Hoi An is an ancient city with many multi-layered cultural traditions, rich identities, various forms of folk art, and several craft villages.
Hoi An, in Quang Nam province, has a great potential and holds many advantages to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Once it is recognized as a global creative city, Hoi An will have new opportunities to promote its cultural tangible and intangible values and create new cultural and tourism services and products.
Photo: Duy Hậu
Hoi An residents have preserved more than 100 traditional handicrafts, which have been famous since the 17th century when this city was a busy international trading port. From here various types of products such as silk, leather, embroidery, and wood crafted fine art products have been shipped all over the world.
These are the heritages for Hoi An to develop to become a global creative city. Bui Quy Phong, an artist making masks and unicorn heads in Minh An ward, said joining UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network is not only a recognition of the people’s effort to preserve traditional crafts, but also an opportunity for the city to promote its cultural diversity.
“I’m very happy that my work will be remembered by future generations. Everyone has their work. Together we contribute to building this city. There are villages making pottery, lanterns, masks, silk, and many other crafts. Everyone joins hands to enrich Hoi An city’s culture and identity,” Phong said.
With unique architectural, cultural, and historical spaces, Hoi An has provided an infinite source of inspiration for local residents, artisans, and artists from different places. The handicraft products and folk art forms have long‑lasting vitality and create a livelihood for the local population. These are the criteria that UNESCO sets for candidate cities to participate in the global creative cities network.
Hoi An has organized many activities for artisans to promote their creativity with traditional materials. Nguyen Van Lanh, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that pottery, carpentry, and produce‑growing villages will be expanded to invite Vietnamese and foreign artists to exchange their expertise.
“We have committed to implementing at least 3 creative projects at the national level and 3 creative programs on crafts and folk arts at the global level. They will generate opportunities for Hoi An to go beyond the boundary to integrate into the world,” Lanh said.
In 1999 Hoi An Ancient Town was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Over the last 24 years, the local authority and people have exerted efforts to promote its heritage’s values to build the trademark of a cultural, tourism and ecological city.
Nguyen Thanh Hong, Director of Quang Nam’s Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, emphasized that “It will be an opportunity for Hoi An to expand cooperation with other heritage and creative cities worldwide and approach the beauty and successes of other cities. We’ll further promote Hoi An as a creative city while it continues to retain its ancient features.”
Hoi An has finalized a dossier and submitted the application to UNESCO for recognition as a member of the Global Creative Cities Network in the field of traditional crafts and folk arts. If approved, Hoi An will be the second Vietnamese city, after Hanoi, to join the network.