The annual Europe Days programme will rendezvous with the Vietnamese people, proposing a fascinating journey through the European cultural scene, with a series of diverse cultural and intellectual activities.

Set to provide a bridge for cross-cultural exchange, the month-long Europe Days 2014 programme will open a window into the richness of the European Union's various cultural traditions through inspiring performances.

Organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam in collaboration with the embassies of EU member states and European cultural centres, the event will be officially opened on May 9 with a jazz concert featuring the Bavarian Youth Jazz Band.

The members of the band are considered one of the most gifted in Germany, and the band recruits excellent members who were mostly discovered at the federal music competition Jugend Jazzt. The young ensemble regularly performs on national and international stages in the US, Russia and the Czech Republic with the aim of building bridges between musicians from different cultural backgrounds.

In their Vietnam concerts, under the artistic direction of Harald Ruschenbaum, a group of the most gifted among the Bavarian Youth Jazz Band will perform a repertoire ranging from traditional swing by jazz greats, such as Count Basie or Duke Ellington, to modern kinds of bebop, Latin, funk and fusion compositions.

Moreover, the young musicians will present some of their own arrangements and compositions.

Following the concerts in Hanoi Opera House on May 9-10, the band will also hit the stage of Ho Chi Minh City Opera House on May 11 night.

Free tickets can be collected at Goethe Institute Hanoi at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and Goethe Institute HCM City at 18 Road 1, Do Thanh Housing Compound, District 3.

Along with these concerts, there will be a jam session featuring the jazz musicians of the Vietnam Academy of Music in the courtyard of the Goethe Institute on May 8 from 7pm.

The musical scene of Europe Days 2014 will be enriched by a performance in the capital city by award-winning violinist Alicja Smietane from Poland, who has a highly successful career as a virtuoso violinist of international reputation.

She will team up with pianist Grzegorz Mania and drummer Adam Czerwinski to perform at the Youth Theatre on May 28. Free tickets can be collected at the Polish embassy, 3 Chua Mot Cot street, and Goethe Institute Hanoi.

Another prominent event of Europe Days 2014 will be the European Film Festival, which promises to delight Vietnamese spectators with 14 inspiring films, presenting a variety of enchanting works by European filmmakers.

The festival will take place in Hanoi from May 16 to 26 at the National Cinema Centre, 87 Lang Ha street; in Da Nang from May 17 to 27 at the CGV Cinemas Da Nang, Vinh Trung Plaza, 255 Hung Vuong street; and in HCM City from May 19 to 31 at the BHD Star Cineplex, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu street, District 1.

Free tickets can be collected at the above addresses, as well as at the Goethe Institute and British Council in Hanoi and HCM City.

The diversity of European cultural traditions will manifest in the four-day European Literature programme in Hanoi, presenting literature from Europe for the second time in the city.

Organised by the European Union National Institutes for Culture, the event will showcase books translated into Vietnamese from Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Poland, and the Netherlands.

The agenda will include a cultural roundtable discussion in Hanoi and HCM City titled "Vietnam: Where Are Female Drivers and Male Nannies?" The roundtable will have a discussion on stereotypes and traditional thinking that have prevented humans in many spheres from utilising gender equality as a driving force for development in society.

A series of workshops on the importance of Vietnam–EU relations will be conducted in Hue and Quang Ninh, while public lectures on the EU's global role will be organised in Hanoi.

As there is no better way to improve the understanding between Europeans and the Vietnamese than through people to people exchanges, in particular involving the younger generation, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen will visit Tay Nguyen University in the Central Highland city of Buon Ma Thuot. The ambassador will interact with students on the importance of the EU–Vietnam relationship.

The European Youth Football Cup – a one-day football tournament for children in Hanoi – and a short video-making competition on Energy Saving complete the array of events on the Europe Days 2014 programme.

The first Europe Days was introduced in Vietnam 10 years ago, and since then, it has seen resounding success and growing public attention.

EU Ambassador and head of the delegation Jessen noted, "We are truly delighted to witness the growing public attention in Vietnam for the Europe Days programme. By offering a wide range of diverse and stimulating cultural events, we hope that Europe Days 2014 will continue to attract many people across the spectrum of Vietnamese society."-VNA