Cultural Policy in

The Socialist Republic of


Prepared by Culturelink

© Copyright IRMO/Culturelink 1996



The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Viet Nam) is situated in South-East Asia bordered between China, Laos, Kampuchea and by the China sea. The land area is 329,600 km2 and 79 per cent out of the 65 million of inhabitants (1989) are rural.

There are sixty minority groups -- including Khmer, Cham, Muong and Thai peoples -- whose cultures and languages are quite distinct from those of the "koinh" Vietnamese. The language is Vietnamese.

The population is basically literate (85 per cent), and around 20 per cent of the population is included in some form or in full time education.

Cultural and financial contacts with the West remain severely and adversely affected by the legacy of the Vietnam war, and the non-US Western aid largely dependent on the resolution of Cambodia question.

General Directions of Cultural Policy

Ruled by the principles of socialist state, the sphere of cultural life in Vietnam has been merged into the overall (therefore not distinguished) social development programmes. Thus, the cultural policy objectives are "to raise the level of knowledge in the field of culture, science and aesthetics for the working class and to pay attention to cultural life in the countryside, especially in remote areas" as well as "attain the harmony between economic and cultural development".

More specifically, those objectives are ruled by the principles, as follows: to complete the educational reform and a system of general education for all; to incorporate aesthetic education into general schools; to standardize popular cultural activities in the whole country; to safeguard cultural and historical relics, etc.

Administrative and Institutional Structures

Public and Semi-public Bodies

The Ministry of Culture is a central authority supervising and administering various departments, institutes, museums, theatres, studios, colleges, etc.

The following units are administered under the Ministry: the Department of Drama, the Department of Music and Dance, the Department of Fine Arts, the Department of Museology, the Institute of Music, the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Music, the Institute of Research into the History of Art, the Institute of Fine Arts Research, the Institute of Theatre Research, the Film Archives Institute, the Ho Chi Minh City Film Archives Institute, the Fine Arts Museum, the History Museum, the Museum of the Revolution, the Department of Mass Culture, the Viet Nam Film Division, the Film Department, the Ho Chi Minh City Film Company, the Cartoon Film Company, the Documentary Film Company, the Film Slides Studio, the Vietnamese Performing Arts Company (Vinaconcert), the Opera, the Cheo Theatre, the Tuon Theatre, the Spoken Theatre, the New Theatre, the Youth Theatre, the Song, Dance, and Music Theatre, the Marionette Theatre, the Symphonic Theatre, the Central Hall of Culture, the Quan Ho Folk Song Ensemble, the Vietnamese Circus Union, the Sound Recording Studio, the National Fine Arts Studio, the Vietnamese Film School, the Theatre and Film School, the Vietnamese Music Institute, the Music School of Hué, the Ho Chi Minh City Musical Institute, the Vietnamese Dance School, the College of Fine Arts, the Ministry of Culture's College for the Cultural Professions, the Hué Fine Arts College, the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts College and the Ho Chi Minh City College of Dramatic Art. (Source: Situation and Trends in Cultural Policy in Member States of Asia and the Pacific: Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico-City, 26 July - 6 August 1982. Paris, Unesco, 1982, pp. 78-79)

Cultural divisions, libraries, newspapers and radio station exist in each of the country's forty provinces. There is also a cultural council in each of the 469 districts, towns and cities

Facilities and Institutions

Recently, Art Viet Nam has been set up, which is an arts consultancy with tasks of providing reports on venues in the country and on the possibilities of establishment of cultural centres as parts of wider commercial development

Instruments of Cultural Policy

Financing of Cultural Activities

The state is responsible for the financing and planning of cultural development.


The cultural "principles" are set out in the Article 37, Article 38, Article 39, Article 44, Article 45, Article 46 and Article 49 of Chapter III of the Constitution.

Sectoral Policies

Protection of Cultural Heritage

In 1990, Unesco has continued its campaign for the restoration and conservation of the historical relics of Hue and preservation of other heritage. Furthermore, Japanese Government has also decided to donate US$100,000 for the restoration of the Imperial City of Hue.

Vietnam is known by its typical arts forms: Cheo and Tuong.

Artistic Education

A network of arts schools is supervised by the provincial cultural divisions and the cultural departments of the cities.

Cultural Industries

Figures show that in 1987 there were only 99 radio and 34 TV receivers per 1,000 inhabitants.

Cultural Development

The state encourages the formation of "people's arts companies" composed of farm or industrial workers who produce and perform shows for themselves.

International Cultural Cooperation

The Government has signed cultural cooperation agreements with some 38 countries and organizes cultural exchange with nearly 100 countries.

Vietnam is a member of UNESCO and of Asian Cultural Centre for Unesco (ACCU).


Central Television
Ging Vo

Commission nationale vietnamienne pour l'UNESCO
10, Le Phung Hieu
Tel. 55.441

Institute of Culture
0 Cho Dua

Institute of Ethnology
27 Tran Xuan Soan St

Institute of Linguistics
28 Ly Thai To St

Institute of Literature
20 Ly Thai o St

Institute of Research in Musicology and Choreography
32 Nguyen Thai Hoc St

Institute of Stage Arts
0 Cho Dua

Ministry of Culture
53 Ngo Queyen

Ministry of Education
21 Le Thanh Tong

Ministry of Information

National Art Gallery
66 Nguyen Thai Hoc St

National Library of Viet-Nam
31 Trang Thi
10000 HanoI

Voice of Viet-Nam
58 Quan Su

Writers and Artists Union
51 Tran Hung Dao St.


Khac, Ly; Hoang Cuc, Nguyen. Report of Viet Nam. Country Paper Presentation at the Sub-Regional Meeting of Cultural Dimension of Development, 2-5 July 1990, Bangkok. Paris, Unesco, 1990.

Situation and Trends in Cultural Policy in Member States of Asia and the Pacific: Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico-City, 26 July - 6 August 1982. Paris, Unesco, 1982, pp. 78-81.

Tenth Meeting of Experts on Regional Co-operation in Unesco Cultural Activities in Asia and the Pacific: Viet Nam, Tokyo, 15-19 March 1991. Tokyo, Asian Cultural Centre for Unesco, 1991, pp. 111-113.

How This Document Was Prepared
This monograph is based on data from the Culturelink Cultural Policies Data Bank, and on documents collected by the Documentation Centre for Cultural Development and Cooperation, Culturelink, in Zagreb, Croatia.

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