The chairperson of the European Capitals of Culture Expert panel announced on 7 December 2022 that the city of Évora has been recommended for the European Capital of Culture 2027 title in Portugal.
A panel of independent experts assessing applications from 4 short-listed Portuguese cities recommended Évora following a three-day meeting.
Vagar, of slow living philosophy
Évora is the historic capital of the Alentejo region in Southern Portugal. Their concept for the European Capital of Culture year is based on “Vagar", reflecting a way of living and a strong element in the region’s intangible heritage, and the urgent need for Europe and Europeans to transit to a “slow living philosophy”.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
After Lisbon in 1994, Porto in 2001 and Guimarães in 2012, Évora will be the fourth city in Portugal to host the European Capital of Culture title in 2027. This is a unique opportunity for a city and its surrounding area 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.
European Capitals of Culture are an illustration of the EU’s willingness to create a union gathering people around cherished common values, such as freedom of speech, rule of law, democracy and peace.
I hope that Évora will reap all the long-term cultural, economic and social benefits that the European Capital of Culture can bring.
The selection process for the Portuguese city in 2027
In accordance with the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council that governs the European Capitals of Culture action, there will be two European Capitals of Culture in 2027: one in Portugal and one in Latvia.
Regarding the competition in Portugal, the relevant Portuguese authorities invited applications from interested cities in November 2020.
Twelve cities submitted applications by the deadline of 23 November 2021: Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Funchal, Guarda, Leiria, Oeiras, Viana do Castelo, Ponta Delgada and Vila Real.
The pre-selection meeting took place on 8-11 March 2022 and four cities were short-listed: Aveiro, Braga, Évora and Ponta Delgada. They were given until 21 October 2022 to complete their applications
The final selection meeting takes place on 5-7 December 2022.
A panel of independent experts examine the applications. 2 of the experts are appointed by the relevant national authorities and the remainder 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
Each year, two to three cities hold the title of European Capital of Culture. Alongside Évora, the city of Liepaja in Latvia will also hold the title in 2027.
The three European Capitals of Culture 2022 are Kaunas (Lithuania), Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) and Novi Sad (Serbia).
Other upcoming European Capitals of Culture are:
- 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) in 2026.
Started in 1985, European Capitals of Culture 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.