Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

2014 Capital of Culture

23rd October 2013

In May 2010, the European Commission awarded Riga (Latvia) and Umeå (Sweden) the titles of European Capital of Culture for 2014. So far, both cities sharing the title European Capital of Culture have already released their programme of jam-packed activities for the year.

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Riga will launch the year of the European Capital of Culture with several art exhibitions and music, theatre and visual arts events in different venues around the town with the aim of highlighting and evoking a taste for the year ahead. Among other events scheduled, the flagship one is a human chain of 25,000 volunteers that will transfer books, hand to hand, from the old National Library to the new Library in January, and the World Choir Games which will see 20,000 singers participating in an open-air gala concert in front of the Opera House in July. In November, international lighting artists will make the city glow at the Staro Riga Festival of Lights. The European Film Awards, the “Born in Riga” concert will be broadcast by the European Broadcasting Union and an exhibition celebrating 500 years of printed books in Europe are also remarkable events taking place in Riga in 2014. Find out more about the programme here.

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Umeå will kick off the year with a celebration featuring a three-day long weekend, including innovative performances, artistic collaborations and captivating activities for everyone. Everything from theatres to the UmeälvenRiver and the city’s population will be a part of this living flow, as a taste of things to come in the year ahead. Throughout 2014, Umeå will present over 200 projects, including performing arts, photography, dance, opera, pop, blues, jazz, tango, architecture and fashion festivals, free-standing activities and events. There will also be design projects, national sports, conferences and excursions and many more. Check out the full programme here.

The European Capital of Culture has been in existence since 1985 and aims to bring the citizens of Europe closer together through a celebration of the key role played by cities in European culture. More than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture so far, from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, and Cracow to Porto. Up to 2010, cities from non-EU countries were able to host the event. But from 2011, only cities in EU countries are allowed to bear the title. Each year, two cities from two different Member States will be selected.

The European Green Capital Award aims to provide an incentive for cities to inspire each other and share best practices. The selection of a city to be awarded the European Green Capital Award is assessed on the basis of twelve environmental indicators assessed by an Expert Panel.

For more information on the European Green Capital Award click here.

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