European Capital of Culture

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it organises a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension.

Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city's image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.

In 1985, former actress Melina Mercouri, then Greece’s minister of culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang came up with the idea of designating an annual Capital of Culture to bring Europeans closer together by highlighting the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values.

The Commission of the European Union manages the title and each year the Council of Ministers of the European Union formally designates European Capitals of Culture: more than 40 cities have been designated so far.

An international panel of cultural experts is in charge of assessing the proposals of cities for the title according to criteria specified by the European Union.

A 2004 study conducted for the European Commission, known as the "Palmer report", demonstrated that the choice of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city.[1] Consequently, the beneficial socio-economic development and impact for the chosen city are now also considered in determining the chosen cities.



Aarhus (Denmark), the European Capital of Culture for 2017
Paphos (Cyprus) is the European Capital of Culture for 2017 along with Aarhus.

The European Capital of Culture programme was initially called the European City of Culture and was conceived in 1983, by Melina Mercouri, then serving as minister of culture in Greece. Mercouri believed that at the time, culture was not given the same attention as politics and economics and a project for promoting European cultures within the member states should be pursued. The European City of Culture programme was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder. During the German presidency of 1999, the European City of Culture programme was renamed the European Capital of Culture.[2]

List of European Capitals of CultureEdit

European Capitals of Culture
Year # City Country Notes/Links
1985 Athens   Greece
1986 Florence   Italy
1987 Amsterdam   Netherlands
1988 Berlin   Germany
1989 Paris   France
1990 Glasgow   United Kingdom
1991 Dublin   Ireland
1992 Madrid   Spain
1993 Antwerp   Belgium
1994 Lisbon   Portugal
1995 Luxembourg   Luxembourg
1996 Copenhagen   Denmark
1997 Thessaloniki   Greece
1998 Stockholm   Sweden
1999 Weimar   Germany
2000 Avignon   France The year 2000, called the millennium year, was treated by the European Union in a special way,
in order to emphasize the enduring heritage and contribution of European cities to the achievements
of world culture and civilization. Because of that, as many as nine locations were chosen,
including two cities of states that were to join the EU on 1 May 2004.[3]
Bergen   Norway
Bologna   Italy
Brussels   Belgium
Helsinki   Finland
Kraków   Poland
Prague   Czech Republic
Reykjavík   Iceland
Santiago de Compostela   Spain
2001 Rotterdam   Netherlands
Porto   Portugal
2002 Bruges   Belgium
Salamanca   Spain
2003 Graz   Austria
2004 Genoa   Italy
Lille   France
2005 Cork   Ireland
2006 Patras   Greece
2007 Sibiu   Romania Sibiu 2007
Luxembourg   Luxembourg
2008 Liverpool   United Kingdom
Stavanger   Norway
2009 Vilnius   Lithuania
Linz   Austria
2010 Essen   Germany representing the Ruhr as Ruhr.2010
Istanbul   Turkey
Pécs   Hungary
2011 Turku   Finland
Tallinn   Estonia
2012 Guimarães   Portugal
Maribor   Slovenia Maribor 2012
2013 Marseille   France Marseille-Provence 2013
Košice   Slovakia
2014 Riga   Latvia
Umeå   Sweden Umeå 2014
2015 Mons   Belgium Mons 2015
Plzeň   Czech Republic Plzeň 2015
2016 San Sebastián   Spain San Sebastián 2016
Wrocław   Poland Wrocław 2016
2017 Aarhus   Denmark Aarhus 2017
Paphos   Cyprus Pafos 2017
2018 Leeuwarden   Netherlands Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018
Valletta   Malta Valletta 2018
2019 Matera   Italy Matera 2019
Plovdiv   Bulgaria Plovdiv 2019
2020 Rijeka   Croatia Rijeka 2020
Galway   Ireland Galway 2020
2021 1 Timișoara[4]   Romania Timișoara 2021
2 Elefsina[5]   Greece Elefsina 2021
31 Novi Sad   Serbia Novi Sad 2021
2022 Kaunas   Lithuania Kaunas 2022
TBA September 2017[6]   Luxembourg candidate city:[7] Esch-sur-Alzette /
eliminated:[8] Differdange, Luxembourg City
2023 TBA   Hungary potential candidate cities: Győr, [9] Debrecen,[10] Eger,[11] Miskolc,[12] Tokaj,[13] Veszprem,[14]
TBA   United Kingdom status unclear due to Brexit - potential candidate cities: Bristol,[15] Dundee,[16] Leeds, Milton Keynes,[17] Truro
2024 1 TBA   Estonia
2 TBA   Austria tender to be opened in 2018, announcement in 2020 at latest[18]
2025 TBA   Slovenia
TBA   Germany potential candidate cities: Bremen,[19] Chemnitz,[20] Dresden,[21] Frankfurt,[22] Halle/Saale,[23] Hildesheim,[24] Magdeburg,[25][26] Nürnberg,[27] Würzburg[28]
2026 TBA   Slovakia
TBA   Finland potential candidate cities: Mänttä-Vilppula
2027 1 TBA   Latvia
2 TBA   Portugal potential candidate cities: Aveiro, Leiria
2028 TBA   Czech Republic
TBA   France
2029 TBA   Poland
TBA   Sweden
2030 1 TBA   Cyprus
2 TBA   Belgium
2031 TBA   Malta potential candidate : Vittoriosa, Birgu
TBA   Spain potential candidate cities: Cáceres, Granada
2032 TBA   Bulgaria
TBA   Denmark
2033 1 TBA   Netherlands
2 TBA   Italy

1 A new framework makes it possible for a city in a candidate country or potential candidate for EU membership to hold the title every third year as of 2021. This will be selected through an open competition, meaning that cities from various countries may compete with each other.[29]

Locations of European Capitals of Culture. Green designates current cities; red is for past cities; and blue for future cities.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Palmer, Robert (2004) "European Cities and Capitals of Culture" Part I. Part II. Study prepared for the European Commission
  2. ^ Kiran Klaus Patel, ed., The Cultural Politics of Europe: European Capitals of Culture and European Union since the 1980s (London: Routledge, 2013)
  3. ^ Association of European Cities of Culture of the Year 2000
  4. ^ Selection of the European Capital of Culture in 2021 in Romania, The Selection Panel’s report Pre-Selection Stage
  5. ^ Elefsina to be the European Capital of Culture in Greece in 2021
  6. ^ Appel à candidatures pour la Capitale européenne de la Culture 2022
  7. ^ Cultural offer in the Grand Duchy - international, and much appreciated
  8. ^ Quelle ville sera capitale européenne de la culture en 2022?
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "European Capital of Culture - Milton Keynes Council". Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  18. ^ "BKA-353.120/0144-I/4/2014" (PDF). Bundeskanzleramt Österreich. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Kulturhauptstadt 2025 – soll Bremen es nochmal versuchen?
  20. ^ Chemnitz will Europäische Kulturhauptstadt werden
  21. ^ Dresden will Kulturhauptstadt 2025 werden
  22. ^ Frankfurt soll sich gemeinsam mit Offenbach bewerben
  23. ^ Halle will "Kulturhauptstadt Europas" werden
  24. ^ "Stadt Hildesheim - Tagung zum Thema „Kulturhauptstadt Europas 2025"". Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Magdeburg als Europäische Kulturhauptstadt 2025
  27. ^ "Nürnberg verhält sich nicht wie Kulturhauptstadt"
  28. ^ Würzburger OB offen für Bewerbung
  29. ^ "European Capitals of Culture". European Union. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 

External linksEdit