04 JAN 2013: We finish our series of events and celebrations to watch for in 2013. It's a handy reference guide for travellers, and today's feature covers Europe, Asia, South East Asia, Australia and Africa.

EUROPE

France
850th anniversary of Notre Dame
This majestic cathedral, and one of France’s national icons, is ready to welcome even more visitors during this monumental year. Watch for some cosmetic changes like a new bell chime, an organ renovation, new interior lighting alongside some rare garments that will be on display. Plenty of symposiums and exhibitions will be scheduled but the big highlight is a pilgrimage accessible to everyone called the 850 Years Way starting from the Cathedral Square.
Dates: now till November 24, 2013
www.notredamedeparis2013.com

50th anniversary of the death of Edith Piaf

The world shared a collective grief when France’s ‘Little Sparrow’ died on October 11, 1963. A sea of mourners (400,000) flooded the streets of Paris on the day of her funeral. Many consider Edith Piaf to be the most famous French female singer of all time whose been immortalized by her songs “Non, je ne regretted rien” and “La Vie en Rose.” Watch for tributes worldwide celebrating her life and work.

90th anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel
The maverick architect who created iconic symbols like Paris’ renowned Eiffel Tower and the interior framework of New York City’s illustrious Grand Dame, the Statue of Liberty, died when he was 91 years old and left legacies close to our hearts. No doubt his final resting place at the Levallois-Perret cemetery is frequented by fans. Watch for retrospectives year-round.
Date: December 27, 2013

100th Anniversary of Tour De France

A surprise event created to boost newspaper sales has flourished into a must-see cycling event that ironically has received much ink recently over the calamitous controversy of Lance Armstrong. When the tour first started it was nearly a three week gig done in six stages that spanned 2,428 kms. Fast forward a century. Find 21 stages spanning 3,360 kilometres. For the 100th tour, international cyclists will battle starting from Corsica then it’s nothing but the French mainland after that. New this year: 10 new towns, and gruelling circuits around Alpe-d’Huez (this mountainous stretch will be climbed twice on the 18th stage).
June 29-July 21, 2013
www.letour.fr/le-tour/2013

Centenary of Rite of Spring
When ballet fans attending the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris witnessed a highly charged ballet choreography accompanied by this righteous piece back on May 29, 1913 it was mayhem, okay, a riot. The times were a-changing. Stravinsky’s piece was a game changer to the world of dance and music and remains a milestone in the history of ballet. Be sure to view the Montreal Symphony Orchestra perform this highly charged piece which continues to resonate to this day.

Italy
Centennial Festival at the Arena di Verona

Who could ask for more as honorary artistic director Placido Domingo will guest conduct and sing on what the Veronese proudly declare as the greatest stage in the world. This ancient Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra is renowned for large scale opera concerts. Be prepared to see Domingo in Verdi’s classic Nabucco in two special performances on July 4 and August 18.
June 14-September 18, 2013
http://www.arena.it/

200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi

Like many beloved European composers Italy’s Giuseppe Verdi, the creator of timeless masterpieces Rigoletto, La Traviata, Aida, and his ultimate melancholic Requiem Mass receives heart-felt tributes that will surely resonate across concert halls worldwide. Every year the Land of Verdi aka Roncole di Busseto in Parma his hometown hosts the Festival Verdi, a 28-day musical event in October.
October 10, 2013

Germany
Richard Wagner Bicentenary (22 May 1813)

One of Germany’s famous composers celebrates his 200th birthday with special events planned across Germany. In Leipzig, his birthplace, the 10-day Richard Wagner Festival takes centre stage May 16-26, 2013. A new Richard Wagner Museum set in Wagner’s old school will be opening in Leipzig on May 21, 2013. It’s home to the permanent exhibition 'The Young Richard Wagner'.

200th year of Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales publication

Famous for the fantastical legends brought to life in the spine-tingling Grimms’ Fairy Tales, the Brothers Grimm no doubt have given much fodder to imaginations. Translated into 160 languages the inspiring tales were read by children and storytellers everywhere. Watch for big time culturally themed events across Germany around the Grimms. Highlight includes a huge retrospective Expedition Grimm (April 27- September 8, 2013) in Kassel. It’s considered the most important event.
December 20, 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the first edition.
www.grimm2013.de

Holland

200 years of the Kingdom of The Netherlands
The Netherlands as we know it including its colonies like the swashbuckling Dutch West Antilles is partying like its 1813...almost. Still, while the Dutch Antilles was dissolved in 2010 with some exceptions, insiders report the Caribbean part of the Kingdom will still be part of the celebrations. Watch for a Kingdom concert and other events in this two-year party.
www.200jaarkoninkrijk.nl

400th year anniversary of the renowned canal ring in Amsterdam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Nice to see Amsterdam rated as the world’s second best city to visit in 2013 by Lonely Planet which makes it doubly nice to know its legendary canals are celebrating a huge milestone. Watch for many events planned on the city’s famous canal district.
January 14, 2013 – the opening concert at the Concertgebouw, which incidentally, is also celebrating 125 years.

