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Galway, Rijeka start as European Capitals of Culture

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Galway, Rijeka start as European Capitals of Culture

Galway - Photo Eoin Gardiner

(BRUSSELS) - The city of Rijeka in current EU president Croatia and Galway in Ireland began their joint one year tenure of the title of European Capital of Culture on Wednesday 1 January 2020.

"A successful Capital of Culture is inclusive and meaningful to its citizens," said Culture Commissioner Mariya Gabriel: "It is also open to the world, illustrating our Union's willingness to promote culture as a driver for peace and mutual understanding worldwide whilst bringing long-lasting socio-economic benefits to its region."

Rijeka is the first Croatian European Capital of Culture bringing it international visibility, which will extend to the rest of the Western Balkan region. 'Port of Diversity' will be the motto, with hundreds of projects among 250 partners from 40 countries. Rijeka's cultural programme focuses on the themes of water, work and migration, connected to its identity, but also current issues in the wider world. The opening exhibition will feature Rijeka's famous artist, David Maljkovic, with other highlights including 'The Sea is Glowing' exhibition; a world music and gastronomy festival - 'Porto Etno'; and new permanent installations of contemporary art on the coastline. Opening celebrations will take place on 1-2 February 2020.

Galway is the third city in Ireland to hold the European Capital of Culture title (after Dublin in 1991 and Cork in 2005). Galway's cultural programme motto is 'Let the Magic In', exploring quintessential local themes of language, landscape and migration - with a European and universal relevance and resonance. The 'Hope it rains' theme will use Galway weather as a source of creativity; while other highlights include a celebration of world literature - with a dramatic interpretation of the world's oldest surviving literary epic, the story of Gilgamesh; and excerpts from Homer's Odyssey, read on Galway beaches. Meanwhile, new installations will celebrate the beauty of Connemara and County Galway. Galway 2020 will begin in February 2020, at the start of Imbolc - the first Celtic season in Ireland's ancient, pre-Christian calendar.

Cities for Europe's high-profile cultural initiative are selected based on a cultural programme that must have a strong European dimension - promoting participation and active involvement by city inhabitants, communities and various stakeholders; and it must contribute to the long-term development of the city and its surrounding region.

Holding the title of European Capital of Culture gives cities the chance to boost their image, put themselves on the world map, promote sustainable tourism and rethink their development through culture. The title has a long-term impact, not only on culture but also in social and economic terms, both for the city and the region.

Rijeka 2020 - European Capital of Culture

Galway 2020 - European Capital of Culture


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