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Culture and Creativity

Published:  10 Dec 2021

Trenčín to be the European Capital of Culture 2026 in Slovakia

The Slovakian city of Trenčín has been selected as one of the Capitals of Culture in 2026.

The chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel announced on 10 December 2021 that the city of Trenčín has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2026 title in Slovakia.

A panel of independent experts assessing applications from three short-listed Slovakian cities recommended Trenčín following a two-day meeting.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

After Košice in 2013, Trenčín will be the second city in Slovakia to host the European Capital of Culture title in 2026. Hosting a European Capital of Culture is a wonderful opportunity for a city and its surrounding area to bring culture right to the heart of their communities and for their citizens to discover the rich diversity of cultural expressions in the European Union and beyond.

It is also a tool to reach out to young people and empower them to become actors of positive change in the further development of their city. This is fully in line with the ambition of the Commission’s proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth. I hope that Trenčín will take reap the long-term cultural, economic and social benefits that the European Capital of Culture can bring.

The selection process for the Slovakian city in 2026

In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council that governs the European Capitals of Culture action, there will be two European Capitals of Culture in 2026: one in Slovakia and one in Finland. Regarding the competition in Slovakia, the Slovakian Ministry of Culture invited applications from interested cities on 17 December 2019.

Eight cities submitted applications by the deadline of 15 December 2020: Banská Bystrica, Hlohovec, Martin, Nitra, Prešov, Trenčín, Trnava and Žilina.

The pre-selection meeting took place on 2-5 February 2021 and three cities were short-listed and had until 2 November 2021 to complete their application:

  • Nitra
  • Trenčín
  • Žilina

A panel of independent experts examine the applications. Two of the experts are appointed by the relevant national authorities and the remainder by EU institutions and bodies (European Parliament, Council, Commission and Committee of the Regions).

How cities become European Capitals of Culture

According to the current scheme for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds

  1. a pre-selection round (following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up)
  2. a final selection round approximately nine months later (one city is recommended for the title).

The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned.

The selection criteria state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of the city's stakeholders as well as its various neighbourhoods and attracts visitors from the whole country and Europe.

The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city. The cities must also show that they have the support from the relevant public local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.

The next European Capitals of culture

Each year, two to three cities hold the title of European Capital of Culture. Alongside Trenčín, will be the city of Oulu in Finland in 2026.

Other upcoming European Capitals of Culture are:

  • Kaunas (Lithuania), Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) and Novi Sad (Serbia) in 2022
  • Veszprém (Hungary), Elefsina (Greece) and Timisoara (Romania) in 2023
  • Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl (Austria) and Bodø (Norway) in 2024
  • Chemnitz (Germany) and Nova Gorica (Slovenia) in 2025

Due to the pandemic of Covid-19, there were no European Capitals of Culture in 2021.


Started in 1985, European Capitals of Culture have developed into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the EU's most appreciated activities.

The goals of this initiative are more relevant than ever:

  • to provide Europeans with opportunities to learn more about each other's cultures
  • to enjoy their shared history and values
  • to experience the feeling of belonging to the same European community
  • to develop European cultural connections and partnerships
  • to underline the role of culture in the development of cities.


Tagged in:  Creative Europe
Published:  10 Dec 2021