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Rijeka and Galway: Capitals of Culture in 2020

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Following Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria for 2019, Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) are the two European Capitals of Culture in 2020.

Rijeka is the first Croatian European Capital of Culture bringing the city international visibility, which will extend to the rest of the Western Balkan region. ‘Port of Diversity' will be the motto, with hundreds of projects among 250 partners from 40 countries. Rijeka's cultural programme focuses on the themes of water, work and migration, connected to its identity, but also current issues in the wider world.

Water, work and migration

The opening exhibition will feature Rijeka's famous artist, David Maljković, with other highlights including ‘The Sea is Glowing' exhibition; a world music and gastronomy festival - ‘Porto Etno'; and new permanent installations of contemporary art on the coastline. Opening celebrations will take place on 1-2 February 2020.

Find more details of the programmes on Rijeka 2020’s website.

Let the magic in

Galway is the third city in Ireland to hold the European Capital of Culture title (after Dublin in 1991 and Cork in 2005). Galway's cultural programme motto is ‘Let the Magic In', exploring quintessential local themes of language, landscape and migration - with a European and universal relevance and resonance.

The ‘Hope it rains' theme will use Galway weather as a source of creativity; while other highlights include a celebration of world literature - with a dramatic interpretation of the world's oldest surviving literary epic, the story of Gilgamesh; and excerpts from Homer's Odyssey, read on Galway beaches. New installations will celebrate the beauty of Connemara and County Galway.

Galway 2020 will begin in February 2020, at the start of Imbolc - the first Celtic season in Ireland's ancient, pre-Christian calendar.

Find more details of the programmes on Galway 2020’s website.

Holding the title of European Capital of Culture gives cities the chance to boost their image, put themselves on the world map, promote sustainable tourism and rethink their development through culture. The title has a long-term impact, not only on culture but also in social and economic terms, both for the city and the region.

These will be the future Capitals of Culture after Rijeka and Galway:

  • 2021 Timisoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country);
  • 2022 Esch (Luxembourg) and Kaunas (Lithuania);
  • 2023 Veszprém (Hungary);
  • 2024 Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl (Austria) and Bodø (Norway, EFTA/EEA country).

Learn more about the European Capitals of Culture

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