What is European Capital of Culture
The European Capital of Culture was established to emphasise richness and diversity of European cultures, strengthen bonds between citizens of Europe, connect people from different European countries, learn about other cultures, promote mutual understanding and strengthen the sense of Europeanness.
The most important legacy of the project is to put culture in the very centre of social development and redefine culture as a key for economic development based on knowledge, innovation and creativity.
Many capitals of culture took the opportunity to develop cultural infrastructure during and after the project, provide wider access to culture, improve the image of a city, develop the tourism economy and strengthen cultural and creative industries.
European Capital of Culture dates back to 1985
In 1985, Melina Mercouri, Greek Minister of Culture, and Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture, had an idea of choosing the European Capital of Culture once a year, intending to connect people in Europe and raise awareness of common history and values. The same year, the project was launched by the EU Ministers of Culture resolution. This initiative soon became one of the most prestigious events in Europe. Since then, more than 40 European cities have borne the title of European Capital of Culture. Each year, the selected cities are examples of the richness and diversity of European cultures.
Novi Sad holds the title of European Capital of Culture in 2022
Novi Sad is among the first cities outside the European Union to be declared the European Capital of Culture and thus became one of the 60 cities that took this title, fostering the richness of diversity and interculturalism.
The main idea of the ‘4 New Bridges’ programme narrative aims to leave Novi Sad firm legacies that improve the cultural life of the city: new programmes, new processes, involved people (citizens, cultural institutions, associations, organisations, artists) and new spaces for culture. That is exactly why the vision of the project is: ‘The Beginning of New. Now!’
At the end of 2020, on 23 December, the official decision of the European Commission was made to postpone the title year for 2022 due to the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The decision came into force on 1 January 2021, and Novi Sad joined Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), as the European Capital of Culture in 2022.
The opening ceremony of the title year was held on 13 January 2022 within Doček, one of the most important legacy projects. Doček celebrates two New Years, two calendars, two time calculations through visual and performing arts and thus celebrates the interculturality characteristic of Novi Sad, at a time when different ethnic communities celebrate their holidays in the city. Exactly 352 days later, also within Doček, Novi Sad will symbolically close the title year on 31 December, 2022.
Independent Experts commendations
The comments and assessments of others, both experts and citizens, speak best about the implementation success of the European Capital of Culture project in Novi Sad.
Independent experts of the European Commission, after a regular one-year report in 2019, ranked Novi Sad among the best European Capitals of Culture in the preparation phase.
Commendations also came from the evaluation team composed of independent experts, professors from the University of Novi Sad, whose research shows that more than 80 percent of citizens have a positive attitude about the title, development of cultural offer in the city, decentralisation of culture, citizen involvement and tourism development.
Novi Sad is the first city in Serbia and one of the few in the region whose almost all cultural institutions have a five-year work strategy, on which several hundred cultural employees and experts on cultural policy issues worked for a year.