European Capitals of Culture have already been designated until the title year 2028 and they are as follows:
- 2024: Bad Ischl (Austria), Tartu (Estonia) and Bodø (Norway)
- 2025: Chemnitz (Germany) and Nova Gorica (Slovenia)
- 2026: Oulu (Finland) and Trenčín (Slovakia)
- 2027: Liepāja (Latvia) and Évora (Portugal)
- 2028: České Budějovice (Czech Republic), Skopje (North Macedonia, pending formal endorsement) and a city in France (to be decided in December 2028)
Ongoing competitions for future Capitals of Culture
Competitions are running for title-years 2028 and 2029.
In 2028, 3 cities will hold the title of European Capitals of Culture in the Czech Republic, France and in an EFTA/EEA country, a candidate country or a potential candidate to EU membership. The competition started in August 2021 in the Czech Republic, and in December 2021 in France and for cities from non-EU Member States.
The Czech Republic held its pre-selection meeting on 12-14 October 2022, and the city of Budweis (České Budějovice) was selected.
EFTA/EEA country, a candidate country or a potential candidate
The final selection meeting for the competition between cities in an EFTA/EEA country, a candidate country or a potential candidate took place on 19-20 September, with the city of Skopje (North Macedonia) winning the competition.
France had its pre-selection meeting between 28 February and 3 March 2023, with 4 cities short-listed:
The final selection meeting in France will take place between 11 and 13 December 2023.
In 2029, Poland and Sweden will both host a European Capital of Culture. Poland published its call in October 2022 and plans to have its pre-selection meeting in October 2023. Sweden published its call in December 2022 and will convene its per-selection meeting in early 2024.
How to apply
Competitions are organised at the national level with the publication of a call for submission of applications by the responsible authority (usually the national Ministry of Culture).
This new framework was amended in September 2017 by another Decision of the European Parliament and the Council.
This decision makes it possible for cities in EU candidate countries, potential candidates or members of the European Free Trade Association party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (so-called EFTA/EEA countries) to hold the title in 2021, 2024, 2028, 2030 and 2033.
These cities are selected through an 'open competition', meaning that cities from various countries may compete with each other.
Cities wishing to hold the European Capitals of Culture title should await the announcement of a competition in their own country, and then complete and submit a bid in response to the call for applications published.