President Iohannis, Belgian Royals attend opening of Europalia International Arts Festival

The Europalia International Arts Festival, where Romania is a special guest, was officially opened on Tuesday at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in the presence of Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and members of the Belgian royal family.

The festival, organised October 2, 2019 – February 2, 2020, includes events in the field of visual arts, performing arts, music, film, literature, cultural education that will unfold in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

This year’s edition marks of Europalia’s 50th anniversary. , with Romania staging about 250 cultural events.

Iohannis, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visited the highlight of the festival, the “Brancusi. Sublimation of form” exhibition. The exhibition, the most important dedicated to the Romanian sculptor over the last decades and the main event of the festival, includes about 200 works, letters, films and other documents that come from museums in Romania and also from the US and France. Among the sculptures on display are “Cumintenia pamantului’ (The Wisdom of the Earth), “Sarutul” (The Kiss) and ‘Rugaciune’ (Prayer).

Afterwards, they participated in the official opening of the Europalia Festival – one of the most important arts festivals in the world. Romania’s presence is coordinated by the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR).

During the ceremony, speeches were given by Europalia officials, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and Romanian Foreign Minister Ramona Manescu, respectively, and the RaRo-SoNoRo ensemble performed a concert called “Romanian Rhapsody.”

Didier Reynders said that he would like for the Europalia Romania festival to be an opportunity for strengthening the political, economic and cultural ties in a sustainable way, but also for creating even stronger bonds among citizens.

I think we can call 2019 the year of Romania in Brussels. It started with the co-ordination for the first time of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of this year and continued with the participation of Romania in the Europalia Festival for the next four months. I think that these events are the best way to illustrate the great transformations of Romania that were possible in 30 years of freedom, democracy and prosperity. (…) Europe is an important opportunity to promote cultural values, cultural heritage, multicultural traditions and our identity, said Manescu.

Europalia Romania is held under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and of the Belgian king and queen.


“I’m convinced that the public will be delighted by the diversity, dynamism, depth and uniqueness of Romanian culture”


President Klaus Iohannis met, on Tuesday, with the King of the Belgians, Philippe, context in which he stated that it’s an honor for Romania to be a country invited to the International Art Festival Europalia and expressed his conviction that the public will be delighted by the diversity, dynamism, depth and uniqueness of Romanian culture.

“Today, the long-term friendship that unites Romania and the Kingdom of Belgium is evidenced once more through culture, through the launching of the 27th edition of the Europalia Festival. I have the conviction that this will be truly special and that the Belgian and European public will be delighted by the diversity, dynamism, depth and uniqueness of the Romanian culture. To be the guest of honor country of this year’s edition of the Europalia Festival represents a wonderful occasion, which comes to complete the interest Romania enjoyed in Brussels this year, during its successful presidency of the Council of the European Union. Furthermore, I am confident that the festival will play a decisive role in further consolidating our bilateral ties,” the head of state stated, during the meeting.

In his turn, the King of the Belgians said that the Europalia Festival represents an opportunity for Romania to be better known in Brussels.

I have a distinct pleasure to welcome you today to the opening of the Europalia Art Festival. Queen Mathilde and I are very grateful for your presence in Brussels. This festival represents an opportunity to make your country better known in the capital of Europe. (…) The Europalia Cultural Festival represents an opportunity for us to discover your country’s history or its extremely rich culture. The main exhibition brings homage to Constantin Brancusi, one of the greatest Romanian and European artists of the 20th century. Brancusi was stimulated by an unmovable search of essential simplicity, of abstract perfection or, as he described it, ‘the real sense of things’. His work inspires both force, as well as clarity. This we wish to you and all Romanian citizens – power and clarity, King Philippe stated.

He showed that Belgium and Romania collaborate constructively on many common interest matters, both at the bilateral as well as at a European level.

“Mr. President, I would wish to congratulate you personally for the determination with which you promote the aspirations of Romanians to ‘built another fate’ for themselves, as your national anthem says. We await eagerly many other realizations and we are prepared to be beside you in all your initiatives”, also said the King of the Belgians.



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