The Slovenia Times

Cultural institutes make Ljubljana a cultural crossroad


The institutes are currently planning a number of interesting events.

Offering rich cultural programmes and a wide range of language courses, the institutes give both children and adults a chance to get acquainted with a foreign culture and pursue a language certificate to learn the culture's language.

The youngest of the institutes, the Balassi Institute, was established in April this year to take over the work of various Hungarian societies and the Hungarian Embassy in Ljubljana.

The institute also wishes to offer a space to the Hungarian minority from the north-eastern region of Prekmurje and those who moved to Slovenia from Hungary in the 1970s due to economic reasons. An estimated 6,000 Hungarians live in Prekmurje and around 1,500 in Ljubljana.

The Balassi Institute will offer screenings of animated Hungarian films at the Kinoteka cinematheque and a puppet show at the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre at the end of October as part of its programme for children.

Next month, the institute will put on an exhibition to honour the work of Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely (1906-1997). Another exhibition will be held next year to mark the 125th anniversary of composer Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967).

In December, the institute will also mark the 135th anniversary of composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945) with a concert played by the Ljubljana Academy of Music.

The French Institute in Ljubljana is meanwhile the oldest such institute in Slovenia, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

Established in 1966 with the aim of developing cultural ties between France and Slovenia, it supports the introduction of French language courses in Slovenia's schools as well as bilateral collaboration in science and academia.

The institute will host French journalist Florence Hartmann and philosopher Olivier Razac at this year's Slovenian Book Fair in November, while Ljubljana libraries will mark the French Culture Week in the first week of December with various literary events.

To mark its 50th anniversary next year, the French institute will organise a project called The Night of Philosophy as well as a literary project called Prix Goncourt for Slovenian Students. The sixth Festival of Francophone Film will be held as part of Francophonie month in March.

The German Goethe Institute has been active in Ljubljana since 2004, focusing on offering German language courses. The institute has organised the Days of German Film, which opened yesterday at Kinoteka.

Held until 29 October, the event's programme features a retrospective of German director Dominik Graf and screenings of contemporary German films.

On Friday, the institute hosted Bulgarian-German writer Ilija Trojanow, Slovenian writer Miha Mazzini, as well as philosophers Mladen Dolar and Joseph Vogl at the Cankarjev dom arts and convention centre.

Next year, the Goethe Institute will organise an exhibition at Ljubljana Castle, along with various concerts, a round table debate with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek and a celebration to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 theses in Wittenburg.

Ljubljana is also the headquarters of the British Council and the Italian Institute of Culture, which also offer rich cultural programmes to promote their countries in Slovenia.

The British Council is one of the most recognised British international organisations, which was first established in 1934, while the Slovenian unit was established in 1992. One of its missions is to support making the Slovenian educational system international.

The organisation is also active in the area of economy, being interested in social entrepreneurship and issues, such as youth unemployment. With various exhibitions it regularly showcases British art in Slovenia.

The Italian Institute of Culture was established in 2001 and shares the building which also hosts the French Institute. Its main aim is to promote the Italian language and culture in Slovenia. Its library can be used by its members and language course attendees.

All of Ljubljana's cultural institutes are part of international networks and are financed by their native countries.


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