“The idea is to know each other better, to talk about culture and exchange. We have a cultural past and a cultural future. The whole of Europe should be united. Culture is one of the strongest potencies for peace.”
Melina Mercouri | Actor, politician, ECoC founder
Thank you, Melina! Thank you, for creating this amazing opportunity and thank you for creating it in such a smart way. We are thrilled to take part in bidding and we had a very challenging, rewarding and incredibly eye-opening time delivering this book. The culture of Trenčín really needed this wake-up call. It was one incredible source of hope while fighting a global pandemic. During this process we were able to create a parallel, better universe. You allowed us to visualise a better future.
What is the European Capital of Culture all about? The idea of this format is really simple. Each year, two cities in two countries (one older member state and one new within the EU) get the chance to become the European Capital of Culture. Culture, however, does not mean only the artistic program and events, but also the overall quality of life, a view of the European values, ecology, culture, and active public life.
What process is underway right now?
Currently, the Trenčín 2026 team is in the process of writing the project and the so-called Bid Book (you can read its first version, with which the team has advanced on the second round here). More than 100 people are currently working on the document, along with the team, city staff, artists, consultants and experts in various fields. The winning city for 2026 will be selected in December 2021 and will be either Trenčín, Nitra or Žilina. The Bid Book must have up to 100 pages in the second round and must answer more than 40 questions in terms of the project's contribution to the long-term strategy, concept of artistic and cultural projects for 2026, the European dimension of the project, citizen involvement in planning and implementation for 2026, finance and financial budget, marketing and promotion but also whether the city has the ability to realize what it has planned.
According to which rules the winner is selected?
The interesting thing about choosing a winning city is that it does not depend so much at what is currently in a given city, but rather at how the city can change through the project. A 13-member jury composed of experts on various topics will select the winner according to the submitted Bid Book and oral defense. The jurors also plan to visit the places to check if what is written in the project is really in the city.
What should happen in 2026 if Trenčín wins?
Thanks to the proposals written in Bid Book, a rich cultural program full of exhibitions, concerts, community events, multi-genre festivals, and art from all disciplines is created for the whole year. The city comes alive with culture, revitalizes, and gets its mark on the European cultural map. The program aims to stengthen the European identity and values, to explore the rich cultural heritage of each member state, and to promote unity among them.
Over the last 37 years and thanks to this program, dozens of cities were able to kick-start and strengthen their cultural scene, communities, improve their infrastructure, increase their urban potential and in particular, present their plans and visions to the general population beyond their state borders. Let us become another city that will grow and prosper thanks to the ECoC.