Organised since 1985, the European Capital of Culture (ECC) is an initiative that highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe; celebrates the cultural features Europeans share; increases European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area; foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.
Due to COVID, in 2021 there won’t be any ECC. Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) hold their ECC title until April 2021. The title year of Novi Sad (Serbia) will move from 2021 to 2022 and the title year of Timisoara (Romania) and Elefsina (Greece) will move from 2021 to 2023. In 2026, Finland and Slovakia will both host a ECC. They started their competitions in April and December 2019 respectively. Latvia and Portugal will both host a European Capital of Culture in 2027. Latvia published its call in August 2020 and will have its pre-selection meeting in July 2021. Portugal published its call in November 2020 and will have its pre-selection meeting in early 2022.
European Capitals of Culture are formally designated four years before the actual title year. This long period of time is necessary for the planning and preparation of such a complex event. This process represents an opportunity for the applying cities around Europe to regenerate, raise their international profiles, enhance their image in the eyes of their own inhabitants and boost tourism.