Tartu will be the European Capital of Culture 2024 in Estonia

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Tartu competed with Narva to be recommended for European Capital of Culture 2024 in Estonia.

During a press conference at the Ministry of Culture in Tallinn, Estonia the chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel, in presence of Mr Tõnis Lukas, the Estonian Minister of Culture announced that Tartu has been recommended for European Capital of Culture 2024 in Estonia.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said:
"In 2024, Estonia will again have a European Capital of Culture. After Tallinn in 2011, it will now be the turn of Tartu to be in the spotlight for a year. I am convinced that the city and its region will be able to make the most of this title. Hosting a European Capital of Culture is a great opportunity for a city to boost its cultural vibrancy and ambitions, to bring culture and cultural heritage right to the heart of its various communities, enabling people to learn more about each other – and about themselves. 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 Tartu 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 of 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.
The Estonian Ministry of Culture invited applications from interested cities on 29 November 2017. Three cities submitted applications: Kuressaare, Narva and Tartu. The pre-selection meeting took place on 22-23 October 2018 and two cities, Narva and Tartu were short-listed. They had until 1 August 2019 to complete their applications and then they have been invited to a final selection meeting in Tallinn on 28 August.
A panel composed by 12 independent experts examined the applications. Two of them were appointed by the relevant Estonian authorities and ten by EU institutions and bodies (European Parliament, Council, Commission and Committee of the Regions).

Next steps

The final selection meeting for the competition between cities in candidate countries, potential candidates and EFTA/EEA countries will take place in Brussels on 24-25 September 2019 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 state 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.

The next European Capitals of Culture

Following Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 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 project is more relevant than ever: 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 European community.