European Capitals of Culture designated until 2025
European Capitals of Culture have already been designated until the title year 2025.
A Decision adopted in April 2014 by the European Parliament and of the Council contains the full chronological list of Member States that can host the European Capitals of Culture title from 2020-2033.
The impact of coronavirus
The measures taken by Member States’ governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus have affected the activities of the 2020 European Capitals of Culture and disrupted the preparation of the three European Capitals of Culture 2021.
On 23 December 2020, upon a proposal by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Decision that modified the calendar of the European Capitals of Culture.
The title year of Novi Sad (Serbia) will move from 2021 to 2022 and the title year of Timisoara (Romania) and Elefsina (Greece) will move from 2021 to 2023.
European Capitals of Culture designated after 2025
Competitions are running for title-years 2026 and 2027.
In 2026, Finland and Slovakia will both host a European Capital of Culture. They started their competitions in April and December 2019 respectively.
In Finland, 3 cities were pre-selected in June 2020: Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere. The final selection will be in June 2021.
In Slovakia, 3 cities were pre-selected in February 2021: Nitra, Trencin and Zilina. The final selection is planned in December 2021.
Latvia and Portugal will both host a European Capital of Culture in 2027. Latvia published its call in August 2020 and will have its pre-selection meeting in July 2021.
Portugal published its call in November 2020 and will have its pre-selection meeting in early 2022.
How to apply
Competitions are organised at the national level with the publication of a call for submission of applications by the responsible authority (usually the national Ministry of Culture).
This new framework was amended in September 2017 by another Decision of the European Parliament and the Council.
This decision makes it possible for cities in EU candidate countries, potential candidates or members of the European Free Trade Association party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (so-called EFTA/EEA countries) to hold the title in 2021, 2024, 2028, 2030 and 2033.
These cities are selected through an 'open competition', meaning that cities from various countries may compete with each other.
Cities wishing to hold the European Capitals of Culture title should await the announcement of a competition in their own country, and then complete and submit a bid in response to the call for applications published.