European Capital of Culture..?

Initiated by the 1985 Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri the idea behind European Capital of Culture was to promote cultural richness and diversity as well as multinational symbiosis in such baffling harmony around great cities of this continent. As the idea was highly appreciated by the European Council of Ministers, the project was put into implementation right away. Now every year, a different city is chosen to be the European Capital of Culture and as of 2000 the millennia, more than one city represents European Capital of Culture including countries that are yet to be part of the European Union.

What is its major purpose?

The European Capital of Culture has several benign purposes besides being a great means to promote European legacy.

  • Emphasize the importance of the cultural diversities.
  • Reveal cultural impact on the development of modern entities
  • Rejuvenate the spirits of some unheard cities
  • Internationalizing some left back, homogeneous cities
  • Help revolutionize and boost tourism.

What are the criteria?

Six years prior to the selection, the Member states invite cities to apply for the title, a process commonly handled by the Ministry of Culture. Cities that do apply for the competition are obliged to submit a decent proposal.

Based on a set of established criteria, a group of independent experts in various fields of culture meticulously reviews the applications and make the narrow selection.

After several discussions and possible request for a detailed presentation of the data, the panel chooses a city from every country that participates as a finalists list. Unanimously they decide which will be the city of the year to take the crown.

EU commission is there to make sure that everything is played by the rules and within equal rights.

Afterwards, the decision goes through ladders of implementation as the hardest part.

Commonly, European Capitals of Culture are selected four years prior to the title, so the city can richly prepare to meet the standards. Of course, European Commission is available every step of the way for support guidance and advice.

After a certain period of monitoring, the panel decided whether it is worthy to reward the Melina Mercouri Prize to the designated city, some 1.5m euro reward funded by EU Creative Europe program.

After each year, the European Culture Capital is evaluated by the European Commission for its outcome in the frontier.

What is next?

European Capitals of Culture have already been designated until 2018:

  • 2015 – Mons (Belgium) and Plzeň Czech Republic
  • 2016 – Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) and Wrocław (Poland)
  • 2017 – Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus)
  • 2018 – Leeuward (Netherlands) to be determined in May 2014 and Valetta (Malta)
  • 2019 – Italy and Bulgaria (competitions in these two countries are ongoing)

As of April 2014, there have been changes within the initiative that will start implementing after 2019. The European Parliament and Council have come up with a list of Member States that are eligible to hold the title from 2020 until 2033. The event will be held in Ireland and Croatia, in 2020.

The new order makes It possible for the chosen city to hold on to the title for three years in a row. It will be an open competition where cities from various countries will compete against each other.

Cities wishing to take part in future should await the announcement of a competition in their own country, and then complete and submit a bid in response to the call for applications published by the authority in charge of the competition (usually the Ministry of Culture).

Which cities have been chosen as European Capital of Culture up to this date?

  • 1985 Athens -Greece
  • 1986 Florence -Italy
  • 1987 Amsterdam -Holland
  • 1988 Berlin -Germany
  • 1989 Paris -France
  • 1990 Glasgow -Britain
  • 1991 Dublin -Ireland
  • 1992 Madrid -Spain
  • 1993 Antwerp -Belgium
  • 1994 Lisbon -Portugal
  • 1995 Luxembourg
  • 1996 Copenhagen -Denmark
  • 1997 Thessalonica -Greece
  • 1998 Stockholm -Sweden
  • 1999 Weimar -Germany
  • 2000 Avignon -France, Bergen -Norway, Bologna -Italy, Brussels -Belgium, Helsinki -Finland, Krakow -Polond, Reykjavik -Iceland, Prague -Czech Republic, Santiago de Compostela -Spain
  • 2001 Porto -Portugal, Rotterdam -Holland
  • 2002 Bruges -Belgium, Salamanca -Spain
  • 2003 Graz -Austria
  • 2004 Genova -Italy, Lille -France
  • 2005 Cork -Ireland
  • 2006 Patras -Greece
  • 2007 Luxembourg, Sibiu -Romania
  • 2008 Liverpool -Britain, Stavanger -Norway
  • 2009 Linz –Austria, Vilnius – Lithuania
  • 2010 Istanbul – Turkey, Essen – Germany, Pecs – Hungary
  • 2011 Turku – Finland, Tallinn – Estonia
  • 2012 Guimaraes – Portugal, Maribor – Slovenia
  • 2013 Marseille – France, Kosice – Slovakia
  • 2014 Riga – Latvia, Umea – Sweden

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