The ECoC Story

The European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) is an initiative putting culture at the heart of European cities with EU support for a yearlong celebration of art and culture. The initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to more than 60 cities across the European Union (EU) and beyond.

ECoC is designed to:

  • 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

Designation of European Capitals of Culture

Six years before the title year the selected host Member States publish a call for applications, usually through their Ministry for Culture. Cities interested in participating in the competition must submit a proposal for consideration.

The submitted applications are reviewed against a set of established criteria at the end of a pre-selection phase by a panel of independent experts in the field of culture or culture-based city development. The panel agrees on a short-list of cities, which are then asked to submit more detailed applications.

The panel then reconvenes to assess the final applications and recommends one city per host country for the title. The relevant authority in the Member State concerned then formally designates the recommended city as European Capital of Culture.

The European Commission ensures that the rules established at EU level are respected all along the way.

Selection Criteria for ECoC:

  • Contribution to the long-term strategy
  • European dimension
  • Cultural and Artistic program
  • Outreach
  • Capacity to deliver
  • Management

ECoC Road Map

  • 2022Establishment of Larnaka 2030

  • December 2023Announcement of the competition in Cyprus by the Deputy Ministry of Culture

  • December 13th 2024Bidbook submission from candidate cities

  • February 2025Pre – Selection of
    candidate cities

  • December 2025Final Selection of the city to be the
    European Capital of Culture

  • 2026 – 2029Preparation

  • 2030Title year

  • 2031 onwardsLegacy