Here at Soompi we know well that K-Pop doesn’t thrive only in Korea; it’s a world wide phenomenon that overcomes distance and language barriers. International K-Pop fans are not only growing in numbers, but ambitiously pursuing projects that unite the fandom through their love of K-Pop. One of those kinds of projects is Hallyucon, an upcoming Korean culture convention in the Netherlands, and it will be the first of its kind. Hallyucon is organized by the Foundation of Promoting Korean Culture and I had the opportunity to interview the organizers to learn more about K-Pop in Europe and what Hallyucon exactly is.
CallMeN00NA: Can you introduce yourself?
Hallyucon: Hallyucon aims to be the first annual Korean (pop) culture convention in Europe. The idea is loosely based on the set up of the Japanese conventions in the Netherlands. Through this convention, people with similar interests can meet and discuss their shared hobby. People who want to share their love for Korean (pop) culture can do so through dance, song and possibly even cosplay competitions. Hallyucon also wants to increase the fans’ awareness of the country’s rich culture by adding a clear non-pop culture elements: traditions, Korean food and Korean language. Of course, the main component of the event will consist out of K-Pop and Kdrama related activities.
Hallyucon is organized by a foundation “Stichting Promotie Koreaanse Cultuur” (Foundation Promotion Korean Culture) with five board members: Elke, Anastacia, Natasja, Pauliene and Feyhan. All five members have been interested in K-Pop and Korean culture for a long time (5-10 years). Some have been to Korea for studies or holiday, some haven’t. We spend our days differently as some of us are students and some work full time. But we all have the same passion to make this convention happen!”
C: How did you get into K-Pop?
NATASJA: I stumbled on a video of DBSK, “Balloons.” People were poking fun at it online, but I came back to re-watch it often, thinking, “This is kind of cute… right?”
PAULIENE: To be honest, I was looking for the American series “Full House” and I came across the K-Drama “Full House” starring Rain. After that I started to look around on Youtube for more videos of him and my love for K-Pop was born!
ELKE: I had already been listening to C-Pop since the beginning of the millennium. Through this I encountered Kangta because of his collaboration with Vanness Wu for the “Scandal” album. Since then I became more and more interested in K-Pop and, save for some treasured artists, let go of C-Pop completely.
C: Who are your favorite artists?
ANASTACIA: DBSK (all 5 of them!), Super Junior, Secret, B.A.P., to name a few of the mainstream k-pop artists I really like. I actually prefer K-indie from time to time. Urban Zakapa and Standing Egg have to be my favorites.
FEYHAN: Shinhwa, TVXQ, Infinite, Super Junior, Brown Eyed Girls and a lot of Indie groups.
C: How popular is K-pop and Korean culture in the Netherlands?
H: More popular than people might think. We are a very small country, but the number of fans in the Netherlands is growing steadily. Already there are fairly large meetings being held in different cities all through the year.
Korea itself is not very known here, culturally. What people know about South Korea is mostly that they are at war with North Korea. We would really want to change people’s perceptions on this!
C: What’s it like being a K-Pop fan in the Netherlands?
H: As soon as you get online and start looking around, it’s like a family! Dutch people are known for their acceptance of a lot of things and Dutch K-Pop fans only expand on that. Everyone is welcome.
C: How did the Foundation Promotion Korean Culture and the idea of Hallyucon get started?
We went out for Korean dinner after attending a Japanese (anime) convention in the Netherlands. We noticed there were tons of fans of Korean music and culture there too. Over dinner, we discussed this and we realized we have been seeing this for so long and never thought it through. We decided that if we put our different educations and talents together, we might be able to pull it off: Our own convention.
After that everything went really fast. By now, we are an official foundation and Hallyucon is drawing closer and closer! We even have another event coming up really soon, so to fans from in and around the Netherlands, keep your eyes open!
C: What do you envision Hallyucon to look like? What are your goals?
H: We want the convention to unite K-Pop fans and bring Korean culture into the hearts of the fans and everyone who is interested in South-Korea. Korea is more than K-Pop (even though K-Pop is amazing) and we would like to have everyone experience all the great sides of the country!
We have a whole list of activities planned for the convention. Ranging from Korean language classes to dancing and singing competitions and a dealer room of course to purchase Korean goodies.
C: How can people get involved?
H: There are several ways to keep up to date on our progress and plans! The best way for now would be to like our facebook page: www.facebook.com/HallyuconNL
C: Final words for Soompiers?
H: Help us create the best convention for European fans! We will put our all into this convention. Korea is our interest, hobby and passion. Please follow our progress and we will do our best to bring the fans a convention they won’t forget!
We also have some exciting news! We will be hosting a meet-and-greet event with Simon and Martina of “Eat Your Kimchi” on the 15th of October in the Comedy Theater in Amsterdam. Simon and Martina are already in Europe, they tour through 4 countries and we are their last stop. They arrive in the Netherlands on the 14th and leave on the 16th. The meet and greets will take place on the 15th. There will be 2 meets; due to unexpected demand we had to arrange a second one. The fans crashed our site during the first ticket sales, so we arranged another meet to make sure everyone could see EYK. The original meet is from 18:00-20:00, and is sold out. The second meet will be earlier, from 13:00-15:00, and is not sold out yet. People can still buy tickets until Sunday the 13th here. For more information, check out our Facebook page.