Winning bid for European Capital of Culture 2024 announced on Wednesday

The Ministry of Culture in Tallinn.
The Ministry of Culture in Tallinn. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The winning bid for an Estonian city to be named European Capital of Culture 2024 will be announced at the Ministry of Culture on Wednesday, with the two cities remaining in the final round being Tartu in South Estonia and the northeastern border town of Narva.

The results of the two-year competition will be assessed and the decision announced by Beatriz Garcia, the chair of an international expert committee, Keit Kasemets, the head of the European Commission representation to Estonia, and Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas.

The title of the European Capital of Culture grants the winner additional financing for the implementation of the vision presented in the competition. The state of Estonia is to support the program with up to €10 million, an amount equal to the support granted by the corresponding local government and other resources. The European Commission will award the winner the Melina Mercouri Prize of €1.5 million.

The competition for the title of the European Capital of Culture began in November 2017. In addition to Tartu and Narva, the capital of the island of Saaremaa, Kuressaare, had also submitted its candidacy by October 2018. Following a pre-selection, Narva and Tartu were short-listed and tasked with submitting their final applications this summer.

Tartu's bid is called "Arts of Survival" and, according to the Tartu 2024 website, focuses on "the power of the arts in affecting Europe's future in three areas of life: an environmentally friendly culture with a focus on real human communication, strong communities and essential skills for living, and survival in the coming years." 

It's three main aims are: "Tartu with Earth: Ecology Before Economy", "Tartu with Humanity; Forward to the Roots", "Tartu with Europe: Greater Smaller Cities".

The bid has support from 19 other partners in the south east of the country.

Narva's bid also has several themes, which are "The End of East and West", "Untold Stories" and "Manufacturing Futures".

The Narva 2024 website explains these themes: ""The End of East and West" is the foundation of the programme, which shows that in spite of big politics, cultural and civic diplomacy have an essential role to play.

"The second pillar of the programme is called "Untold Stories", which shines a light on parts of everyday life, which tend to be overlooked by arts or culture.

"The third pillar – "Manufacturing Futures" ties culture and arts with entrepreneurship and new technologies."

This is the second time the title of the European Capital of Culture is bestowed on an Estonian city as in 2011 the Estonian capital city Tallinn held the title. Altogether three cities will hold the title in 2024 -- one from Austria, one from Estonia, and one from a member state of the European Free Trade Association or an EU candidate country or a potential candidate country.

This year, the title of European Capital of Culture is held by Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

Editor: Helen Wright

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