Memo April 2013

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A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in April 2013

This newsletter went to 3481 addresses. (Don’t hesitate if you find it one too many.)

With ministers in Moscow

As promised, European culture ministers (or their representatives) gathered in the Bolshoy Theatre to discuss actual issues. Democracy was in focus. In spite of the obvious diversity among the 47 members of the Council of Europe in this regard, the amicable protocol at such events – and the looseness of the concept – saved delegates from tense moments. You may judge from the first on-the-spot summary to what degree this event of the chief guardian of human rights has met expectations.

This summation begins and ends by quoting In from the Margins. Rightfully so. Those 376 pages from 1997 can be consulted on so many issues about culture and policies even today. (The authors are hidden in sub-chapter 1.3.1.)   

Pier-Luigi Sacco’s analysis of the successive cultural policy paradigms served as a convenient point of reference for the discussions at the conference. Here is an almost comics-like trailer to the essay.

A few absences disappointed BO, e.g. Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission. The deputy secretary general of OECD, however, was there and regretted the lack of indicators on culture from their Better Life Index. And the Russian minister was present (nearly) all along.

Green (and a bit rosy)

Two months after focusing on the greening of culture BO attended a highly relevant event in Thessaloniki. Arriving with sympathetic worries, most foreign participants left with a bit more confidence about our common future, thanks to talking to Greek people at the seminar (including a remarkable mayor).

The latest TEH (Trans Europe Halles) newsletter invites to the next occasion to reflect about “creative strategies of sustainability” in culture (Berlin, September). Thinking has been going on since 2011, when eleven organisations won a million euro for the purpose. 

Funding translations

“The worst cuts are still coming” – two organisations fully confirmed the gloomy forecast. Optimists, however, were in majority among the 22 national literary translation agencies that participated in the survey made last year and published now on the spectacular new web site of LAF: Literature Across Frontiers. 

Indeed, the survey suggests consolidation and diversification in this relatively new kind of institution. Their doyen, Finland’s FILI was established in 1977. Until a few years ago the provision of information (largely in printed material) was in the focus, now a more complex and dynamic set of activities is the norm. Next to foreign publishers and translators the scope of stakeholders is getting wider, offering increased attention to local publishers, facilities to writers, organising events and minority issues.

Here is how many translations these bodies supported in 2010 and 2011. Around 250 Dutch titles a year from the Netherlands and about 100 more from Flanders (FLE in the chart) – Poles and Turks try to keep the pace.

 


European pride

Europe is losing positions before our eyes. The significant indicator of the number of passengers at airports reflects this global restructuring. In 2008 there were three European airports among the ten busiest. By last year only two remained. (Atlanta, the biggest, came close to a hundred million passengers in 2012.)

We usually console ourselves by emphasising that what we lose in quantity, we keep, or even gain in quality. Sometimes this is just self-deception. But not in case of airports! While in 2008 among the ten best liked airports one could find only three in Europe, by 2012 there were four! Amsterdam stepped forward in each of the past five years in this list, up to the 3rd position, now the best in Europe. The Schiphol annex of the Rijksmuseum must have contributed to this. 

The largest passenger airports of the world:

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

1

Atlanta

Atlanta

Atlanta

Atlanta

Atlanta

2

Chicago

Heathrow

Beijing

Beijing

Beijing

3

Heathrow

Beijing

Chicago

Heathrow

Heathrow

4

Tokyo

Chicago

Heathrow

Chicago

Tokyo

5

Paris (CDG)

Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo

Chicago

6

Los Angeles

Paris (CDG)

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

7

Dallas

Los Angeles

Paris (CDG)

Paris (CDG)

Paris (CDG)

8

Beijing

Dallas

Dallas

Dallas

Dallas

9

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Jakarta

10

Denver

Denver

Denver

Hong Kong

Dubai

 

The most popular airports:

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

1

Seoul

Singapore

Hong Kong

Seoul

Singapore

2

Hong Kong

Seoul

Singapore

Singapore

Seoul

3

Singapore

Hong Kong

Seoul

Hong Kong

Amsterdam

4

Zurich

Munich

Munich

Amsterdam

Hong Kong

5

Munich

Kuala Lumpur

Beijing

Beijing

Beijing

6

Kansai

Zurich

Amsterdam

Munich

Munich

7

Kuala Lumpur

Amsterdam

Zurich

Zurich

Zurich

8

Amsterdam

Beijing

Auckland

Kuala Lumpur

Vancouver

9

Nagoya

Auckland

Kuala Lumpur

Vancouver

Tokyo

10

Auckland

Bangkok

Copenhagen

Nagoya

Heathrow

 

Among the top hundred there are 38 European airports. From our region Prague was 61st last year. Also from the broader eastern area: 32nd Istanbul, 49th Moscow Domodevovo, 51st Athens, and 89th Moscow Sheremetyevo.