European Capitals of Culture 2017 kick off in Aarhus and Pafos

  • 2 years 2 months ago
  • programme events

January saw Aarhus, Denmark, and Pafos, Cyprus, transformed in spectacular fashion for the launches of European Capitals of Culture 2017.

Aarhus was the first city to take the bow on 21 January. Processions with thousands of participants carrying glowing ships converged on the city harbour for an immense show featuring ships, lights and a massive fireworks display.

The ceremony was created by Nigel Jamieson, an artistic director at the forefront of theatre and large-scale events. The event marked the official opening what will be an incredible year for Aarhus as the city blossoms into a celebration of art, culture and creativity in all their forms. Exploring the role of the cultural and creative sectors in rethinking our societies and everyday life will be the principal theme of Aarhus 2017.

More information on the opening

Pafos 2017 casts its spell

On 28 January, it was Pafos's turn to celebrate the beginning of a 2017 to remember. Thousands of people from all over Cyprus gathered under a stage constructed in Pafos's main square for an epic show.

The opening ceremony dramatically depicted the city's founding myth and presented the Open Air Factory of City concept that is a key part of Pafos 2017. A night of performances spanning artistic and cultural disciplines, the launch climaxed with a musical encounter between the singers Alkistis Protopsalti and Doros Demosthenous. Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures is the motto of Pafos 2017, underlining the importance of cultural openness, understanding and peace to the year.

Read more about the opening in Pafos


The European Capital of Culture is one of the most high-profile cultural initiatives in Europe. The cities are chosen on the basis of a cultural programme that must have a strong European dimension, engage and involve the city's inhabitants and contribute to the long-term development of the city.