Bodø recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2024 title beyond the EU

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Bodø competed with Banja Luka and Mostar to be recommended to become the European Capital of Culture 2024 in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership.

After a two-day meeting in Brussels, Jiři Suchánek, the chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel for this competition announced on 25 September that the city of Bodø has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2024 title in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership.

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

"In 2024, we will once again have a European Capital of Culture beyond the European Union. After Novi Sad (Serbia) in 2021, it will be the turn of Bodø to be in the spotlight for a year. I am convinced that the city and its region will use this opportunity to reinforce their cultural and other connections with the European Union. I hope that this title will also boost the city’s cultural vibrancy and ambitions, bring culture and cultural heritage right to the heart of its various communities and promote intercultural dialogue in the region. Visitors from all over Europe and beyond will have the possibility to discover the city and its cultural assets, but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures on our continent. I am confident that Bodø 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 Estonia, one in Austria and one in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership participating in the current Creative Europe programme.

The final selection meeting for the competition in Estonia took place in Tallinn on 28 August, with Tartu being recommended for the title, while the final selection meeting for the competition in Austria will take place in Vienna on 10-12 November 2019.

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 between cities in EFTA/EEA countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, the Commission invited applications from cities in September 2017.

The call was open for cities in:

  • Albania,
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Iceland, Montenegro,
  • North Macedonia and
  • Norway.

Cities in Serbia were not eligible, as Novi Sad in Serbia will host the event in 2021.

Five cities applied for the first round: Banja Luka, Bodø, Mostar, Srebrenica and Tirana. The pre-selection meeting took place in Brussels on 21-22 November 2018 and three cities (Banja Luka, Bodø and Mostar) were short-listed. They had until 23 August 2019 to complete their applications and then were invited to a final selection meeting in Brussels on 24 September.

A panel of 10 independent experts appointed 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.

For more information

Read more about the European Capitals of Culture action
The 30 years of history of European Capitals of Culture
Find out more about the cultural policy of the European Commission
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