What is a European Capital of Culture?


The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe

  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share

  • Increase European citizens' sense of belonging to a common cultural area

  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities

In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is an excellent opportunity for:

  • Regenerating cities

  • Raising the international profile of cities;

  • Enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants

  • Breathing new life into a city's culture

  • Boosting tourism

Portugal had already three cities as European Capital of Culture: Lisbon, in 1994, Porto, in 2001, and Guimarães, in 2012.

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How does this process work?

Six years before the title-year the selected host member states publish a call for applications, usually through their Ministry for Culture. Cities interested in participating in the competition must submit a proposal for consideration.

The submitted applications are reviewed against a set of established criteria during a pre-selection phase by a panel of independent experts in the field of culture. The panel agrees on a short-list of cities, which are then asked to submit more detailed applications.

The panel then reconvenes to assess the final applications and recommends one city per host country for the title. The recommended cities will then be formally designated as European Capital of Culture.

The role of the European Commission is to ensure that the rules established at EU level are respected all along the way.

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How can I be involved in this process?

As a process started by Aveiro municipality, all  communities are invited to participate actively. We are all needed to transform this application in a big collective movement, gathering energy, ideas and a genuine will to build a better city.

All you have to do is check out this platform regularly and participate in the announced events.

You are also invited you to fill out the participation form and in time you’ll be reached out to take part of this adventure.

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Which cities are European Capital of Culture in 2018?

The initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to more than 50 cities across the European Union. The 2018 European Capitals of Culture are:

European Capitals of Culture have already been designated until 2022:

  • 2019 – Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy)

  • 2020 - Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland)

  • 2021 - Timișoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country)

  • 2022 – Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch (Luxembourg) 

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