The residents of Washington witnessed a rare sight on Tuesday evening. The city's famous J.F. Kennedy Center was bathed in artificial northern lights by the Danish light designer Jesper Kongshaug. And inside the distinctive building, guests in evening dress enjoyed music from, amongst others, Sibelius, Grieg and Carl Nielsen. The occasion was the opening of the art and cultural festival Nordic Cool 2013 for the American public.
The opening marked the start of four weeks of Nordic art and cultural events in Washington. The Culture and Co-operation Ministers from the Nordic countries took part in the inauguration along with the Secretary General for the Nordic Council of Ministers. In his speech to the American public, Secretary General Halldór Ásgrímsson emphasised the Nordic core values which Americans can look forward to getting to know better.
"The Nordic countries and Nordic Co-operation are built on common values such as gender equality, trust, tolerance and anti-discrimination. These Nordic core values will run through the festival's cultural and political programme in the next four weeks", said Halldór Ásgrímsson.
During the inauguration of Nordic Cool, there were also speeches from Sweden's Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, and Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Ewa Björling. In agreement with Halldór Ásgrímsson, they both stressed how important a global brand the Nordic Region is now.
During the inauguration the American hosts were also served New Nordic Food and given a tour of Nordic Cool's large exhibitions and programme. The programme focuses on Nordic design, architecture, welfare, gender equality and green growth.
Nordic Cool 2013 is a Nordic cultural festival in Washington. Nordic Cool 2013 is presented in co-operation with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic embassies in Washington and the respective art and cultural exchange programmes in the Nordic countries, as well as Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands.