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History of the European Capital of Culture

The European Capital of Culture evolved from a traditional arts festival to a complex programme tied to economic and social objectives.

Watch this video to learn how the European Capital of Culture evolved from a traditional arts festival to a complex programme tied to economic and social objectives.

Since 1985, every year, one European city or more is designated as the European Capital of Culture and given the opportunity to showcase its cultural vitality to the world.

During the first years, the event took place in the most recognized European cultural centres such as Athens, Florence, or Paris. It lasted only a few months and involved mainly the cultural sector to achieve mostly cultural goals.

In 1990, Glasgow played a pioneering role in using the event as a tool to transform the city’s image by extending it to a yearlong program and taking it as an opportunity to regenerate a city tarnished by the industrial crisis.

To avoid a narrow focus on urban growth that may not benefit the whole city’s population, the scope and objectives were later expanded to include, for example, intercity cooperation as well as social impacts.

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Cultural Heritage and the City

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