Yesterday in Brussels Novi Sad was declared the European Capital of Culture for 2021! After the final presentation of the project „Novi Sad 2021“, which was held yesterday in Brussels by the delegation from Novi Sad, a Panel of independent experts made a historic decision that the first city outside the EU to bear the title is Novi Sad!
The decision was made after the visit of the Panel of independent experts to Novi Sad and detailed analysis of the 112 pages long final application. In the final phase, today was held oral presentation of the candidacy by a delegation made up of artists from Novi Sad, professors, planners and curators, led by the President of the Organizing Committee of Novi Sad 2021 and the Chairman of the EXIT Foundation Board of Directors, Nemanja Milenkovic, and the Mayor of Novi Sad, Miloš Vučević.
After the project had been almost stopped last year, the candidacy of Novi Sad was entrusted to the EXIT Foundation, and Nemanja Milenkovic, President of its Board of Directors: „The title of the European Capital of Culture is of great importance for the promotion and branding of the city, completely transforming the town, not only in the cultural aspect, but also in socio-economic terms. Cities – winners in the past had multiple refunds on every euro invested in culture, which amounted to up to eight times larger inflow of money in relation to the investment.“
„The program concept of Novi Sad 2021 consists of four areas collectively named „4 new bridges.“ By winning the prestigious title of the European Capital of Culture we will build new bridges, literally, but also in terms of standards, methods, principles, and above all the values that we share with all the inhabitants of Europe,“ added Milenkovic.
„I think that at this moment a heart of every citizen of Novi Sad is full, because we all together make Novi Sad what it is, and now the whole of Europe confirms that we are a center of culture! A lot of efforts, ideas, creations, personal impressions transformed into works of art, woven into the spirit of our beautiful Novi Sad, and finally the confirmation of our excellence came from the highest level in Europe. Getting the title of European Capital of Culture opens a big new door for further development of Novi Sad and of the whole of our country, and not only in the field of culture. This title confirms that culture is a true driver of positive changes in society which in addition to the creation of non material values have repercussions on the economy. I congratulate the great team that has worked hard and was committed to the application Novi Sad 2021, all citizens of Novi Sad who were indirectly involved in that work and I sincerely thank to cultural workers who provided generous support. This is the reward for synergy, united and joint action – said the Mayor of Novi Sad, Miloš Vučević.
European Capital of Culture was established in order to highlight the richness and diversity of European culture, strengthen cultural ties among Europeans, connect people from different European countries, meet other cultures, promote mutual understanding and strengthen the sense of Europeanness.
The Chairman of the Panel of independent experts, Steve Green, during the victory ceremony, gave perhaps the best insight into how this title is important for the city:” Title of European Capital of Culture is not awarded for one year. It takes thirty years. When in 2045 you speak of Novi Sad, it will be distinguished as Novi Sad, European Capital of Culture 2021.”
Beside him, the decision on the title was also made by other members of the commission: Deputy Chairperson, Suzana Žilič Fiser and Representatives of the European Commission, Gloria Lorenzo Lerones.
The project Novi Sad 2021 is designed as a platform for the development of cultural and creative potentials of the City, which aims to strengthen the cultural vitality of the city, enable urban regeneration and improve the international reputation of the tourist offer of Novi Sad, which on the international scene has already become famous thanks to the EXIT Festival and whose rich cultural offer reached the attention of the world public and cultural tourism industry. Through the project Novi Sad 2021 the City of Novi Sad will develop its local concept and strategy of sustainable development of the cultural sector with a focus on: strengthening institutions of culture, the reconstruction of cultural heritage, strengthening cultural participation, development of cultural and creative industries, decentralization and inter-sectoral collaboration.
Novi Sad candidacy for European Capital of Culture was supported by many prominent figures from the world and European art scene, such as Rade Šerbedzija, Anica Dobra, Stefan MilenkoviĆ, Thomas Wlaschiha, Aleksandra Vrebalov and many others.