In her official visit to Vietnam more than 11 years ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) - Quoc Tu Giam (First University of Vietnam) as the only destination when she was in Hanoi. Spending 45 minutes walking around the relic site, Chancellor Merkel listened to stories about the history of the First University of Vietnam and admired the Pavilion of Constellation of Literature (Khue Van Cac) - a symbol of Hanoi capital and 82 doctorate steles – a Documentary Heritage of UNESCO's Memory of the World Program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hits the big drum at Van Mieu in Hanoi in 2011.

“The relic is not only a valuable asset of Hanoi capital but it has also become the property and cultural heritage of humanity,” Mrs. Merkel said. On this occasion, the German Doctor of Physics hit the big drum at Van Mieu.

Perhaps, visiting Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam was Mrs. Merkel’s intention - the most powerful woman in the world at that time. Previously, the German Chancellor and her Vietnamese counterpart inked the Hanoi Joint Statement: Vietnam and Germany - Strategic Partners for the future. Under the statement, the two countries promoted strategic cooperation in the fields of education, culture and preservation of cultural heritage. Chancellor Merkel shared that in the past, Germany was one of the countries supporting Vietnam in training officers. At that time, there were more than 100,000 Vietnamese people living, working and studying in Germany. The large number of Vietnamese citizens who could speak German was such a precious potential, serving as a friendship bridge connecting the two countries. With a smile on her face, Mrs. Merkel said “Vietnam and Germany hold huge potential for stronger cooperation!”

For the incumbent German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Vietnam is familiar to him as Mr. Scholz and his wife have been to Vietnam and both of them have a special love for Vietnamese food. The German Chancellor often goes to Vietnamese restaurants in Hamburg (Germany) to enjoy Vietnamese dishes. Deep in his mind, Vietnam is considered an important and potential partner for Germany.

Therefore, after diplomatic ceremonials, together with activities to push up economic and trade cooperation and foster bilateral investment on November 13, 2022, Chancellor Scholz took full advantage of his little time to take an evening stroll along Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake. Walking along Hang Gai street, Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square and Dinh Tien Hoang street, the Chancellor stopped at Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) - a special national relic and also one of the well-known relics in Hanoi.

It was not by accident that German Chancellor Scholz visited and offered incense at Vietnam’s sacred temple. Ngoc Son Temple worships national hero Tran Hung Dao - a Grand Duke of the Tran Dynasty who led the Dai Viet military and people three times to repel Mongolian invasions in the 13th century.

A few days ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Hanoi visit, the two countries’ ministries signed an agreement on defense cooperation. Under the agreement, both sides pledged to share strategic issues of mutual concern and further enhance cooperation in training, military medicine, U.N. peacekeeping and other fields.

Amid the complicated developments in the world, Mrs. Scholz expressed his belief that the signing of the agreement on defense cooperation would contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world.

Also, he hoped that the two countries would expand cooperation in other fields, including economy-trade, investment, education, and science-technology, to name but a few. “Vietnam is an important partner of Germany,” Chancellor Scholz said to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

Translated by Quynh Oanh