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Veszprem 2023, Alíz Markovits: “Our ambitions is combatting seasonality”

By Programme Opening ceremony January 16, 2023
Veszprem Veszprem Photo by Veszprem 2023

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.

Below is an interview with Alíz Markovits, CEO of Veszprém-Balaton 2023 Jsc, included in the programme delivered to the press on the occasion of the inaugural ceremony in which EcocNews will also participate.

Typically, it is a city and not an entire region that is awarded the Ecoc title
Yes, there are only a few such examples in the history of the ECoC programme. But the fact that the municipalities are so diverse and different in terms of their character is unprecedented. Veszprém has recognized that it can only be truly successful with its surrounding region and therefore initiated closer cooperation with the Bakony-Balaton region. We are happy to see that 116 cooperating municipalities have joined the programme.

What is the potential of the Ecoc title for the city and the region?
In Hungary, after Pécs, Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region have been awarded the European Capital of Culture title. It is important to stress that the ECoC title is not only a distinction for the year and the variety of programmes organised in that period.

Our aim is to create long-term sustainable processes that go beyond 2023. For example we want to fill the historic city centre of Veszprém with vibrant life again; we have therefore launched a programme to revitalize the vacant niche businesses that can also serve as creative community spaces. Another of our ambitions is combatting seasonality.

To this end, for example, we have launched ‘Off-Season’: as the name implies, an out-ofseason contemporary literary festival. I think the ECoC programme is a great opportunity to discover the treasures of the region and make local people proud to show their values and traditions to visitors.

What programmes to expect in 2023?
We formulated as early as the application stage the challenges and ambitions to which we sought to respond through culture, and we have built our programme around this arc, which consists of the whole spectrum of culture. Music will be a major focus of the offer, as it is a priority aspect in Veszprém as UNESCO City of Music. But we are also preparing with a series of exciting topics such as gastronomy, literature, film, visual arts and sport. Due to their diversity, we have grouped the programmes that energise city and region life and may even set it on a different course into clusters, based on which of our aspirations they can address. It will certainly not be easy to browse the programmes: the VEB2023 application has been developed for precisely this reason.

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