Bad Ischl to be the European Capital of Culture 2024 in Austria

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Bad Ischl competed with Dornbirn and St. Pölten to become the European Capital of Culture 2024 in Austria.

After a two-day meeting in Vienna, Cristina Farinha, the chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel for this competition announced on 12 November that the city of Bad Ischl has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2024 title in Austria.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said:

“In 2024, Austria will again have the opportunity to host a European Capital of Culture. After Graz in 2003 and Linz in 2009, it will now be the turn of Bad Ischl to be in the spotlight for a year. I am convinced that we will see more cultural activity in the city and the surrounding region, reaching new audiences and helping local cultural operators acquire a more international outlook. Hosting a European Capital of Culture is a wonderful opportunity for a city to bring culture and cultural heritage right to the heart of its various communities. Visitors from Europe and all over the world will have the possibility to discover the city and its cultural assets, but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures on our continent. I hope that Bad Ischl will reap the long-term cultural, economic and social benefits that the European Capital of Culture title can bring.”

In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and the Council, which governs the European Capitals of Culture Union action, there will be three European Capitals of Culture in 2024. One in Austria, one in Estonia and one in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership.

The final selection meeting for the competition in Estonia took place in Tallinn on 28 August, with Tartu being recommended for the title. The final selection meeting for the competition between cities in EFTA/EEA countries, candidate countries or potential candidates to EU membership took place in Brussels on 24-25 September 2019, with Bodø (Norway) being recommended for the title.

How cities become European Capitals of Culture

According to the current scheme for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds: a pre-selection round (following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up) and 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 (or by the Commission for cities in non EU Member States).

The selection criteria states 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.

Regarding the competition in Austria, the Federal Chancellery invited applications from interested cities in June 2017. By the deadline of 31 December 2018, three cities submitted applications: Bad Ischl, Dornbirn and St. Pölten. The pre-selection meeting took place on 30-31 January 2019 and the three cities were short-listed. They were given until 13 October 2019 to complete their applications and then invited to a final selection meeting in Vienna on 10-11 November.

A panel of 12 independent experts, two appointed by the relevant Austrian authorities and ten by EU institutions and bodies (European Parliament, Council, Commission and Committee of the Regions) examined the applications.

The next European Capitals of culture

Following Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) 2019, these will be the European Capitals of Culture:

  • 2020: Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland);
  • 2021: Elefsina (Greece) and Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country to EU membership);
  • 2022: Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg);
  • 2023: Veszprém (Hungary).


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 goal of the scheme is more relevant than ever: it is to provide Europeans with opportunities to learn more about each other's cultures, to enjoy their shared history and values and to experience the feeling of belonging to the same community.

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