Budweis for European Capital of Culture 2028
In 2028, the Czech Republic will be hosting the prestigious event for the European Capital of Culture title. Which city will win? It could be Budweis! How will we do it? What would winning bring to the city? How can you help?
The idea of European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) dates back to 1985, when the Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri presented her vision of cultural cooperation between European countries to the European Council. The establishment of the European Capitals of Culture initiative was a turning point in the perception of culture as a link between European countries. The title is now helping the cultural and economic development of European cities and entire regions.
More than 60 European cities, ranging from metropolises to towns of ten thousand, have already been awarded the title of ECoC. Prague (2000), Pilsen (2015) and our twin city Linz (2009) have also been awarded the title. This year, our Slovakian partner city Nitra narrowly missed out on the title for 2026 (congratulations to Trencin). All of these cities can attest to the positive impact of the candidacy on the cultural and economic development of the city. It will be our pleasure to join these cities.
European Capitals of Culture have long been more than just metropolises
Winning the title is not just a matter of international prestige; the main beneficiaries are the city's inhabitants. Originally, the European Capital of Culture was chosen on the basis of the city's history and the richness of its cultural offer. Nowadays, the award of the title is more of an incentive for cultural development and structural change in the city.
The size of cities and their budgets are not the decisive factor; it is no longer just metropolises that get awarded the title. What matters is the potential for development of cultural and creative industries, international cooperation and the participation of the citizens themselves. Therefore, those who have changes to make have an advantage.
An important argument for submitting an application is that the preparation of the application is already a significant accelerator for the cultural development of the city. A sophisticated long-term cultural strategy is a prerequisite for the application. Some cities have been able to benefit from it for years after the candidacy, often without winning the title itself. Preparing an application and a cultural strategy is certainly not a wasted investment.
Can Budweis become a European city of culture?
It certainly can! And we have a better chance than you might think. We are certain that one of the Czech cities will be winning this title for 2028. We know our competitors - Brno, Liberec and Broumov. Each city has something to offer. We believe it will be a fair fight. The outcome will be decided by an independent international jury in 2023, and the city plans to submit its candidacy application for the first of two rounds of evaluation this fall.
What can candidacy bring?
Candidacy for the ECoC has a logical economic justification in terms of increased numbers of visitors, increased revenues and levies, etc. However, the primary goal of the candidacy should not be economic gain, but a fundamental and long-term transformation of the city's cultural policy, improvement of cultural infrastructure, overall improvement of the environment for the development of cultural and creative industries with an overlap into education or social services.
The candidacy for the ECoC title is a great opportunity for Budweis to face the most current challenges of the 21st century. As a rule, European Capitals of Culture perceive culture in its broadest context of city life, care for public space, the environment and above all for its citizens.
What needs to be done?
The preparation of the candidacy application and the city's cultural strategy, which is a necessary component, has been intensively worked on since May 2021, when the city council approved the candidacy. The South Bohemian Region has also supported it in this effort. The basis for success is a broad cooperation with all cultural actors and entrepreneurs in the region, involving the widest possible range of the public. We want to win the title of European Capital of Culture primarily for the people of Budweis.
The candidacy comes at the right time in the case of Budweis, especially with regard to the planned investment in cultural infrastructure. After many years, it is probably the closest to its realization, e.g:
- Reconstruction of Slavia or the House of Arts.
- The City and water study, according to which the Budweis City Hall is preparing the transformation of the embankments and the rivers surroundings.
- An architectural competition for the revitalization of Senovážné Square with the possibility of a new gallery building for the Alš South Bohemian Gallery to be announced in 2021.
- Háječek is also undergoing a transformation.
- At the same time, alternative community spaces such as Žižkárna are being created.
The city has a relatively stable and broad cultural community, and a high number of organizers and entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries. Their work and talent can be showcased by the European Capital of Culture project across the country and throughout Europe. Moreover, the candidacy can be a much needed boost in the difficult current situation where culture and social life are dealing with the consequences of a pandemic.
The competition for the title of European Capital of Culture is undoubtedly a great challenge.
But we are not afraid of it. Thanks to you!
In the following sections of the website you can read more about the process of developing the cultural strategy, we will answer the most frequently asked questions, guide you through the cultural program and offer opportunities to get involved in the preparation of the candidacy.