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Daily Dutch News in English

Leeuwarden to be the European Capital of Culture in the Netherlands in 2018

The independent selection panel responsible for assessing the Dutch cities competing for the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2018 met in Amsterdam today. The panel recommended that Leeuwarden should be selected. The other two cities in contention were Eindhoven and Maastricht. The formal nomination of Leeuwarden by the EU’s Council of Ministers will take place in May 2014. Valletta in Malta has already been selected as the other European Capital of Culture in 2018.

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, stated: “I congratulate Leeuwarden on its successful bid. It was not an easy decision for the panel because the applications presented by all three cities were of very high quality. I am confident that Leeuwarden will develop an exciting programme of events with a strong European dimension, which will attract visitors from all over the world. I am also convinced that the title will bring Leeuwarden and its surrounding area significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits, as we have seen with previous European Capitals of Culture.”

The Netherlands and Malta are the two Member States hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2018. The list of countries hosting the title until 2019 was laid down in 2006 in a decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

Malta organised its selection procedure one year ahead of the normal schedule, and the city of Valletta was officially designated as European Capital of Culture 2018 by the EU Council of Ministers in May 2013 (IP/12/1099).

Bidding cities are assessed on the basis of criteria laid down by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. These criteria state that the cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension and foster the participation of citizens in the city, its neighbourhood and the whole country. The programme must also have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city.

The European dimension is reflected in the chosen themes and the way in which the events in the programme are organised. Cooperation between cultural operators in different EU countries is encouraged.

The process for selecting a European Capital of Culture begins with a pre-selection phase after which an initial shortlist of cities is drawn up. A final selection takes place nine months later. The city chosen is then officially designated by the EU’s Council of Ministers.

The applications are examined by a panel made up of 13 independent cultural experts – six appointed by the Member State and the remaining seven by the European institutions.

The members of the panel appointed by the European institutions currently are:

  • Appointed by the European Commission: Sir Jeremy Isaacs (United Kingdom) a television executive and a former Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Manfred Gaulhofer (Austria), Director-General of Graz 2003.
  • Appointed by the Council: Anu Kivilo (Estonia), Managing Director of the International Arvo Pärt Centre; Norbert Riedl (Austria), Head of Department for bi-and-multilateral cultural affairs at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture.
  • Appointed by the European Parliament: Jordi Pardo (Spain), responsible for cultural projects in the field of international culture; Steve Green (United Kingdom), consultant and researcher in cultural policy.
  • Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Elisabeth Vitouch (Austria), who represents the Commission for Culture and Education of the Committee of the Regions and is a member of the Vienna City government.

Following Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) this year, Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2014; Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) in 2015; Wrocław (Poland) and Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) in 2016; Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017.

For more information

European Commission: European Capitals of Culture website