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Becoming a European Capital of Culture

The European Capital of Culture is an annual EU event. The aim is to highlight Europe’s common cultural heritage and arouse an interest in the cultural richness that can be found in the EU countries.

Culture should be vibrant and have something to offer and provide the rest of Europe. A principal objective is to increase cultural exchanges with other countries. Cities that have been chosen will be situated in different parts of Europe and in that way reflect Europe’s cultural diversity.

The host countries are determined several years ahead and there is a formal selection procedure. The city is chosen by an international panel of experts and through a national “competition” between cities. The formal and final decision is made by the Council of the European Union.

Highlight European cultures
The aim of the European Capital of Culture is to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share, which in turn facilitates greater mutual acquaintance between European Union citizens.

The programme of the Capital of Culture must include a cultural project of European dimension, based principally on cultural cooperation. The cities can choose to include the surrounding regions in their programme.

The programme should promote cooperation between cultural operators, artists and cities from member states of the EU. The richness and diversity of European cultures and the features that they share should be emphasized.

The programme should not only support participation from the citizens who live in the city and in the region and arouse their interest, but it should also kindle international interest. It should also be sustainable and included in the city’s long-term cultural and social development.

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