European Capitals of Culture, a European policy

Melina Mercouri, as Greek Minister of Culture, had stated that “Europe needs a Soul. Only Culture could be that Soul”. The European Capitals of Culture started with Athens in 1985. Until 2002, the Member-States would also organise Cultural Months enabling cultural contacts in the whole European Continent.

In 2000, nine cities were attributed the title of the European Capital of Culture. The interest is constantly growing. Following the new regulation, candidate cities are selected on a national level. As there is a very large number of candidacies, declarations of interest are made several years before the start of designation procedures, in which all European Institutions are involved.