Brussels, 2030 European Capital of Culture?

The Brussels-Capital Region is a candidate to be the European Capital of Culture in 2030,  announced Rudi Vervoort, Brussels-Capital Minister-President. The European Commission will launch the formal bidding process for the title in 2024.

Rudi Vervoort confirmed the filing of the candidacy during the next open call by 2024 ““It’s true that the deadline is quite a way off, but it takes a lot of preparatory work for such an important project to be successful,”  he said “In particular, it can only be a success if the whole sector stands behind the project. As capital of Europe and an intercultural meeting place, it’s only to be expected that Brussels would try to claim this title.”

How does it 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 city will then be formally designated as European Capital of Culture.

A prestigious reference

European Capital of Culture is considered a prestigious position for the image of the participating city, and it brings concrete benefits in the form of tourist income as well as income from domestic consumers of the many events and performances organised.

The European Capital of Culture programme was initially called the European City of Culture and was conceived in 1983, by Melina Mercouri, then serving as minister of culture in Greece. Mercouri believed that at the time, culture was not given the same attention as politics and economics and a project for promoting European cultures within the member states should be pursued. The European City of Culture programme was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder.

Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri, Minister of Culture in Greece 1981-1989 again in 1993-1994

During Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture, the former Belgian PM Elio di Rupo and other members of the town council decided to pay tribute to Melina Mercouri by naming a street with her name.

Since 1985, Belgium was selected 4 times

Brussels has already been designated European Capital of Culture in 2000 alongside Avignon (France), Bergen (Norway), Bologna (Italy), Helsinki (Finland), Krakow (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic), Reykjavik (Iceland), and Santiago de Compostela (Spain). In 2000, the European Capital of Culture was exceptionally celebrated in nine cities. Its legacy includes the Zinneke parade, specially created for the occasion, and the new home for the Musical Instrument Museum.

Bruges was nominated in 2002 along with Salamanca (Spain) and Mons in 2015 together with Plzen (Czech Republic). In 2017, both Aarhus (Denmark) and Pafos (Greece) are the European Capital Culture.