Reopening of the national museum, the Rijksmuseum
Holland’s biggest museum underwent 10 years of extensive renovation with all 80 rooms refurbished to its original glory. This transformation was made possible by the dynamic Spanish architecture firm Cruz Y Ortiz. Visitors will use state-of-the-art museum technology as they wind through the rooms showcasing some 10,000 pieces in the collection. Only the world famous Night Watch will return to its original location. It will be the only museum in the world open year-round.
April 13, 2013
www.rijksmuseum.nl/en

175 years of Artis Zoo

Nature meets culture in the heart of Amsterdam. This legendary city zoo known for exquisite 19th century architecture, a planetarium, a zoological museum and a house for over 900 animal types, also doubles as a playground. This year thousands of flowers will bloom commemorating the anniversary. Watch for the special exhibition: Sea of Flowers opening in March and lots more.
http://www.artis.nl/en/artis-royal-zoo/

100 years of the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem

To mark this centenary the notable museum will have a jubilee exhibition showcasing 50 masterpieces by the Dutch painter Frans Hals alongside paintings by his peers. See Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian like never before.
March 23-July 28, 2013 – Special exhibition “'Frans Hals: eye to eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian'.
www.franshalsmuseum.nl

40th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum
A six-month renovation is nearly complete and this renowned museum will fling open its doors in high anticipation on May 2, 2013. Until then, visitors can see the collection at its temporary residence in the Herenvleugel, one of the Hermitage Amsterdam’s two exhibition wings. A beautiful segue to commemorate this very important painter’s 160th birthday. Watch for an extensive exhibition titled Van Gogh’s Studio Practice, presenting more than 10 years of research on Van Gogh at work. www.vangoghmuseum.nl

Switzerland

35th Festival de Ballons Château-d'Oex
Remember the first hot air balloon to circumnavigate the earth? It took off from Chateau D’Oex. With a museum devoted to the illustrious hot air balloons in the heart of town, it’s no wonder this spot has been declared by some as the ballooning world capital. Come watch hundreds of them from over 20 countries ascend from this picture-pretty Swiss village in the Vaud canton.
Date: January 26-February 3, 2013
http://www.festivaldeballons.ch/fr/

Bern : UNESCO World Heritage to turn 30
The capital of Switzerland has lots to celebrate with its picture-pretty medieval townscape. The Old Town is celebrating 30 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other claims to fame: birthplace of Einstein's relativity theory, cradle of Toblerone-chocolate and location of the largest Paul Klee collection in the world. Watch for milestone celebrations year-round.
www.bern.com/en/city-of-bern/unesco-main

ASIA, SOUTHEAST ASIA & AUSTRALIA

Australia
40th anniversary of Sydney Opera House
When opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, this leviathan of architecture (nearly 20 years in the making when talks started in 1954) became celebrated as the greatest building of the 20th century. It not only re-imagined the identity of a city but a nation as Australia propelled into the modern age. The debut performance was Prokofiev's War and Peace conducted by Edward Downes.
Date: October 20, 2013
http://theoperahouseproject.com

100th anniversary of Canberra

This specially designed city incorporated some revolutionary techniques of the day that rumbled the locals. Spearheaded by US architect Walter Burley Griffin (his big influencers were Frank Lloyd Wright, and the City Beautiful and Garden City movements), Australia’s national capital is prepping for a milestone celebration. Watch for festivities around Lake Burley Griffin, the world premiere of the new Canberra Centenary Symphony, the world’s longest bubbly bars, fireworks and more.
Date: March 12, 2013 plus year-round
www.canberra100.com.au
http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/canberra-australias-capital-city

Floating Land Festival

Fast becoming revered as Australia’s green art event, this commercial-free 10-day biennial festival along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast meshes the environment and arts with people convening from around the globe. “Nature’s Dialogue” is this year’s theme.
Dates: May 31-June 9, 2013
www.floatingland.org.au

64th anniversary: The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
What started as a post-war morality booster and a way for city politicos to capitalize on its Garden City reputation, this event is now considered Australia’s longest running floral festival of its kind. It helps boost the local economy by adding $62-million too.
http://www.tcof.com.au/

Himalayas

60th anniversary of Mount Everest Summit
All eyes were glued to newspapers and the telly with many more sitting anxiously by their radios listening to the news of the day. The first people to successfully ascend Mount Everest were New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who successfully reached the top of the world on May 29, 1953. Our mind-boggling fascination over the world’s highest peak continues to mesmerize to this day.
Watch for outdoor adventure companies offering special-themed packages. World Expeditions (www.worldexpeditions.com or call 1-800-567-2216) has five anniversary treks in May, all of which are converging at Thyangboche, the region’s most important spiritual centre – at an altitude of 3,800m for a celebratory black tie banquet.

