Named after its recognizable blue roof tiles, the Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean president. Located on a beautiful mountainside landscape in Seoul, the Blue House has opened its gates to the public after 74 years.
The office and residences were previously heavily guarded and closed-off. But to the shock of citizens, it is now a lively and vibrant area. With the crowds and long lines, one might even mistake it for a theme park. Since its opening, thousands have gathered to see the building for themselves, with a maximum of 39,000 people in a day.
This change was made when President Yoon Suk-Yeol assumed office on May 10, 2022. That very same day, he moved the official offices to the Defense Ministry compound in the Yongsan district 3 miles (5km) away. This new location was chosen due to its pre-existing security facilities. Taking inspiration from the White House in Washington, he hopes to build a similar office that can allow people to view it over a fence and will better the communication with the public.
This move caused both concern and support from the public. Given the Blue House’s rising popularity as a tourist attraction, nearby residents are worried about the congestion that it will inevitably bring to the area. Critics are also concerned that the rushed move may compromise national security by focusing too much power in a single place.
On the other hand, citizens find this change promising. They are anticipating that this will lessen the number of protests in the area. There were frequent protests under the previous administration, making everyday commute rather difficult. Streets became regularly overcrowded causing many to rely on walking between destinations. Moving the official offices will hopefully resolve this issue. Other South Korean citizens are optimistic for different reasons. Local businesses are expecting that the opening of the Blue House will draw more traffic and revenue for their stores.