Five cities short-listed for European Capital of Culture 2025 in Germany

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Chemnitz, Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg, Nurnberg have been shortlisted in the competition to become European Capital of Culture 2025 in Germany.

A panel of independent experts recommended the shortlist after evaluating applications from eight competing cities after a 3-day meeting in Berlin. Apart from the short-listed cities Dresden, Gera and Zittau were also among the applicants.

Being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, if their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.

Once the relevant German authorities formally endorse the panel's recommendation, the shortlisted cities will have until the summer of 2020 to complete their applications. The panel will then meet again in Berlin in September 2020 to recommend the German city to become the European Capital of Culture 2025.

In 2025, Germany will host the European Capital of Culture for the fourth time, after Berlin in 1988, Weimar in 1999 and Essen for the Ruhr in 2010. In the same year, there will also be a European Capital of Culture in Slovenia. The pre-selection round in Slovenia will take place in February 2020.

How cities become European Capitals of Culture

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

  • a pre-selection round, following which candidate cities are shortlisted, and
  • a final selection round approximately nine months later. The Member State concerned officially designates the selected city.

Germany invited applications from interested cities in September 2018. Eight cities submitted applications by the deadline of 31 August 2019: Chemnitz, Dresden, Gera, Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg, Nurnberg and Zittau.
A panel of 12 independent experts examined these applications. The relevant German authorities appointed two experts while the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, Commission and the Committee of the Regions appointed ten experts.

According to the selection criteria, cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of the city's different communities 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 as well. Selected candidates must also show that they have the support from the relevant local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.

The next European Capitals of Culture

Following Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) in 2019, these will be the European Capitals of Culture during the next five years:

  • 2020: Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland);
  • 2021: Elefsina (Greece), Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country to EU membership);
  • 2022: Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg);
  • 2023: Veszprém (Hungary);
  • 2024: Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl  (Austria) and Bodo (Norway, EFTA/EEA country) – both recommended cities.


Born in 1985 from an idea of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the EU. Their objectives are to promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities.

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