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In Spring 2022 Oulu Culture Foundation invited schools in the area to make their own Peace Machine Prototypes.

The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) initiative is the most important programme facet of the European Union's cultural policy.

A city is a living place, a city lives, just like a human being: it grows and changes. It ages and renews itself. Fortunately, it does not die, in most cases. And there are those who try not to undergo it, but to lead this change through culture.

Shine! - Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton Region Celebrated the Start of the European Capital of Culture Year with a Grand Opening Weekend Veszprém will hold the title of European Capital of Culture (ECoC) in 2023. Quite unusually, however, it will not be a single city's year. In fact, the honour is shared with 116 towns and villages across the Bakony-Balaton region; thus opening up exceptional opportunities for the area. Veszprém launched the ECoC year with a Grand Opening weekend on 21-22 January, and will now offer almost 3,000 cultural programmes to the public over the next 300 days.

CULTURE IS KEY TO TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

The Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture (VEB2023 ECoC) programme is in a unique position. Even when Veszprém was still just a candidate city, from the very beginning it envisaged the involvement of an entire region. The city's diverse cultural events highlight Veszprém as a centre, yet unlike other ECoC programmes, the 116 villages and towns that have officially joined the ECoC region's programme have been given a strong emphasis in the implementation. Regional thinking and a single objective have allowed the programme to highlight the rich cultural heritage, traditions and unique local values of the region.

ISSUES RAISED BY THE VEB2023 ECOC PROGRAMME

The VEB2023 ECoC programme uses culture to address such issues as overcoming seasonality, matters of cultural access down to the smallest municipalities, building local communities, bridging generation gaps, and connecting effectively with young people.

YEAR-ROUND OPPORTUNITIES FOR RECREATION

The region is characterised by a boom in tourism during the high season from May to October, but most municipalities are forced to become dormant in the off-season. However, ECoC offers residents and visitors a wide range of free activities throughout the year, making quality cultural consumption accessible to all. To this end, CultureNet Centres and Barns have been established in some of the region's municipalities, offering cultural activities for local communities throughout the year. An initiative to revitalise Veszprém’s city centre has seen several empty downtown spaces come to life, providing meeting, music, gastro-wine and recreational opportunities for locals and visitors.

VESZPRÉM, THE CITY OF MUSIC

Besides holding the ECoC title in 2023, Veszprém also holds the UNESCO - City of Music title which it was awarded in 2019 for its decades-long commitment to rich musical knowledge, all forms of music making and music education. These themes are also prioritised in the VEB2023 ECoC programme. At least one music festival will be held almost every month during the year; from blues to choral music, from popular music to the Chaconne festival, classical music, jazz and street music.

LAKE BALATON AS A PREMIER NATURAL AND CULTURAL TREASURE

The region is fortunate to have such a natural treasure as Lake Balaton. For decades, Lake Balaton has been one of the most popular destinations in Hungary and Europe. Recent years have seen a growing number of visitors drawn not just to the beaches, but also to the high quality gastronomic and cultural attractions around the lake. This has resulted in even greater attention and, in turn, greater environmental pressure on the people living around the lake and, of course, on Lake Balaton as a natural treasure and ecosystem. The BALATORIUM Project, which is part of the VEB2023 ECoC programme, is a multidisciplinary scientific-artistic project that addresses the most pressing issues related to Lake Balaton; combining science with art, and not afraid to experiment. 2 / 3 Another project at Lake Balaton is the Builder Summit, Europe's most unique [future] builder festival that will take place in the basalt quarry of Zalahaláp. Participants will jointly build the ‘Monument of Builders’ installation, which functions as a shrine to building, a sort of spiritual space and event space in harmony with its surrounding environment.

THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE

 

Although Veszprém and the region will only hold the title of European Capital of Culture for 365 days, the VEB2023 ECoC programme has several projects that will last beyond this single year. One of the important, value-creating goals of VEB2023 ECoC is to generate model venues, spaces and events for the people of Veszprém and the region which can provide a new quality to the everyday life of the professional and lay public. This will include the creation of sustainable cultural tourist attractions in Veszprém that will serve the needs of the city and its visitors for decades to come. Examples include the Digital Knowledge Centre, where school-age children can explore the digital world; Humans Behind Bars, the interactive exhibition in the castle dungeon (unique in Europe) which focusses on crime and punishment; and the FOTON Audio-Visual Centre, which will showcase a wide range of cultural programmes in the arts, including film, theatre, literature and fine arts. Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture offers nearly 3,000 programmes over 365 days of the year to visitors to the region.

 A few programme highlights:

Grand Opening – January 21-22 Blues Festival – April 13-16 Gizella Days 2023 – May 7-14 Hungarian Moving Picture Festival – June 7-10 VeszprémFest 2023 – July 12-16 Rozé, Rizling and Jazz Days – July 12-16 Veszprém Street Music Festival - July 19-22 Auer Festival – August 1-6 INOTA Festival – August 31 – September 3 BALKAN: MOST Festival – September 7-9 Balaton Wine and Gourmet – September 28 – October 1 Jazz Festival – November 16-19

On 21st January, the European Capital of Culture 2023 programme year will be launched with a grand opening ceremony to fill Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region with culture for 365 days. However, it is not only one year that the programme team is thinking about, but long-term cultural development.

On January 9th, 2023, the European Capitals of Culture of 2022 (Esch, Kaunas, Novi Sad) officially handed over their titles to the cities and regions which will be representing the European Capitals of Culture in 2023 (Timisoara, Veszprem, Eleusis).

The countdown started for the three cities that will be European capitals of culture in 2023: Veszprém (Hungary), Timisoara (Romania) and Eleusis (Greece). In fact, the dates of the opening ceremonies of the respective cultural programs have been decided.

These are days of great trepidation in Portugal. The visits of the evaluation panel to the four cities of Portugal that have entered the short list to become European Capital of Culture for 2027 start today.

Leeds 2023 Year of Culture: An epic programme of bold spectacle and hidden stories will awaken the world to Leeds’ unique creativity.

EcocNews continues the journey among the cities that are candidates for European capital of culture for 2028 in the Czech Republic. After Broumov, Brno and Liberec, today we discover the city of Budweis (České Budějovice). In 2028 it will be the third time that the Czech Republic will have a European Capital of Culture after Prague in 2000 and Plsen in 2015.

In France, many cities have decided to participate in the competition to become the European Capital of Culture in 2028 together with a city in the Czech Republic. With EcocNews also for 2028 we discover which are some of the candidate cities and how they are moving to involve citizens and to change the destiny of their cities. Also in this circumstance we asked all the French candidate cities the same questions. After Rouen, Montpellier, Clermont – Ferrand, Reims and Bastia – Corsica, today we discover Bourges.

On 10 September this year, the exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom by the world- renowned artist Yoko Ono will open at Kaunas Picture Gallery.

Braga’27, Braga’s candidacy project for the European Capital of Culture in 2027, and Braga Media Arts, UNESCO Creative City in the field of Media Arts, will inaugurate a joint exhibition at the event “Noite Branca de Braga”.

Environmental sustainability is one of the constant themes of the European capitals of culture over the last ten years. We do not know if the ecoc project has actually led to concrete results on this issue.

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