 14, Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon took his first overseas business trip in office. The mayor visited three European cities: Odense and Copenhagen, in Denmark, and Berlin, in Germany.
Mayor Park met the mayors of each of these three cities and signed MOUs with each of them with the goal of strengthening inter-city exchanges of culture and tourism. In doing so, the mayor established the foundation for the “creative economy” that he has focused on ever since his reinauguration, which also aligns with the broader goal of strengthening cooperative relations with developed European cities.
In Odense, which Mayor Park visited on August 11 (Mon, local time), the mayor actively participated in discussions on creating a Han Christian Andersen fairy tale-themed park in Seoul. As the birthplace of the world-famous author Hans Christian Andersen, the city of Odense has created numerous tourist attractions based on the characters from Andersen’s stories, drawing in visitors from all over the world. Mayor Park visited the Andersen Museum and other major attractions in the city. The creation of an Andersen Fairy Tale Park in Seoul is expected to encourage children to dream and stimulate their imaginations, while offering tourists to Seoul a wider variety of attractions and experiences to enjoy.
On August 12 (Tue, local time), in Copenhagen, the mayors of Seoul and Copenhagen exchanged commemorative items that are representative of each city and discussed ways to achieve practical cooperation on sharing Copenhagen’s model city policies related to issues such as climate, environment, and bicycles. Mayor Park also visited several sites where such policies are currently being implemented. On August 13 (Wed, local time) in Berlin, the last city he visited, Mayor Park met with Karl Heinz Müller, the president of Bread and Butter, the largest fashion expo in Germany. It is expected that this meeting will result in the expo being hosted in Seoul next fall.
Mayor Park also met with Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit at Berlin City Hall. The MOU they signed is a fortified version of the one signed in 1997, especially in terms of expanded exchanges of culture and tourism.
During his time in Europe, Mayor Park hosted a “Night of Seoul” event, to which he invited members of the overseas Korean community, Korean adoptees, and individuals with friendly relationships with Seoul. He also listened to honest opinions on revitalized exchange in each of the cities he visited and ways to develop Seoul, and visited model facilities related to energy efficiency and bicycle use.
A spokesperson of the Seoul Metropolitan Government stated, “This tour of three European cities, the first overseas business trip of this city administration, aims to strengthen practical cooperative networks in the areas of culture and tourism, the basis of the creative economy, as well as achieve concrete results.” The spokesperson went on to say that the tour was also expected to “create a synergy effect with the multi-approach ‘city sales’ conducted for cities of the world.”