I am happy that Professor Christian Breiteneder, Dr. Christian Schicklgruber and their team at the Völkerkunde Museum of Austria have designed a website based on the exhibition on Bhutan that the Museum successfully hosted in Vienna from November 1997 to March 1998.

This virtual exhibition is representative of Bhutan's development ethos which is committed to sustainable development while preserving its pristine environment and rich cultural heritage. I sincerely hope that this exhibition on the Internet will be able to convey that traditions and culture can co-exist with economic development.

I am grateful to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Federal Government of Austria, and the Institute of Software Technics of the Technical University of Vienna, for their invaluable contributions in making it possible for Bhutan to present itself before a global audience.

I would like to wish the exhibition every success in contributing towards a greater and better understanding of Bhutan and its people.

Tashi Delek!

H. E. Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Royal Government of Bhutan


Dear Web Surfers,

exactly three years have passed since we, the present Foreign Minister, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and the then Bhutanese Embassador for all EU States and present Foreign Minister, Jigme Y. Thinley and I opened the exhibition »Bhutan - Mountain Fortress of the Gods« in the Wiener Völkerkundemuseum on November, 9th 1997.

Austria's developmental cooperation focuses on Bhutan. Added to this, this exhibition was also seen as contributing to increased understanding between nations and opening up to unknown cultures.

This exhibition, which was conceptualized in Austria, has aroused unusually high interest and counts amongst the Museum's best visited exhibitions in recent years. As other European museums also showed interest in this exhibition, it was, after Vienna, also shown in Basel, Switzerland, the Spanish cities Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Granada, Gijon and Zaragoza, as well as in Leiden, in the Netherlands.

After the actual exhibition in Vienna, a project was launched with the aim of offering the exhibited contents to all Austrians, and even worldwide. With the help of modern IKT concepts the exhibition has been freed from its restrictions of space and time and made into a »Virtual Exhibition«, accessible on the internet. This project must been seen as a contribution of »eAustria in eEurope«.

I would like to express my thanks to the Bhutanese government, the owners of exhibited materials, the scholars, the internet designers, the artists, technicians and photographers and all the other people who have made the realisation of this project possible.

Elisabeth Gehrer
Federal Minister of Education, Science and Cultural Affairs


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