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Published:  15 Jan 2024

Three new Capitals of Culture in 2024

From January 1 2024, the cities of Bad Ischl in Austria, Bodø in Norway and Tartu in Estonia are European Capitals of Culture.

Bodo, Tartu and Bad Ischl - 2024 European Capitals of Culture

Bad Ischl

Opening: 20 – 21 January

Under the leadership of the title-holder Bad Ischl, 23 municipalities in the rural inner Alpine region of Salzkammergut are joining forces to implement a comprehensive and multi-layered programme for the European Capital of Culture year, under the banner “23 for 24”.

“Culture is the New Salt” is the title of the programme, as a reference to salt, which brought wealth to the entire region. It includes 178 main projects and over 100 associated projects.

It involves artistic interventions addressing remembrance culture, related among others to the House of Habsburg or National Socialism, as well as more contemporary art and new cultural formats dealing with modern challenges such as the development of a more sustainable model of cultural tourism for the region.

Some highlights in the programme include:

Salt Lake Cities

Young contemporary artists are invited to revitalise vacant train stations in the region.

Tavern Lab

This project focuses on reanimating gastronomic development in local taverns.

Silent Echoes

Dachstein, where the bells of Notre-Dame de Paris are introduced to the ice caves of Dachstein.


Opening: 2 – 3 February

Bodø will host the northernmost European Capital of Culture ever, placing the title in the Arctic for the first time. The entire region of Nordland is involved in the European Capitals of Culture project, under the title “Arcticulation”.

The programme will host more than 1000 events throughout the year, making sure there is something to experience whenever visitors choose to come.

The themes of the European Capitals of Culture year are closely connected to arctic nature, the north’s place in European heritage and future international development in the region.

Highlights include:

European Cabins of Culture

This is a 21-day hike from cabin to cabin along the Swedish border, with arts and culture along the mountain path.

Biegke Beahteme (“Who owns the wind?”)

South Sámi Theatre’s trilogy about how the race for renewable energy threatens Sami culture.

The opening ceremony will take place on a floating stage in the harbour in the middle of Arctic winter. Bodø 2024 is the largest cultural project in Norway in over 10 years and the largest ever in Northern Norway.


Opening: 27 – 28 January

The theme for the Tartu European Capital of Culture year is “Arts of Survival”, and the programme is centred around creating a nature-friendly cultural city that also aims to restore trust in human closeness and show the power of Europe’s smaller cities.

More than 1000 projects will address individuals of all ages planned throughout 2024.

Highlights include:

Kissing Tartu

This project will bring a series of artistic and educational activities about love, tolerance and sexuality, leading up to a mass kissing event on the Town Hall Square.


Hidden Worlds Expanding

This brings international art to three cities in the region.

Unfit Remains

This project will host two international exhibitions focusing on endangerment and extinction, using artistic interventions to bring a closer connection to nonhuman species and cultural mitigation of climate change.

Tartu 2024 is the main event in Estonia and the largest regional cooperation project between Tartu and Southern Estonia.

The three European Capitals of Culture will also collaborate on a number of projects, highlighting the bonds that are created through the European Capitals of Culture action.

About European Capitals of Culture

In 1985, the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, started 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 involvement by city inhabitants, communities and stakeholders contributing to the long-term development of the city and its surrounding region.

Tagged in:  Creative Europe
Published:  15 Jan 2024