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European Capital of Culture

European Capital of Culture:  Its Inauguration and Subsequent Development

“A mutual understanding of our cultures, our identities, is essential to true European integration.” This assertion by Melina Mercouri, then Greek Minister of Culture, launched the system of the European Capital of Culture in 1985. Since then, the Council of Ministers of Culture of member countries of the EU (at that time the EC) have selected one city within an EU member country as the European Capital of Culture, which over the course of one year holds a variety of artistic events to deepen mutual understanding.

This system incorporates the thinking of the Ministers of Culture that “It being difficult to realize a single Europe through political and economic treaties and agreements alone, culture plays and important role in realizing integration.

Integration of the European market was completed in 1993, and since that year the European Capital of Culture has sought the broad participation of countries throughout the world rather than cultural exchange within the EU region alone and in June of that year the 1st EC-Japan Fest cultural exchange program was held in Antwerp. Cultural cooperation with Japan has continued since then with each year’s European Capital of Culture. The EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee has served as the Japan-side liaison since then, and each European Capital of Culture each year since has seen joint projects with Japan in culture and the arts.

To see the details of each ECoCs, please click pins on the map. Red/ Host cities of Current European Capital of Culture, Blue/ Coming European Capitals of Culture, Green/ Past European Capitals of Culture

Year City / Country
1985 Athens (Greece)
1986 Florence (Italy)
1987 Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
1988 Berlin (German)
1989 Paris (France)
1990 Glasgow (United Kingdom)
1991 Dublin (Ireland)
1992 Madrid (Spain)
1993 Antwerp (Belgium) (The 1st EU-Japan Fest)
1994 Lisbon (Portugal) (The 2nd EU-Japan Fest)
1995 Luxembourg (Luxembourg) (The 3rd EU-Japan Fest)
1996 Copenhagen (Denmark) (The 4th EU-Japan Fest)
1997 Thessaloniki (Greece) (The 5th EU-Japan Fest)
1998 Stockholm (Sweden) (The 6th EU-Japan Fest)
1999 Weimar (German) (The 7th EU-Japan Fest)
2000 Brussels (Belgium) / Avignon (France) / Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
(The 8th EU-Japan Fest)
  Prague (Czech) / Bologna (Italy) / Helsinki (Finland) / Bergen (Norway) / Reykjavik (Iceland) / Cracow (Poland)
2001 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) / Porto (Portugal)
(The 9th EU-Japan Fest)
2002 Salamanca (Spain) / Brugge (Belgium)
(The 10th EU-Japan Fest)
2003 Graz (Austria) (The 11th EU-Japan Fest)
2004 Lille (France) / Genova (Italy)
(The 12th EU-Japan Fest)
2005 Cork (Ireland) (The 13th EU-Japan Fest)
2006 Patras (Greece) (The 14th EU-Japan Fest)
2007 Luxembourg (Luxembourg) / Sibiu (Romania)
(The 15th EU-Japan Fest)
2008 Liverpool (United Kingdom) / Stavanger (Norway)
(The 16th EU-Japan Fest)
2009 Linz (Austria) / Vilnius (Lithuania)
(The 17th EU-Japan Fest)
2010 Pécs (Hungary) / Istanbul (Turkey) / Ruhr (Germany)
(The 18th EU-Japan Fest)
2011 Turku (Finland) / Tallinn (Estonia)
(The 19th EU-Japan Fest)
2012 Guimarães (Portugal)/ Maribor (Slovenia)
(The 20th EU-Japan Fest)
2013 Marseille-Provence (France) / Košice (Slovakia)
(The 21st EU-Japan Fest)
2014 Umeå (Sweden) / Riga (Latvia)
(The 22nd EU-Japan Fest)
2015 Mons (Belgium) / Plzen (Czech Republic)
(The 23rd EU-Japan Fest)
2016 San Sebastian (Spain) / Wroclaw (Poland)
(The 24th EU-Japan Fest)
2017 Aarhus (Denmark) / Pafos (Cyprus)
(The 25th EU-Japan Fest)
2018 Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) / Valletta (Malta)
(The 26th EU-Japan Fest [to be confirmed])
2019 Matera (Italy) / Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
(The 27th EU-Japan Fest [to be confirmed])
2020 Rijeka (Croatia) / Galway (Ireland)
2021 Timisoara (Romania) / Eleusis (Greece) / Novi Sad (Serbia)
2022 Lithuania / Luxembourg
2023 Hungary / United Kingdom
2024 Estonia / Austria
2025 Slovenia / Germany
2026 Slovakia / Finland
2027 Latvia / Portugal
2028 Czech Republic / France
2029 Poland / Sweden
2030 Cyprus / Belgium
2031 Malta / Spain
2032 Bulgaria / Denmark
2033 The Netherlands / Italy

 

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