IBNA: Javad Neyestani, professor of archeology at Tarbiat Modarres University, asserted in the gathering that the tradition of writing travelogues gained momentum after the Renaissance and many such works were created by Danish travelers who visited Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.
Reviewing the achievements of Danish Iranologists, Neyestani stated that writing travelogues dates back to very old layers of the history, however, after the Renaissance the trend of travelogue writing developed monumentally.
He added that establishment of education programs in Europe on Middle Easter studies has led to publication of numerous new works in this field like articles, books, and theses which acquaint westerners to the east and its people.
He further asserted that the growth of fields like religious studies, linguistics, and studies on medieval eras made way for deepening of relations between Iran and Denmark.
Elsewhere in his address, he attributed the beginning of official Iran-Denmark relations to the Safavid era when many Danish geographers and scholars like Adam Olearius, Carsten Niebuhr, Rasmus Christian Rask, Kaj Barr, and Arthur Christensen traveled to Iran and recorded their experiences and observations in Iran.
Works by Iranian Writers Released in Denmark
Cultural concerns have always been a major drive for establishing and maintaining relations between Iran and Danmark, said Klaus Petersen during the seminar. A senior scholar in Iran and Middle East studies, Petersen said that besides commercial factors which have led to deepened relations between the two states, other factors like culture, intellectuality and nationalism have been playing roles in this regard.
He asserted that when in the 19th century novel ideological patterns gained supporters in the world like nationalism, scientism and Marxism, Iran and Denmark took up different impacts from such moves, in a way that in Iran the Constitution movement formed and they tried to put down a constitution on paper.
He said that the first Iranian thinkers, and intellectuals’ first contacts with Europe began when they fled from their country after Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar’s 1907 revolution.
Petersen further named some of the European wits who traveled to Iran after the revolution, and said Artland was the first researcher who came to Iran from Denmark in pursuit of the roots of ancient Persian and wrote a comprehensive book during the Sassanid era which was translated in 1928.
He said many Iranians have traveled to Denmark after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and many have taught and conducted courses in Danish universities like Eslami Nadoushan and Ahmad Tafazoli.
He said many works by prominent Iranian writers like Sadegh Hedayat, Simin Daneshvar, Simin Behbahani, Shahryar and Shahrnoush Parsipour have been released in Denmark.
Role of Danish Companies in Expansion of Ties
Also in the gathering, Henning Jørgensen, lecturer at Copenhagen University and expert on Iranian studies, delivered a speech about the role of Danish companies in expansion of ties.
He asserted that construction of the railway in Iran was one of the most successful projects in Iran in the history of relations between the two countries.
As he said, in 1913, technical cooperation between Iran and Denmark started to construct the railway in Iran which brought about a wave of commercial cooperation between the two countries.
He said the project was successful in that it finished 8 months sooner than its deadline and enough finance was procured from the Iranian side of the contract.
The session was held at the International Education and Research Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.