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What is European Capital of Culture?

The European Capital of Culture is an initiative of the European Union in the field of culture, in the framework of which two selected cities of the Member States are awarded this prestigious title every year.

Every year, the two selected cities have an exceptional opportunity to present their artistic and cultural program to a wider European audience and direct Europe’s attention to their region and the country’s cultural offer. The ECoC initiative helps to preserve and promote the diversity of cultures in Europe and highlight their common features. By granting the ECoC title to the city, it increases the feeling of citizens that they belong to a common cultural space, and encourages the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities. The experience of the European Capital of Culture has shown that in addition to cultural development, cities have many other benefits, such as a better image of the city in the eyes of locals, greater international visibility, more tourists, invigorated cultural life, infrastructure and urban regeneration. Winning this title puts a city on the map of Europe quite differently than before applying for the title ̶ the city has the opportunity to redefine its profile and establish itself in the international space.

EcoC is a springboard for activities that:

– give meaning to the cultural diversity of the European space and give everyone free access to common cultural goods;
– represent “cultural harbours” and offer a common anchorage to all residents of the European area;
– strengthen the sense of belonging of European citizens;
– promote the inclusion of culture in urban development.
Slovenia has participated in the initiative once so far; in 2012, the title of ECoC was held by Maribor with its partner cities Murska Sobota, Novo mesto, Ptuj, Slovenj Gradec and Velenje. The next opportunity for Slovenia opens in 2025; the four cities of Slovenian Istria, united under common name Piran-Pirano 4 Istria, are also participating in the candidacy.

ECoC 2025

In 2025, two cities will win the title of ECoC 2025, one from Slovenia and one from Germany. Members of the International Council of Experts evaluated candidacies on the basis of bid books and presentations of the cities. Our bid convinced them, so Piran became one of the four Slovenian cities that qualified for the second round of candidacy. In addition to us, Ljubljana, Nova Gorica and Ptuj are also applying for the title, while Chemnitz, Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg and Nürnberg are selected among the German cities.
Each of the cities applying for the ECoC title received recommendations from the Council of Experts on how it can improve and build up its candidacy. The members of the commission are expected to visit all the cities in person in December, re-evaluate the improved bid books and examine the presentations of the cities. At the end, they will select two cities (one Slovenian and one German), which will carry the European Capital of Culture 2025 title throughout the year.