The European Capital of Culture is an initiative of the European Union aimed at highlighting the richness and diversity of cultures and common cultural aspects of Europe, to bring the peoples of Europe closer and enhance mutual understanding.
The overall objectives of ECOC activities are as follows: to preserve and promote the diversity of cultures in Europe and highlight their common characteristics, to increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area, and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities in accordance with their strategies and priorities.
The experience of the nearly 60 cities that have hosted European Capitals of Culture since 1985 proves that it is a unique opportunity for a city that can bring positive cultural, social and economic impacts. The ECOC is, above all, an opportunity to regenerate and raise the profile of the city, to improve the image of the city in the eyes of its inhabitants, to promote tourism and an opportunity to reconsider the cultural offerings within the city.
The Council of independent experts evaluates the bid-books, draws up the shortlist and final selection recommendations, and monitors the ECOC during the monitoring period. The Council is composed of 10-12 members, 10 members are appointed by European institutions and bodies, i.e. The European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Committee of the Regions, 2 may be appointed by the Ministry of Culture in discussion with the European Commission.
The evaluation criteria are divided into six categories:
You can read more about the evaluation criteria HERE.
The initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to nearly 60 cities across the European Union.
The 2019 European Capitals of Culture are:
European Capitals of Culture designated until 2023:
2020 – Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland);
2021 – Timișoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country);
2022 – Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch (Luxembourg);
2023 – Veszprém (Madžarska)
2024 – Candidates:
2025 – Candidates:
You can find more about the European Capital of Culture: HERE