What is the European Capital of Culture?

Since 1985, the European Capital of Culture initiative has been launched

The idea of European Capitals of Culture 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. According to the European Commission, the purpose of this title is to “highlight the diversity of cultural richness in Europe and the ties that unite us as Europeans”. 

For 37 years, more than 60 European cities, ranging from metropolises to towns of 10,000 inhabitants, have been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture. Paris in 1989, Avignon in 2000, Lille in 2004 and Marseille in 2013 were named European Capitals of Culture in France. All these cities can testify to the positive impact of the bid on the cultural and economic development of European cities and entire regions. 

A european Capital of Culture is a lever ideal of social and economic transformation of the territory

Winning the title is not just a matter of international prestige; the main beneficiaries are the inhabitants of the city. It is a key to economic, social and tourist development. This makes it possible to develop cultural infrastructures, widen access to culture, improve the image of a city, and strengthen cultural industries. The title of European Capital of Culture has enabled cities to restore their image and make their inhabitants proud.

Bourges is a candidate, in competition with 3 other French cities to win the very prestigious title of European Capital of Culture in 2028! 

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A competition in several stages - the calendar

  • December 2021: start of the first round, the French candidate cities build their projects
  • January 2, 2023: submission of bid books to the Ministry of Culture
  • Week of February 27 to March 3: oral presentations before the 12 members of the European panel. Bourges will have its grand oral on February 28 at 3:45 p.m.!
  • March 3, 2023: Announcement of the finalists of the first round
  • During 2023: submission of a second bid book for the finalists and oral presentation before the European panel. The selected cities must also organize the visit of the members of the panel in their respective cities.
  • December 2023: Announcement of the French winning city European Capital of Culture in 2028 

The winning city, therefore, has 4 years to implement the projects in its application file. 

For the year 2028the european Commission has decided that the title of european Capital of Culture will be worn by both countries of the European Union: France and the Czech Republic, and a candidate country for accession to the EU: Northern Macedonia. In each of these countries, only a city with its territory will carry the title. 

In France, Bourges is in competition with the cities of Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier.