The conference held in Chateau ‘Eđšeg’, which symbolically presented joining of two teams (Novi Sad 2021 and OPENS 2018), presented application for the ECoC in 2021 and announced OPENS Day which was on 16 October. The conference was opened by Miloš Vučević Mayor of Novi Sad together with Vanja Vučenović City Council member in charge of culture. Besides them Nemanja Milenković Chairperson of the Organisation Board for the implementation of initiatives for the candidacy of Novi Sad for the ECoC in 2021 and Momčilo Bajac head of the team responsible for the application project of Novi Sad 2021 also addressed the audience.
– Together and united we will face all challenges to make our city the European Capital of Culture in 2021. This process included all institutions, public sector, non-governmental sector and the various levels of government to promote the culture of Novi Sad in the best possible way. As a modern, Central European city, a city of hard-working and respectful people, a city with manners, a city of future, Novi Sad has something to offer. By many standards Novi Sad is the best city for life in the country and one of the best tourist destinations in this part of Europe and it is witnessing a constant increase in the number of domestic and foreign tourists. Every year we have an increase in birth rate, the influx of population, and in addition to being an university city we have a unique spirit, energy and charm. I am convinced that the rebranding of the city and the establishment of the true image of Novi Sad as an excellent candidate for the ECoC in 2021 and for the European Capital of Youth in 2018 will have an impact on the promotion of the entire country and the region. I am an optimist and I am proud of my team and the fact that we have separated this whole bidding process from daily politics and that we have included the non-governmental sector and professional people from all walks of life. On 23 October the day on which we commemorate 71 years since the liberation of the city, we will symbolically submit our application. The fact that we were supported by a number of European cities means that others see Novi Sad as a serious candidate and recognise our quality – said Mayor Miloš Vučević and thanked all those who worked on this project as well as the media for their support.
Vanja Vučenović City Council member in charge of culture said he is very proud because the team for the candidacy for the ECoC in 2021 has come to an end of an important process, and to an end of the first phase which is crucial for the further journey towards this prestigious title.
– None of this would be possible if there wasn’t primarily faith and effort of the Mayor Vučević who was actively and personally involved in the whole process from the first day. This title is essential not only for Novi Sad, but also for the entire country and I believe it will contribute to the development of the entire cultural sector in our country. We were lucky that from the beginning we had a team who has been actively working on the application and on the preparation for the candidacy. We showed that we are serious and determined to make an application that no one in Novi Sad will be ashamed of and that will be an example to potential cities who aspire to bid for this title in the future. Of course the thing that is particularly thrilling and that makes a difference in relation to all of ours predecessors is that we had enough determination to depoliticise the expert work on this project. I would like to thank to the entire cultural public of the City of Novi Sad which recognised the importance of this project and it actively participated in all the details related to the candidacy, because this is project for the entire city and for all citizens – said Vanja Vučenović and pointed out that the title of the ECoC would enable the overall cultural, economic and business development of Novi Sad.
Nemanja Milenković, Chairperson of the Organisation Board for the implementation of initiatives for the candidacy of Novi Sad 2021 and head of the project Youth Capital of Europe OPENS 2018, also stressed the unity. He said that obtaining these two prestigious titles would mean that Novi Sad could be what it deserves to be.
– I believe that informally Novi Sad is capital of culture as well as youth capital of Europe and I expect to confirm this formally. In this kind of competition we have to fight and win. We have initiated a number of processes in youth organisations and cultural policy of the city and through these two stories we still can do so much for our city – said Mr Milenković. At a press conference he announced OPENS Day which will take place on 16 October and which symbolically represents the opening of the Youth Creative Polis in the so-called Chinese Quarter in Novi Sad.
– OPENS Day actually serves as a visualisation of how we want Chinese Quarter to look in the future. It has its own charm and it is a great location near the Danube and the campus, Štrand beach and Liman Park. Surely we have to revitalise those objects which have their value and to bring in a new and creative principle through new architecture that would carry the story of Youth Creative Polis and creative industries – said Mr Milenković.
Momčilo Bajac head of the team responsible for the application of the project of Novi Sad 2021 presented parts of the application with which Novi Sad will bid for the European Capital of Culture. He pointed out that the expert team presented a vision of the city in four cultural tours through Novi Sad – Bastion of Creativity, Youth Creative Polis, Danube Blues and Vojvodina on the Palm of a Hand. In this way the visitors will be able to set off on the adventure through Novi Sad with the help of modern information technology, so they could create their own image of the city. He directed everyone who is interested to visit two internet portals www.novisad2021.rs and www.kulttura.rs.