Macau
60th anniversary of Macau Grand Prix
This circuit is widely considered the climax of the Formula 3 Calendar. Watch race cars and motorcycles barrel down the old streets of Macau.
Date: November 14-17, 2013
http://www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/app/home/mgpc/en

25th anniversary of the Macau International Fireworks Display
Dazzling lights around the Macau Tower has deservedly made this international event became the world’s biggest competitive fireworks event. Huge crowds gather by Nam Van Lake.
Date: September 14, 19, 21, 28 and October 1, 2013
www.macautourism.gov.mo

Vietnam

National Tourism Year celebrates the Red River Civilization

Over 70 events are planned to commemorate this tourism initiative showcasing the ancient Red River region. Watch for three major events: the Announcement Ceremony in January; the Red River Delta 2013 Culture and Tourism week in Hai Phong (held on May 11, 2013 to celebrate the 58th anniversary of Liberation of Hai Phong; and the Closing Ceremony held at the end of the year. Haiphong, the host city for the National Tourism Year will have 13 events.
http://vietnamtourism.com

Hong Kong

History in Miniature: The 150th Anniversary of Stamp Issuance in Hong Kong Stamp Exhibition

No doubt stamp collecting has inspired many of us to think of world travel. Now Hong Kong’s paying homage to its rich stamp making past by showcasing a delightful stamp exhibition. Fun thing, like the stamps themselves, this is a travelling exhibition on now until April 11, 2013.
http://www.hongkongpoststamps.hk/eng/philatelic_story/exhibition/index.htm

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 50th Anniversary
When this luxury hotel quietly opened its doors in 1963 in the famous Central District who knew Hong Kong’s skyline would totally transform to its current cosmo state. Then the tallest building in Hong Kong, the glamorous 650-room hotel was also equipped with direct dial telephones and bathtubs in every room. Today the 501-room Mandarin is the only accommodation in the world to possess three Michelin-starred restaurants. Between February 1 and December 31, 2013, the hotel is offering guests a Golden Celebration package which includes a bottle of sparkling wine, spa credit and a special 50th anniversary gift. Hotel reps say it’s one of many desirable offers to be claimed over the year.
http://www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong/fifty-anniversary/

First Cruise Terminal Opening in mid-2013
The cruise biz is anxiously awaiting the opening of this spanking new state-of-the-art terminal situated in bustling Victoria Harbour. The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will have jaw dropping views and will accommodate two mega cruise liners...simultaneously.
http://www.discoverhongkong.com/seasia/see-do/cruise/cruise-terminals/kai-tak-cruise-terminal.jsp

AFRICA


Egypt
90th anniversary of the opening of King Tut’s tomb (16 Feb 1923)
While British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the steps leading to King Tut’s tomb only months earlier, it was the opening of the sealed doorway to the boy king’s tomb in Thebes, Egypt that took the world’s imagination by storm. King Tut fever took over the fashion world, the imagination of artists, and turned the design world upside down, making an epic revival of Egyptian motifs.

Zimbabwe

The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
Six days of celebrating the five arts. It’s considered the best organized festival in the sub-continent; the other surprise, it’s in Zimbabwe.
http://www.hifa.co.zw/
Date: May 2013

Zambia
200th anniversary of the birth of Dr. David Livingstone
It was during the dawn of the pre-Victorian age when the Regency era was fashionable that a babe was born in Blantyre, a small mill town in Scotland. His name was David Livingstone. The world would come to know him as one of Britain’s greatest explorers who crisscrossed Africa leaving his name and that of his beloved Queen, Victoria, sprinkled across these ancient lands. Watch for a number of events around the world but especially on his birthday, March 19. Tour companies like Expert Africa (phone toll-free 1-800-242-2434) have special trips to Victoria Falls/South Luangwa.
Full event list: http://www.victoriafallslivingstone.com/index.php/the-events-a-festivals/9-events-and-festivals/48-events-calendar-2013.html.

And make a note:

Celebrate 2013: Canada

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Celebrations 2013: US and UK

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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