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A Journey to the capitals of tomorrow: Veszprém 2023

Veszprém Veszprém Photo by Mahl Kornel

We asked managers of the European capitals of culture from 2022 to 2025, five same questions to understand their expectations in a clear and concise way. Each interview is preceded by a fact sheet on that European capital of culture. The format is the same for all. At the end of the series of interviews we will try to make a synthesis of objectives, trends, expectations by the Ecocs. After Novi Sad 2022, Esch2022 and Kaunas2022 today we talk about Veszprem, European Capital of culture 2023.

Veszprém (60,000 inhabitants) is one of the oldest urban areas in Hungary, and a city with county rights. It lies approximately 15 km north of the Lake Balaton.

The historic centre of Veszprém is the castle, which - together with the surrounding town - was one of the significant centre of our country until the Turkish occupation: it was the King’s and Queen’s seat and an episcopal seat. The medieval castle and town suffered large-scale destruction in the Turkish period. The present-day historic town evolved during the town development constructions of the 18-19 th and the early 20 th century. 

The name of his bidbook is: Beyond. They wish to invite their fellow citizens to go beyond, on both a personal and a community level; to shake off their inhibitions and self-imposed limitations and become more involved in the creative, cultural and community activities of the city. They want to invite all citizens to go beyond their provincial mind-set and to stop seeing Veszprém, the Balaton and the various towns and villages that belong to the region as separate entities, but as bound together in what is already a strong and contiguous European cultural space.

Transferring their concept and their objectives into concrete action, they have named the main axes of their artistic programme accordingly, as follows: BEYOND OUR TRACKS – changing the future of the city through creativity and culture BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES – regional co-operation instead of simple coexistence BEYOND THE BUZZ – exploring and embracing other narratives BEYOND CHARM AND ISOLATION – finding rural stepping stones

The interview is with Alíz Markovits, CEO Veszprém-Balaton 2023 JSc.

Why did the city decide to run for the European Capital of Culture title?

It is clear to me that Veszprém and the region truly deserves the title of ECoC. Veszprém is a small city in the heart of the Bakony-Balaton region in Hungary. With the title we want to prove that a small city can live a life where being a Veszprémer, a Balatoner, and a European citizen are fundamentally intertwined. We hope that a successful 2023 will help us to become an exciting destination, a new cultural-creative hub within Europe.

What changes are expected for the reference community?

The ECoC will also have cultural, social and economic implications. In terms of a cultural and social impact we hope for increasing cultural consumption, especially among groups that are currently passive: sharing the ECoC experience will bring people together. In terms of an economic impact the region may become a round-the-year tourism destination and Veszprém might be a new hub for creative industries, making the economy less vulnerable.

What are the three keywords of your cultural program?

Sustainability, community building, and innovation

What are the main citizen involvement activities?

Building a volunteer network is the most important element of community involvement.  With our microgrant program we want to sensitize the population of the region and involve them in the ECoC project.

What do you want to see remain after the tenure year?

We would like to see the processes we have launched continue to work after 2023, the institutions we have brought to life functioning in a sustainable way. We hope that the local communities will grow stronger and we also expect a kind of change of attitude in the region.

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.

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