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Published:  3 Jan 2022

Three new European Capitals of Culture for 2022

As of 1 January 2022, three cities in Europe - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Novi Sad (Serbia) - will hold the title of European Capital of Culture for one year.

The 2022 European Capitals of Culture

Novi Sad

Novi Sad is Serbia's first European Capital of Culture. The yearlong cultural programme of Novi Sad - under the ‘For New Bridges’ motto – aims to further connect the city’s and region’s cultural community and inhabitants with the European Union (EU) and reinforce their links with the rest of the Western Balkans area.

Novi Sad's cultural programme is divided into four 'bridges' that the city wishes to share with citizens of Europe under the values of

  • freedom
  • rainbow
  • hope
  • love

The programme includes more than 1,500 cultural events and 4,000 local, national and international artists. It is based on eight thematic arches addressing issues of European relevance, such as migration, peace, multiculturalism and the role of women in art and youth culture.

Novi Sad's tenure as a 2022 European Capital of Culture will officially begin on 13 January 2022, coinciding with New Year’s Eve under the Julian calendar.


Kaunas is the second city in Lithuania to hold the European Capital of Culture title after Vilnius in 2009. Its slogan – From temporary to Contemporary Capital’ – illustrates the city’s ambition.

During the interwar period, Kaunas was Lithuania's capital city. It has now come back under the spotlight as an innovative, culturally vibrant European city.

Kaunas' modernist architecture, which received the European Heritage Label, will receive renewed attention and host many cultural events as a 2022 European Capital of Culture.

Its programme includes over 600 projects involving more 80 organisations and their partners (210 from abroad), 4,000 creators, totaling around 1,000 events (40 festivals, 60 exhibitions, more than 250 performing art events, of which more than 50 are premieres, and over 250 concerts).

Kaunas 2022 also creates a new myth to help the city on its new path - ‘The Mythical Beast of Kaunas’ - creating a unifying narrative that will unfold in 2022.

Kaunas' tenure as a 2022 European Capital of Culture will officially start on 22 January 2022.


After Luxembourg city in 1995 and 2007, it is now the turn of Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest city in the country, to be crowned a European Capital of Culture in 2022.

Esch’s slogan as a 2022 European Capital of Culture will be ‘REMIX Culture’ with the following four focus areas

  • REMIX Europe
  • REMIX Art
  • REMIX Nature
  • REMIX Yourself

Esch2022 wants to celebrate the history of a cross-border region located in the heart of Europe. It will tell the story of its evolution from the industrial age based on the steel industry until today's knowledge society and its future potential in the era of digital revolution.

The Capital proposes to discuss together with its citizens and visitors major societal issues of today, such as

  • identity in the digital age
  • sustainable development
  • new perspectives for Europe

Esch will officially launch its tenure as a European Capital of Culture from 22 to 26 February 2022.

About the European Capitals of Culture initiative

"The European Capital of Culture initiative illustrates the importance of culture in promoting the values on which our European Union is built: diversity, solidarity, respect, tolerance and openness”, commented European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

In 1985, the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, initiated the European Capital of Culture initiative. It has since become one of the most high-profile cultural initiatives in Europe.

Cities are selected based on a cultural programme that must have a strong European dimension, including

  • promoting participation and active involvement by city inhabitants, communities and stakeholders
  • contributing to the long-term development of the city and its surrounding region

Holding the title of European Capital of Culture offers cities the chance to put themselves on the world map, promote sustainable tourism and rethink their development through culture.

The title has a long-term impact, not only for culture, but also in social and economic terms - both for the city and the surrounding region.

Each year, two to three cities hold the title of European Capital of Culture.

Future European Capitals of Culture

Upcoming European Capitals of Culture

  • Veszprém (Hungary), Elefsina (Greece) and Timisoara (Romania) in 2023
  • Tartu (Estonia), Bad Ischl (Austria) and Bodø (Norway) in 2024
  • Chemnitz (Germany) and Nova Gorica (Slovenia) in 2025
  • Oulu (Finland) and Trenčín (Slovakia) (recommended - pending official designation by the relevant Slovak authorities) in 2026

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no European Capitals of Culture in 2021.

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Tagged in:  Creative Europe
Published:  3 Jan 2022