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Capitals of Culture

One can not emphasize exactly how much culture Europe has to offer. Europe’s ages of humanism, realism, creativity and exploration pulled Europe out of the dark ages and the rest of the world and human civilization into the modern age.

Greece was the birth of western civilization. Their literary, political, scientific and philosophical principles set it apart from other civilizations. Their formation of city states, government, politics and democracy provided individual identity. As well they provided, cultural contributions to the arts, medicine and sciences.Rome then further made cultural contributes to law, engineering, architecture, language and government.

Europeans would later re-discovered these concepts that would propel Europe into a renaissance of thinking. This would lead to a reformation of religion, exploration and colonization of most of the world and industrialization of society. From the mid 16th century to the 20th century Europe would dominate most of the world politically, militarily and economically.

Most visitor’s go to Europe to experience this array of culture that has evolved through its vast diversity and history over the centuries. Because of this we have categorized areas of interests. You may find some are duplicated because they can come under several classifications. 

Cultural Web Sites…

🇫🇷 France ➾ Centre des Monuments Nationaux
🇩🇪 Germany ➾ Historic Germany
🇵🇹 Portugal ➾ Aldeias Historicas d Portugal
🇪🇸 Spain ➾ Spain is Culture
🇬🇧 United Kingdom ➾ English Heritage

Capitals of Culture…

European Commission annually designates a city or cities, to exhibit their culture. In the last 30 years starting with Athens in 1985 and member of the EU has been able to participate in this event. According to the European Commission 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

Initially just one city hosted to the event from 1985-1999. In the year 2000 nine cities hosted to celebrate the millenium. Since then there have been years when two or three cities have been hosts. You will note that EU member countries alternate to host the event with cities competing for the opportunity to exhibit their culture.

It is advisable to plan a visit to one of these cities in a year when they are a capital of culture. Special events, attractions, and exhibits will be available that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to see or do.

YearCity – CountryYearCity – Country
1985🇬🇷 Athens, Greece2016🇪🇸 San Sebastián, Spain
1986🇮🇹 Florence, Italy2016🇵🇱 Wroclaw, Poland
1987🇳🇱 Amsterdam, Netherlands2017🇩🇰 Aarhus, Denmark
1988🇩🇪 Berlin, Germany2017🇨🇾 Pafos, Cyprus
1989🇫🇷 Paris, France2018🇳🇱 Leeuwarden, Netherlands
1990🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Glasgow, Scotland, UK2018🇲🇹 Valletta, Malta
1991🇮🇪 Dublin, Ireland2019🇮🇹 Matera, Italy
1992🇪🇸 Madrid, Spain2019🇧🇬 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
1993🇧🇪 Antwerp, Belgium2020-21🇭🇷 Rijeka, Croatia
1994🇵🇹 Lisbon, Portugal2020-21🇮🇪 Galway, Ireland
1995🇱🇺 Luxembourg, Luxembourg2022🇱🇹 Kaunas, Lithuania
1996🇩🇰 Copenhagen, Denmark2022🇱🇺 Esch, Luxembourg
1997🇬🇷 Thessaloniki, Greece2022🇷🇸 Novi Sad, Serbia
1998🇸🇪 Stockholm, Sweden2023🇭🇺 Veszprém, Hungary
1999🇩🇪 Weimar, Germany2023🇷🇴 Timișoara, Romania
2000🇫🇷 Avignon, France2023🇬🇷 Elefsina, Greece
2000🇳🇴 Bergen, Norway2024🇦🇹 Bad Ischl, Austria
2000🇮🇹 Bologna, Italy2024🇪🇪 Tartu, Estonia
2000🇧🇪 Brussels, Belgium2024🇳🇴 Bodø, Norway – *TBA
2000🇫🇮 Helsinki, Finland2025🇸🇮 Gorica, Slovenia/🇮🇹 Gorizia, Italy
2000🇵🇱 Kraków, Poland2025🇩🇪 Chemnitz, Germany
2000🇨🇿 Prague, Czechia2026🇸🇰 Trenčín – Slovakia
2000🇮🇸 Reykjavik, Iceland2026🇫🇮 Oulu, Finland
2000🇪🇸 Santiago de Compostela, Spain2027🇱🇻 Liepāja – Latvia
2001🇳🇱 Rotterdam, Netherlands2027🇵🇹 TBA – Portugal
2001🇵🇹 Porto, Portugal2027TBA – *TBA
2002🇧🇪 Bruges, Belgium2028🇨🇿 TBA – Czechia
2002🇪🇸 Salamanca, Spain2028🇫🇷 TBA – France
2003🇦🇹 Graz, Austria2029🇵🇱 TBA – Poland
2004🇮🇹 Genoa, Italy2029🇸🇪 TBA – Sweden
2004🇫🇷 Lille, France2030🇨🇾 TBA – Cyprus
2005🇮🇪 Cork, Ireland2030🇧🇪 TBA – Belgium
2006🇬🇷 Patras, Greece2030TBA – *TBA
2007🇷🇴 Sibui, Romania2031🇲🇹 TBA – Malta
2007🇱🇺 Luxembourg, Luxembourg2031🇪🇸 TBA – Spain
2008🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Liverpool, England, UK2032🇩🇰 TBA – Denmark
2008🇳🇴 Stavanger, Norway2032🇧🇬 TBA – Bulgaria
2009🇱🇹 Vilnius, Luthuania2033🇳🇱 TBA – Netherlands
2009🇦🇹 Linz,  Austria2033🇮🇹 TBA – Italy
2010🇩🇪 Essen, Germany 2033TBA – *TBA
2010🇭🇺 Pécs, Hungary2034TBA – *TBA 
2010🇹🇷 Istanbul, Turkey2034 TBA – *TBA 
2011🇫🇮 Turku, Finland2035 TBA – *TBA 
2011🇪🇪 Tallinn, Estonia2035 TBA – *TBA 
2012🇵🇹 Guimarãres, Portugal2036 TBA – *TBA 
2012🇸🇮 Maribor, Slovenia2036 TBA – *TBA 
2013🇫🇷 Marseille, France2036 TBA – *TBA 
2013🇸🇰 Koišce Slovakia2037 TBA – *TBA 
2014🇱🇻 Riga Latvia2037 TBA – *TBA 
2014🇸🇪 Umeå Sweden2038 TBA – *TBA 
2015🇧🇪 Mons Belgium2038 TBA – *TBA 
2015🇨🇿 Plzeň Czechia 

* Starting in 2021 the third city will be a non alternating slot so countries and cities may openly compete against each other. This will also allow cities to re-host every third year, providing they win the competition.