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Trencin (Sk) is the second 2026 ecoc: Cultivating curiosity

Trencin Trencin

With a Bidbook entitled "Cultivating curiosity" the Slovak city of Trencin has won the title of European capital of culture for 2026. EcocNews is very proud of this result because it is a partner of Trencin2026. Trencin will share the title of European Capital of Culture with the Finnish city of Oulu in 2026.

Below is the introduction of the Bidbook. At the end of the text the link to the Trencin2026 website where it is possible to consult the entire Bidbook.

“The concept of Cultivating Curiosity has remained true to the original vision.

It has become embedded as a shared philosophy across Trenčín and our European partners. The concept has been meticulously elaborated, developed, and shared with hundreds of stakeholders throughout the city, region and Europe.

This bid shows the dedication and comprehensive vision to fulfill the potential of Trenčín 2026. Over these months we ourselves have experienced growth, cultivated our own curiosity, navigated new journeys of discovery, and developed relationships through rewarding dialogues and collaborations.

Cultivating an inquisitive mindset introduced new approaches and positive perspectives into the Trenčín 2026 transformational process. We feel very grateful for the privilege and responsibility of embracing the challenge of bidding to be European Capital of Culture. 

Cultivating Curiosity is our universal catalyst for cultural change. Through culture we aim to generate genuine care and responsibility, interest and empathy for the world around us. Curiosity is an essential tool for Europe, stimulating the first steps to mutual understanding and promoting creative solidarity.

Europe has many cities just like Trenčín, searching for sustainable well-being. Insightful collective conversations have cast a light on themes of knowledge deficit, denial, and individualism over solidarity that are experienced through everyday life, including the widened opinion divide during the pandemic. Cultivating Curiosity is our tool to address the urgent need to promote critical yet constructive thinking - a new approach to confronting our fears, dealing with problems, and promoting mutual connections with empathy and collaboratively.

Our concept has been discussed and adopted by partners and artists from 50 European and global countries - and they’re excited to continue growing the collaboration. Communication with hundreds of new international partners has been a key experience and gateway into becoming part of a dynamic cultural European network.

We worked towards achieving a geographical balance of programme partnerships, as reflected in a diverse range of artistic input from every European country and beyond. . We view ECoC as an opportunity to transform fleeting encounters into durable bonds, toward the co-creation of an authentic new cultural identity for the green city and region of Trenčín.

The unique urban development project TRENČÍN si TY had supported the principle of ecology before economy since 2011 and developed the city's urbanism. Trenčín’s identity has been historically shaped by alternative music, the textile and fashion industry, a beautiful hilltop castle, and a military heritage. Together we will recontextualize, explore, understand and improve through the medium and tools of contemporary culture.

Through common goals, we have developed more solid and profound relationships with the wider European region and initiated cross-border synergy with the Czech city of Zlín. The Self-governing Region of Trenčín fully supports our bid with great enthusiasm for what Cultivating Curiosity represents. While establishing our regional partnerships, we have connected all seventeen regional municipalities and nearby Piešťany town through themes such as modernist architecture, the textile and shoe industry, and thermal springs.

We have been further developing cultural collaborations with military communities in the city via our Cultural Ambassadors programme that stimulated negotiations with the Ministry of Defense to bring quality and diverse cultural offerings to the biggest cultural building in the city, the House of Army (ODA). 

During the candidacy period, we have been challenging the status quo and collectively bringing a breath of fresh air, lofty ambitions, and the courage to dream about what our city and Europe could become. Trenčín has already demonstrated its drive towards stimulating cultural change, with eight successful pilots from the Trenčín 2026 programme organized and supported by our citizens.

These include the city’s biggest ever participative artistic project Saturday on Sunday (p. 72), and the Garage youth-oriented capacity building project (p. 46). We envision Trenčín contributing to Europe with a new universal lifestyle approach with built-in capacity for global cooperation. We are advancing a locally-relevant, globally-coherent, and enticingly-feasible cultural proposal.

The title of European Capital of Culture would be a catalyst for Trenčín to become a key cultural hub that brings together sustainable solutions, creative industries, inclusive communities, prototype designs, and innovative minds in both urban and rural settings.

Cultivating Curiosity is a truly shared vision that will move us towards achieving one common goal: to recover the social fabric challenged by the political past, the pandemic present, and the climate future. We simply aspire to inspire our collective better tomorrows by asking questions and seeking solutions today: Cultivating Curiosity by caring to know and daring to do”.

The bidbook here.

Editorial staff

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