Kaunas to be the European Capital of Culture 2022 in Lithuania

  • 3 years 8 months ago
  • programme

Kaunas has been recommended for European Capital of Culture 2022 in Lithuania by the selection panel of independent experts responsible.

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.

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

"In 2022, Lithuania will host its second European Capital of Culture after Vilnius in 2009. I congratulate Kaunas on its successful bid. Since their inception in 1985, European Capitals of Culture have helped to bring European citizens closer together, to encourage openness and exchange and to foster economic and social development of cities and regions.

This popular EU initiative is all the more important today given the big challenges our societies are facing. I look forward to seeing Kaunas give visitors from Europe and all over the world the opportunity to discover the city and its cultural assets but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures in our continent. As many previous European Capitals of Culture have shown, the title can bring significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits – benefits that Kaunas now stands to reap as well."


There will be two European Capitals of Culture in 2022: one in Lithuania and one in Luxembourg.

The selection process has two rounds:

  • pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up
  • final selection round nine months later (one city is recommended for the title).

The selected cities are then officially designated by the country concerned.

The selection criteria state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension. The programme should involve city's residents, stakeholders and neighbourhoods and attract visitors from the whole country and Europe. The programme should contribute to the long-term development of the city. The cities must demonstrate that they are supported by the public local authorities and have the capacity to deliver the project.

The Culture Ministry of the Republic of Lithuania invited applications from interested cities in July 2015. Six cities applied:

  • Anykščiai
  • Jonava
  • Kaunas
  • Klaipėda
  • Plungė
  • Rokiškis

The pre-selection meeting took place in June 2016 and Kaunas and Klaipėda were shortlisted. They were given until February 2017 to complete their applications and then invited to a final selection meeting in Vilnius on 29 March.

The applications were examined by a panel composed of 10 independent experts appointed by EU institutions and bodies.

These experts currently are:

  • Appointed by the European Commission: Beatriz Garcia (Spain), who is an academic working in the Liverpool University and has developed an extensive expertise in measuring the impact of cultural and sports events; Jiří Suchánek (Czech Republic), an expert in the organisation of large scale cultural events and former director of Pilsen, European Capital of Culture 2015; Suzana Žilič Fišer (Slovenia), professor and head of media communications department at the University of Maribor and former director general of Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012.
  • Appointed by the Council: Ulrich Fuchs (Germany), former deputy artistic director and programme director of Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009, and Marseille-Provence, European Capital of Culture 2013; Aiva Rozenberga (Latvia), director of the Latvian Institute and former programme director of Riga, European Capital of Culture 2014; Pauli Sivonen (Finland), director of Serlachius Museum.
  • Appointed by the European Parliament: Sylvia Amann (Austria), who is specialised in urban, regional and rural development, culture and the creative economy; Cristina Farinha (Portugal), expert in the development of creative industries and national cultural strategies; Agnieszka Wlazeł (Poland), expert in audience development and former CEO and artistic director of art festivals.
  • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Alain Hutchinson (Belgium), Commissioner of the Brussels Government in charge of the relations with European & international organisations and Deputy Mayor of Saint Gilles in charge of education

Following Aarhus (Denmark) and Pafos (Cyprus) this year, Leeuwarden (Netherlands) and Valletta (Malta) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2018, Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 2019, Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) in 2020 and Elefsina (Greece), Timisoara (Romania) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country to EU membership) in 2021.

The selection meeting for the European Capital of Culture 2022 in Luxembourg will take place next autumn.

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