New European Capitals for the Culture

As we enter the year 2010, the new European Capitals of Culture – Essen for the Ruhr in Germany, Pécs in Hungary and Istanbul in Turkey – will officially start a year of music, theatre, dance, film and literature events for local residents and visitors . Essen/Ruhr will hold its opening ceremony for the European Capital of Culture 2010 on the 9 and 10 January, Pécs on the 10th, and Istanbul on the 16th.

In the city of Essen and the Ruhr region a huge cultural festival for all residents of the Ruhr metropolis will start on the evening of 9 January, at the Zollverein World Cultural Heritage site in Essen. This follows the official opening ceremony, which will be broadcast live on German TV.

In Pécs, the official opening of the European Capital of Culture 2010 will offer 24 hours of ongoing attractions in public spaces of the city, including carnival and theatrical programs, interactive walls, projections at several different places in the city, painting by light in the evening etc.

In Istanbul, the official opening ceremony will be on the 16th of January and numerous events are already taking place in January, as visual arts, animation, educative activities, symposium, literature and music events.


The draft European Capital of Culture was launched in 1985 with the aim of contributing to closer ties between the peoples of Europe, and the first European City of Culture was Athens. In 1999 the European City of Culture was renamed the European Capital of Culture and nowadays it is funded by the EU Culture.

The Council of Ministers of the EU nominates two European Capitals of Culture every year. Exceptionally, there will be three in 2010. The choice follows a selection process based on strict criteria relating to the European dimension of the event and the participation of its local citizens.

The European Capital of Culture nominations are a golden opportunity to show off Europe's cultural richness and diversity, and all the ties which link us together as Europeans. The event is so attractive that Europe's cities vie fiercely with each other for the honour of bearing the title.