The chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert Panel announced on 30 June that the city of has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2028 title in Czech Republic.
České Budějovice will be the third city in the Czech Republic after Prague (in 2000) and Plzen (in 2015) to hold the European Capital of Culture title.
A group of independent experts who assess applications, recommended České Budějovice from two short-listed Czech cities following a two-day meeting.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, said:
It is a unique opportunity for a city and its surroundings to bring culture and Europe right to the heart of their communities. It is the chance for their inhabitants to discover the rich cultural diversity of our continent, and the common elements we share as Europeans.
The European Capitals of Culture exemplify the EU goal of creating a Union that brings people together around cherished common values, such as freedom of speech, rule of law, democracy and peace.
I hope that České Budějovice will harvest all the long-term cultural, economic and social benefits that the European Capital of Culture can bring.
The selection process for the Czech city in 2028
The relevant Czech authorities invited applications from interested cities in August 2021.
Four cities submitted applications by the deadline of 1st September 2022: Broumov, Brno, České Budějovice and Liberec.
The pre-selection meeting took place on 12-14 October 2022 and two cities were short-listed: Broumov and České Budějovice. They were given until 1st June 2023 to complete their applications. The final selection meeting took place from 29 to 30 June 2023.
A panel of independent experts examine the applications. 2 of the experts are appointed by the relevant national authorities and 10 by EU institutions and bodies (European Parliament, Council, Commission and Committee of the Regions).
How cities become European Capitals of Culture
According to the current scheme for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has 2 rounds:
- a pre-selection round (following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up)
- a final selection round approximately nine months later (one city is recommended for the title)
The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned.
The selection criteria state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of the city's stakeholders as well as its various neighbourhoods and attracts visitors from the whole country and Europe.
The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city. The cities must also show that they have the support from the relevant public local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.
The next European Capitals of culture
In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council that governs the European Capitals of Culture action, there will be three European Capitals of Culture in 2028:
Alongside České Budějovice, a city in a candidate country, potential candidate or EFTA/EEA country (to be selected in September) and a city in France (to be selected in December) will also hold the title in 2028.
The three European Capitals of Culture 2023 are Timisoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Veszprem (Hungary).
Other upcoming European Capitals of Culture are:
- in 2024: Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl (Austria) and Bodø (Norway)
- in 2025: Chemnitz (Germany) and Nova Gorica (Slovenia)
- in 2026: Oulu (Finland) and Trenčín (Slovakia)
- in 2027: Liepaja (Latvia) and Évora (Portugal)
The European Capitals of Culture action, that started in 1985, have developed into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the EU's most appreciated activities.
The goals of this initiative are more relevant than ever:
- to provide Europeans with opportunities to learn more about each other's cultures
- to enjoy their shared history and values
- to experience the feeling of belonging to the same European community
- to develop European cultural connections and partnerships
- to underline the role of culture in the development of cities