Tartu 2024 Capital of Culture to cost €24.5 million over five years

Tartu 2024.
Tartu 2024. Source: Tartu 2024

The Tartu 2024 Foundation, which is organizing the city's year as European Capital of Culture (ECOC), has a total budget of €24.5 million, spread out over a five-year period. Most of the foundation's budget will be spent on setting up and marketing the events that will take place during Tartu's ECOC year in 2024.

In 2017, when Tartu and the municipalities of South Estonia began preparing their bid to become European Capital of Culture (ECOC) bid, the budget for the preparation and implementation of the ECOC was set.

Tartu 2024 Foundation board member Kuldar Leis said, that the foundations' total budget for a period of five years is €24.5 million. The biggest contributors are the Estonian state, via the Ministry of Culture, which will give the foundation €10 million, and the City of Tartu, which will also contribute €10 million.

"The City of Tartu will contribute €10 million from its own budget. Up to now, €4.6 million has already been spent (2020-2023), there will be €4.4 million next year, 2024, and then another €1 million for follow-up activities in 2025-2026," said Tartu Deputy Mayor Meelis Leidt.

The amount of state support earmarked for next year is still yet to be transferred to the foundation. Part of this state support will be channeled to smaller municipalities.

"The funding model is based on the principle that however much the municipalities themselves put in, that same amount of money will also come from us, or the state. In other words, the smaller municipalities receive double funding," said Leis.

The remaining €4.5 million is made up of funds from various grants. Leis explained that, over the five-year period, a total of €1.5 million will have come from local municipal authorities, of which there are 19. The other €1.5 million will need to be found by the foundation itself through projects from a combination of E.U. and Estonian grant schemes.

"The third €1.5 million will then come from the private sector, and will have to be found in the same way via our foundation. These are the partners from the private sector who will support us during these years," Leis said.

In theory, another €1.5 million could also be added to the total budget next year from the Melina Mercouri Foundation.

"Those Capitals of Culture, which meet their targets and are able to prove it in their reports will be eligible to receive €1.5 million directly from the European Union during their Capital of Culture year in the form of the Melina Mercouri Prize. We are definitely moving in that direction," said Leis.

The majority of the foundation's budget will be spent on setting up the program for the ECOC year, as well as marketing it. The program is due to cost somewhere in the region of €16 million over five years with an additional €6 million spent on marketing. Leis said, that the budget has been affected by inflation, meaning the earmarked funds will need to be carefully managed.

"We need to make the most of it to make [Tartu] a good European Capital of Culture and everyone on our team knows that. If something is going to cost more for somebody, then there are different options, either to do some things a bit smaller, or find funding for the event from elsewhere."

The full program for Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture is set to be unveiled on October 19 at Aparaaditehas in Tartu. The opening ceremony of the ECOC year will take place on the banks of the city's Emajõgi River on January 26, 2024.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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