‘Today, on 25 April 1920, in the sixth year of the reign of His Majesty Ferdinand I, King of all Romanians, and his august wife, Her Majesty Queen Maria and in the days of the pastorate of His Eminence Metropolitan of Moldavia and Suceava, Prefect of the County being Mr. Petru Pogonat and Mayor of the city Mr. Mihai Negruzzi.

The ‘People’s Atheneum’ was built and inaugurated by a group of good Romanians, led by Professor Ph.D. Cuza, in the suburb of Tătărași of Iași City.

Driven by the desire to make available to all the people a place of culture, which would enlighten the minds and ennoble the souls of the many and industrious, in their hours of respite, I laid the foundations of this “People’s Atheneum”. Being strongly convinced that a people can build a lasting future and maintain a place of honor among the civilized peoples of the world only through widespread national culture, we open wide the gates of this popular settlement.’ (Transliteration of the Act of Establishment)

The Atheneum began to make cultural history in Iași during the 1920s, when the gates of the Tătărași neighborhood opened to the most prominent public figures of Romania. The story continues every day and, by our dedication, we make sure to transmit the vibration of the arts throughout the City of Iași and beyond. It was then that the cornerstone of what was to be a cultural place of reference for all the intellectuals of Iași City was laid. The Athenaeum flag was the first symbol that united artists, writers and chroniclers who created a cultural movement that had a single goal, a single thought: ‘Unity through culture’.

The mist of the communist era covered even the identity of this place meant to emanate the essence of culture. For this reason, over time, the institution of the Atheneum has undergone several changes due to its new managers. One of these changes consisted of a new logo. Therefore, between 2004 and February 2016, the Athenaeum operated under this logo:



We wanted a return to innocence, therefore the vision of the new management aimed to be reflected in the visual identity of the institution. The new management of the Atheneum wants to convey its vision through energy and dynamism, yet without denying the past. We kept our roots to keep alive the idea that underlined this institution, and we added clarity and refinement to suggest from the beginning the high quality of our cultural acts. Therefore, we threw the anchor of the past into contemporaneity, in order to put the Atheneum of Iași back on the map of renowned institutions in Romania and to assure our audience that they belong to an institution that honors its values: Union through Culture.

70 years later, the Atheneum in Iași returns under the royal coat of arms. Between 1923 and 1947, this cultural institution Iași was under the High Patronage of Kings Ferdinand I, Carol II and Michael I of Romania. During a ceremony that took place in the Elisabeth Palace on 21 March 2018, Her Majesty Margaret, Custodian of the Romanian Crown, granted Her High Patronage to the Atheneum in Iași.

Thus, as a historical repair, it returns home, regaining its prestige and certification of the high quality of its cultural events, from the Royal Family of Romania.



In 2019, 100 years after the creation of the Atheneum Society, the institution changed its name to the ‘National Atheneum in Iași’. With new buildings of historical importance for the national cultural heritage received in administration, the Atheneum expanded its areas of interest, yet it continued to provide, with the same professionalism, special cultural-artistic events, with many outdoor or indoor theater, opera, humor and satirical graphics festivals, some of which were premieres, while others are already well-known both locally and nationally, Romanian plays, especially comedies, concerts of famous artists, book launch events, inaugurations of new and unique exhibition venues. The year 2019 also brought about the restoration of the former Victoria Cinema (now the Unification Hall) in the cultural circuit, and especially the longest and most reverberating tour of the Atheneum team, entitled the ‘Unity through Culture’ National Tour. This project meant trips to over 125 localities in Romania, Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia to reach over 50,000 theater lovers and supporters of culture.

2020 was the year of our 100th anniversary. Therefore, as early as 2019, we started planning new projects, premieres, anniversary events, unique cultural-artistic and educational events, tours abroad for the Romanian Diaspora, international partnerships we wanted to make the most of through large-scale projects and, of course, a series of large-scale investments in terms of the local heritage that the Atheneum in Iași manages.

Although we did not think that our long-planned events would be shaken by anything or by anyone, the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2, COVID 19 virus reminded us just how fragile we are. Therefore, we had to find the necessary resources to be strong, inventive, creative and pragmatic in the strategic decisions that we had to make in a very short time.

Having an enormous respect and appreciation for the human resources on which we rely every day in the Atheneum, we organized ourselves so that everyone could be involved in feasible projects (in accordance with the existing provisions regulating events with and for the public), by online means, outdoors or indoors.



Thus, in 2020, we managed to provide our audience with theater premieres for both children and adults, music concerts, well-known festivals (for instance, the Romanian Film Nights – 11th edition) and auctions. We inaugurated new exhibition venues and promoted the existing ones, we were the only institution in Iași that was opened to the public within the national project entitled the Long Night of Museums, while complying with all existing legal provisions.

The Atheneum celebrated its 100th anniversary on 25 April 2020. Although we would have liked to have large-scale anniversary events, due to the restrictions related to the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we used our Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6NysrNIe-Q) to present to the public a retrospective of our 100 years of history. Thus, we broadcast an original press conference entitled ‘From the People’s Atheneum of 1920 to the National Atheneum of Iași of 2020’.

At the end of the year, the Atheneum in Iași became a member of the Norwegian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce in Oslo, the capital of Norway, with which it developed partnerships in various fields, from education, art, culture, social, to environment and energy efficiency.

The Atheneum in Iași entered the league of important cultural institutions in Iași, becoming a reference for North Eastern Romania due to the diversity and complexity of cultural-artistic events offered to the general public, as well as due to all the trips in the region.

The new managerial vision turned a new page in the history of the Atheneum in Iași, starting with 2016. Due to the way in which the cultural-artistic events are created, to the way in which the shows are organized and especially to their diversity (designed to satisfy all the needs of all age categories), the Atheneum in Iași managed not only to bring to light the unexplored potential of this institution, but also to reinvent itself and break records.