Since 1 January 2022, three cities in Europe hold the title of European Capital of Culture for one year: Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Kaunas (Lithuania), and Novi Sad (Serbia).
Holding the title of European Capital of Culture gives cities the chance to boost their image, put themselves on the world map, promote sustainable tourism and rethink their development through culture.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “During the pandemic, culture was vital in our societies. It enabled the circulation of ideas and brought our communities closer together, beyond borders. This is exactly the ambition of the European Capitals of Culture initiative, which comes back in force in 2022 with three dynamic title-holders. I hope that Esch-sur-Alzette, Kaunas and Novi Sad will harness the full potential of culture to enrich our life experience and showcase their many positive impacts in terms of social integration, territorial cohesion and economic growth.”
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The European Capital of Culture initiative illustrates the importance of culture in promoting the values on which our European Union is built: diversity, solidarity, respect, tolerance and openness. A successful Capital of Culture is a capital that is open to the world, illustrating our Union’s willingness to promote culture as a driver for peace and mutual understanding worldwide. It is also inclusive and a tool to reach out, in particular the younger generation with the view to empowering it to become an actor of positive changes in the further development of our cities. This is also the ambition of the Union’s European Year of Youth 2022. I wish Novi Sad, Kaunas and Esch every success all along the year and beyond.”
After Luxembourg city in 1995 and 2007, this is now the turn of Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest city in the country, to be crowned European Capital of Culture. Kaunas is the second city in Lithuania to hold the European Capital of Culture title after Vilnius in 2009.
Kaunas’ modernist architecture, which received the EU heritage label will get renewed attention and host many cultural events. Novi Sad is the first European Capital of Culture in Serbia. The yearlong cultural programme of Novi Sad aims to further connect the city’s and region’s cultural community and inhabitants with the EU and reinforce their links with the rest of the Western Balkans area.