Kaunas and Klaipéda shortlisted for the title of European Capital of Culture 2022 in Lithuania

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Kaunas and Klaipéda have been shortlisted today in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2022 in Lithuania. The recommendation was done by a panel of independent experts evaluating applications from 6 competing Lithuanian cities at the outcome of a 2-day meeting in Vilnius.

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

Once the panel's recommendation has been confirmed by the Lithuanian authorities, cities will have until early next year to complete their application. The panel will then meet again in Vilnius in the first half of 2017 to recommend the Lithuanian city to become the European Capital of Culture 2022.

In 2022, Lithuania will host the European Capital of Culture for the second time, after Vilnius in 2009. In the same year, there will also be a European Capital of Culture in Luxembourg. The pre-selection round for the competition in Luxembourg took place on 14 June and the city of Esch-sur-Alzette was recommended for the short-list.

Following Wrocław (Poland) and Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) this year, Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2017, Leeuwarden (Netherlands) and Valletta (Malta) in 2018, and Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 2019. Ireland and Croatia will each host a European Capital of Culture in 2020, followed by Romania, Greece and a candidate country/potential candidate to EU membership in 2021.


Lithuania invited applications from interested cities in July 2015. Six cities submitted applications: Anyksciai, Jonava, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Plunge and Rokiškis.

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

These members currently are:

  • Appointed by the European Commission: Steve Green (United Kingdom), who has an extensive experience of international cultural relations and the role of culture and languages in society with EUNIC (European Network of National Cultural Institutes) and the British Council; Jordi Pardo (Spain), CEO of the Pau Casals Foundation and expert in strategic planning and urban renewal through culture and tourism; Suzana Žilič Fišer (Slovenia), professor and head of media communications department at the University of Maribor and director general of Maribor – European Capital of Culture 2012.
  • Appointed by the Council: Ulrich Fuchs (Germany), deputy artistic director and programme director of Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009, and Marseille-Provence, European Capital of Culture 2013; Aiva Rozenberga (Latvia), 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.


According to the current system 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. The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned.

Born in 1985 on 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.

Photo: Shutterstock

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