Preparing a city to be Capital of Culture
The European Capital of Culture is one of the most prestigious and high-profile European cultural events, with demanding requirements to match. These requirements include:
- a high-quality programme of events
- commitment by public authorities, notably in terms of funding
- involvement of the city's social and economic stakeholders.
If managed well, being Capital of Culture can bring long-term cultural, social and economic benefits for your city, region and even country:
- driver of urban regeneration and development
- new image / recognition for the city in Europe and beyond
- increased tourism
- more vital cultural life.
The Guide for candidate cities explains in detail how to apply and offers examples of good practice.
More about Capitals of Culture
- One title, one city – the title is awarded to a single city for a single year. Cities may associate a nearby territory with their programme (Luxembourg and the "Great Region" in 2007, Essen and the Ruhr region in 2010). But only the city itself bears the title. The selection panel will pay close attention to this element.
- A special year – the title is awarded principally on the strength of the city's proposed programme of specific cultural events for the year in question, not its intrinsic historical value (like, for example, a UNESCO World Heritage site).
The title is more than just a label – it accompanies a landmark year for the city in cultural terms, so applications in the form of a tourism brochure would be inappropriate.
- New events – the city is asked to draw on its special features and create new cultural events. Although its heritage and long-standing cultural life may stand it in good stead, they form only a basis for the organisation of the event.
- A unique programme – your city must have a programme of events designed specially for the occasion (which meets specific criteria, including "European dimension" and "City and Citizens".
You cannot simply bring together cultural events your city usually stages under the Capital of Culture banner, or merely "highlight" the city's cultural heritage.
- European perspective – the title offers an opportunity to strengthen cultural cooperation and dialogue between European countries.
By underlining both the common features and diversity of European cultures the goal is to increase mutual awareness and community spirit.
One good example is A Voyage Through Europe in Genoa (2004). This annual festival took European theatre as its theme, and 3 European theatre companies were each invited to perform a play by an author from their country, in its original language.
- Lasting impact – cities that conscientiously prepare their applications will benefit from the experience, even if they aren't selected. The mere involvement of stakeholders, discussions on cultural policy and planned partnerships can give a boost to the city's cultural life.