The Capital of Culture concept

What is a European Capital of Culture?
In 1985, EU Ministers laid the foundation stone for the program which is now called the European Capital of Culture.

The purpose of the Capital of Culture programme is to highlight and strengthen the diversity of European culture. The programme builds ties between Europe's different communities through an increased understanding of cultural differences and similarities. In addition the programme gives Europeans a sense of citizenship within the European Union.

Athens was appointed the first European City of Culture in 1985. Since 1999 the programme has been re-named European Capital of Culture.

Athens had seven months to prepare and plan the event in 1985. Today there are six years from the time the host country invites potential candidates to apply for the title until the Capital of Culture year begins, but in fact many candidate cities are in the process of preparing for the application much earlier.

Click here for a list of past, present and future European Capitals of Culture.

Read our application here.