Aarhus and Pafos are European Capitals of Culture for 2017

  • 2 years 4 months ago
  • programme events

The Danish and Cypriot cities will host an extraordinary range of artistic and cultural events right through 2017.


Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said:

"The title of European Capital of Culture is a unique opportunity to bring communities together through culture and to foster strong local, European and international partnerships for the future. I wish Aarhus and Pafos every success for the coming year."

Aarhus 2017

Aarhus's year as European Capital of Culture is designed to encourage and inspire us to rethink our societies and behaviour with the help of the cultural and creative sectors. The yearlong programme of events will combine ages-old Danish 'folkelige' traditions with cutting-edge modern art and culture. In what promises be the biggest Danish cultural project ever, thousands of activities will take place in Aarhus and the surrounding region.

The official opening is on Saturday 21 January. True to the city's Viking heritage, the opening will feature ships, a huge choir and a sea of lanterns in a procession finishing up in Aarhus's harbour.

Headline events to look out for include Røde Orm, a massive outdoor performance of an epic Viking saga, and The Garden, two-part major exhibition on humanity's depictions and alteration of nature.

Pafos 2017

In 2017, Pafos becomes the first Cypriot city to host European Capital of Culture. Reflecting Cyprus's experiences of multiculturalism and its geographical proximity to the Middle East and North Africa, the theme of the year is 'Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures'. With hundreds of events planned, Pafos will be transformed into an Open Air Factory where ideas, communities and creativity will meet, mingle and blossom in shared open spaces.

The opening ceremony of Pafos 2017 is inspired by the foundation myth of the city that tells of birth of Pafos though the union of Pygmalion and Galatea. The ceremony will feature spectacles, exhibitions, music and projections by performers and artists from Cyprus, Europe and the Middle East. The opening ceremony takes place on 28 January.


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.

Future European Capitals of Culture will be Valletta, Malta, and Leeuwarden, Netherlands, in 2018 and Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and Matera, Italy, in 2019.