Every year since 1985, the European Union is designating one or more city(ies) as “European Capital(s) of Culture” (ECoC) for a duration of 12 months during which an active programme of cultural events is organised.
This successful initiative is designated too:
- Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
- Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
- Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
- Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities
In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is also an excellent opportunity for:
- Regenerating cities
- Raising the international profile of cities;
- Enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants
- Breathing new life into a city’s culture
- Boosting tourism
Some non-EU countries, in particular EU candidate countries, are also invited to apply for the ECoC programme. Novi Sad in Serbia has been selected to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021.