Emilia-Romagna & Asia

The Emilia-Romagna Region maintains relations with numerous cities on the Asian continent, through cooperation protocols in the economic, social and cultural fields.

The first cooperation agreement between the Municipality of Bologna and China was signed in 1989 with the city of Chongqing. Thanks to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network - of which Bologna is part, being a UNESCO City of Music - the city built relationships with Shenzhen and Chengdu. In 2019, Bologna signed an "Agreement for cooperation and exchanges" in the cultural and creative domains with Chengdu.

The Chinese community in Bologna is the eighth community of foreign citizens in the city, with more than 6000 people in the metropolitan area. In 2017, Bologna was recognised as a "Welcome Chinese" destination. This award epitomises the many kinds of relationships occurring between the city and China, as well as the strategic interest in the area as a tourist and business destination. Moreover, as Bologna complies with a set of standards in welcoming Chinese tourists, it is also advertised by the China Tourism Academy in China.

In October 2020, a group of former Chinese students of the University of Bologna showed solidarity by donating Personal Protective Equipment to the Policlinico Sant'Orsola, to contrast the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since 2012, when the then-mayor of Seoul visited Bologna, several exchanges occurred between the two ctites. These exchanges have been particularly important in the context of social economy and the two cities have recently signed a "Cooperation Agreement" on social economy, creative industries and culture. In 2015, the Municipality of Bologna signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the city of Seongnam, to strengthen exchanges in the "smart" cities and development domains. Moreover, the two cities exchanged good practices as regards cooperatives and services for people.

In 1981, Itabashi hosted for the first time a selection of picture books of the Bologna Children's Book Fair. On March 28, 2021, Itabashi inaugurated its new Public Library, and there is a whole section dedicated to Bologna. Bologna also has strong cultural relations with Hamamatsu, which is also a Creative City of Music. The two cities singed a Cooperation Agreement, with several local bodies, to cooperate in the music domain.

Bologna recently brought its experience to Nagoya, Hamamatsu and Itabashi in the mental health domain, thanks to the cooperation with Azienda AUSL and to the non-for-profit organizations Arte e Salute and Tokyo Soteria. Japan is also present in Bologna, as testified by the towers of the Bologna Fair - designed by Kenzo Tange - and the project of the new railway station, designed by Arata Isozaki.