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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article25 February 2021Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

25 years of Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), 25 centuries of exchanges between Europeans and Asians

From the way we dress, communicate and share ideas, from the goods we buy and trade and the bonds we forge, we, Europeans and Asians, all interrelate. For centuries, we have inspired each other and developed strong commercial and political networks across our continents.

2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a valuable platform of dialogue, cooperation and partnership. For a generation, ASEM has brought connectivity and dialogue between European and Asian societies and economies to the next level, based on the principles of equal partnership and mutual respect among its 53 members.

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 thedigital exhibition A Passage to Asia, 25 Centuries of Exchange between Asia and Europe” on 7th March 2021. This will also be accompanied by the dialogue forumState 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 revisits the eponymous exhibition organised in Brussels in 2010. It brings together 18 masterpieces from 15 countries, highlighting 2,500 years of cross-fertilisation between the two continents.

The exhibition testifies the strong commercial and political networks developed between Europe and Asia, both on land and at sea over the past 25 years and more. It thus illustrates mobility and cultural exchanges between the two continents, reminding us of the close ties between Europe and Asia.

Hilde Hardeman, Director – Head of Service for Foreign Policy Instruments stated ahead of the inauguration of the digital exhibition: “This year, we celebrate 25 years of Asia Europe Meetings. For 25 centuries, we have travelled, exchanged goods, ideas, ways of thinking. Culture has been an ideal vehicle for exchange. These exchanges have enriched and fertilised the Eurasian continent. Let us continue to “travel” together.”

The launch event of the exhibition will take place on 7 March 2020 between 12:00-14:00 CET. Full programme is available here.

Registrations are opened here.


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 55% 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.

More information:

EEAS page

Partnership Instrument


Publication date
25 February 2021
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments