European Capital of Culture 2019

European Capital of Culture

European Capital of Culture is an initiative launched back in 1985,  which every year aspires to showcase the diversity of European cultural dimensions and bring cities and their citizens closer to the concepts of togetherness and collaboration on international level, uniting artists, networks an audience from across Europe.

European Capitals of Culture 1985 till 2013 map

Just being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, provided that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.

comments Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The title European Capital of Culture is awarded by the The Council of the European Union upon rigorous and long assessment. Cities are being assessed not for their historical value, but rather or the projects they endeavor to prepare for the year of the European Capital of Culture.

European Capital of Culture 2019

From 2011 on, each year there are two cities, from different countries chosen for as European Capitals of Culture.

In 2019 Bulgaria and Italy are the EU Member States whose cities will proudly join the realm of the places awarded the prestigious title.

Back in 2013,in an interview for Events in Bulgaria, we asked Kathrin Deventer, the Secretary General of the European Festivals Association, what does it take for a city to become a European Capital of Culture and she shared:

Many cities don’t know what it isBecause I think there is a myth that the European Capital of Culture is a big success, that it brings added value etc.

It’s tough for a city to be a Capital of culture I think. And I think that there are more failures than success stories happening. When you look back to the 30 years of Capital of Culture since 1985, and if you assess capital of culture, for me the most important element that comes out as a learning lesson is that the Capital of Culture has again to be owned by the people, living in that city.

So what does it take? It needs it’s citizens to carry this project, it doesn’t need a mayor or marketing, or branding, before there is the need in the city, that is carried by the citizens, to go for such a moment. It’s only one year! It helps to create to create the whole dynamic, it’s always like that, if you have the need and the content, if you have people that take care of this content, you also need the vision how you materialize it.

Source: Kathrin Deventer’s Mosaic Festival Bits

In September, 2014, the European Commission will take the final decision  which of the 4 short-listed cities will continue on the road toe European Capital of Culture. Considering that, we decided to launch a series of short interviews, starting with Plovdiv (Plovdiv 2019: Audiences creating culture) and continuing with Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo, where every city showcases their efforts and thoughts about the prestigious contest.

Good to know

On the website of the European Commission can be found concise  information along with wonderful pictures and great practices.

Do find more, the stories are inspiring:

European Capitals of Culture: the road to success

A long term trip through Europe