Esch to be the European Capital of Culture 2022 in Luxembourg

  • 3 years 5 months ago
  • programme events

Esch has been recommended for European Capital of Culture 2022 in Luxembourg.

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, the European Capital of Culture will go back to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. After Luxembourg City in 1995 and 2007, the title will now be held by Esch, which will cooperate with the country’s Southern region as well as a group of communes in France. I am very pleased to see that Esch and the surrounding region intend to use the European Capital of Culture title to accelerate their transformation from a post-industrial to a knowledge society and to promote European values such as mutual understanding and respect."

"The University of Luxembourg, located in Esch-Belval, and its students will be important partners in the project. I look forward to seeing Esch 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 on our continent. As we have seen many times, the title can bring significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits – benefits that Esch now stands to reap as well."


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

The selection process has two rounds:

  • pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up
  • final selection the following year (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 Luxembourgish Ministry of Culture invited applications from interested cities in July 2015.

The pre-selection meeting took place in June 2016 and the city of Esch was shortlisted. It was given until September 2017 to complete its application and then invited to a final selection meeting in Luxembourg on 10 November.

The application was examined by a panel composed of 11 independent experts, one appointed by the Luxembourgish Ministry of Culture and ten by EU institutions and bodies.

The ten experts nominated by EU institutions and bodies 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. Kaunas (Lithuania) has been recommended for 2022 and is pending the official nomination by the Lithuanian authorities.

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