EU Global Strategy

ASEM Day - 25 years of Asia Europe Meeting

24/02/2021 - 16:49
Visual artsExhibitionsOnline activities

On the 1st of March we celebrate ASEM Day, which commemorates the 1st ASEM Meeting (ASEM1) held on 1-2 March 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand.

On this day we celebrate the importance of strengthening relations between Asia and Europe, by promoting cooperation, partnership and connectivity across the two continents. ASEM Day reminds us of the need for an even closer engagement with one another, which has become even clearer following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, ASEM Day is especially important, as we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM). For over a  quarter of a century ASEM has promoted dialogue and understanding on political, economic and international issues, based on the principles of equal partnership and mutual respect among its 53 partners.

To mark this special anniversary, the European Union (EU) together with the Centre for Fine Art Brussels (BOZAR) and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), will launch the digital exhibition A Passage to Asia, 25 Centuries of Exchange between Asia and Europe. They will also host a dialogue forum on the “State of play, perspectives and new forms of cooperation between Asian and European museums.

With the support of the EU’s Partnership Instrument the digital exhibition presents a selection of objects from a retrospective exhibition organised in Brussels back in 2010. It brings together 18 masterpieces from 15 countries, highlighting 2.500 years of exchange between the two continents.


Based on the available data and photographic material from the previous collection, high-tech designers created 3-D images of the (18) exhibition objects. To these artefacts were added labels, audio and visual context to help the public navigate the exhibits interactively.

The exhibition testifies to the historic commercial and political networks that developed over centuries between Europe and Asia, both on land and sea. It thus illustrates the mobility and cultural exchanges between our two continents, reminding us of the importance of the Europe-Asia relations.

Join us on Sunday 7 March, from 12.00-14.00 (CET/UTC+1)



ASEM is a unique, informal platform for political dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe launched in 1996.  It brings together 53 partners, including 51 European and Asian countries, the EU, and the ASEAN Secretariat.

ASEM partners represent 65% of global GDP, 60% of the global population, 75% of global tourism and 60% of global trade. The ASEM Summit takes place every two years, alternating between locations in Asia and Europe, to set out the priorities of the partnership. Foreign Ministers’ meetings are organised between the ASEM summits. Besides the biennial summit and the foreign ministers’ meeting, a plethora of meetings between ministers and senior officials cover education, culture, transport and migration.

ASEM is not just a meeting of governments, political leaders and senior officials. It is a platform for the people of Europe and Asia to foster joint actions towards a common future. For 25 years, ASEM has been the most comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe, crossing hands across continents.


Digital exhibition