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Aarhus and Pafos are 2017 European Capitals of Culture

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Aarhus and Pafos are 2017 European Capitals of Culture

Aarhus - Photo by Stan Shebs

(BRUSSELS) - The Danish and Cypriot cities of Aarhus and Pafos will hold the title of European Capital of Culture - one of the most popular EU projects for the year 2017.

The cultural programme officially begins on 21 January in Aarhus. The opening ceremony for Pafos 2017 is on 28 January. The programmes for both cities showcase centuries of culture while using different art forms to address the socio-economic problems facing Europe today.

'Rethink' is the central theme of Aarhus 2017. The Danish city will show how arts, culture and the creative sector can help us to re-think and shape our basic social, urban, cultural and economic patterns of behaviour and find new solutions to common challenges. A rooftop Viking saga performance, an art exhibition stretching across the city and the coastline, a "Creativity World Forum" and an international children's literary festival are just some of the many events which will bridge the past with creative ideas for the present and future.

Aarhus 2017 launches its cultural programme with children at the heart of the celebrations. Hundreds of children from the Central Denmark region will gather in Aarhus to imagine the future in a series of events entitled "Land of Wishes". As night falls during the opening ceremony, a spectacular show filled with pageantry, Viking spirits and gods in the sky will mark the start of the city's year as European Capital of Culture.

'Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures' is the common thread running through hundreds of events organised by Pafos 2017. The first Cypriot city to host a European Capital of Culture embraces its experiences of multiculturalism and its geographical proximity to the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen relations between countries and cultures. Pafos is set to become an immense open stage, an 'Open Air Factory', where a tradition of thousands of years of cultural life in open spaces meets contemporary ways of creating, thinking and living.

The opening ceremony for Pafos 2017 is inspired by one of the themes for the year's cultural programme: 'Myth and Religion'. New life will be given to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea and other narratives from the history of Pafos in a unique spectacle of music and dance. During the opening weekend on 28-29 January, the city will be converted into an Open Air Factory with numerous shows and artistic performances.

In 2016, Wroclaw in Poland and San Sebastian in Spain were European Capitals of Culture. Following Aarhus and Pafos in 2017, the future European Capitals of Culture will be Valletta (Malta) and Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in 2018, Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) in 2019 and Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) in 2020. Timisoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country) were recently recommended to become the three European Capitals of Culture 2021 and are awaiting their official nomination by the relevant authorities.

Aarhus 2017 - European Capital of Culture

Pafos 2017 - European Capital of Culture

European Capitals of Culture - Factsheet

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