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Belgium 2030, it will be a race with 7 cities (maybe)

Bruxelles Bruxelles Photo by EcocNews

The month of September will be very important for a number of European cities that want to win the title of European Capital of Culture. In September, in fact, the evaluation panel will have to suggest the European Capital of Culture 2029 for Poland, choosing among the four short-listed cities: Bielsko-Biała, Katowice, Kołobrzeg, Lublin. And also in September it will be known which cities in Belgium have decided to participate in the competition for European Capital of Culture in 2030.

After Mons (2015), Bruges (2002), Brussels (2000) and Antwerp (1993), it is Belgium's turn again in 2030 to nominate a European Capital of Culture.  Belgium will do this together with Cyprus and an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate country of the European Union. We hope that it will be Ukraina that nominates one of the three European Capitals of Culture for 2030 with the hope that the war will be over in the meantime.

But which cities in Belgium have decided to participate in this competition?

Ecocnews already talked about it here.  Since then, the situation has changed a little. The number of cities involved has risen from five to seven.

The one that seems weakest at the moment, at least judging by the content on the web, is the city of Liège, which seems to be stuck on declarations of intent from a few years ago and does not even seem to have a website entirely dedicated to the candidacy. But there are a few weeks to catch up. While the list of five cities that have declared their intention to apply, Brussels, Ghent, Kortrijk, Liège and Leuven has been joined by two: Bruges and Namur.

Some of these cities have been working on community involvement for some time. The city that is furthest ahead on this issue is certainly Brussels, which has found a great partner in the city of Molenbeek. Their community assemblies are giving a lot of impetus to the city's collective bid.

The two most recent arrivals also got straight down to work.

Bruges has a candidacy website and has identified what appears to be the theme of the first dossier: "We create to connect, but we must connect before we can create.We embrace 'The art of Conversation' both as a goal and a tool. We want to ensure that as many citizens of Bruges as possible get involved. The projects we launch will not only fuel conversations but will also be born out of them. This candidacy is being submitted for and by the people of Bruges, it is founded on the conversations they want to have and on the questions they want to ask and answer. People active in art and culture, residents, visitors, children, the elderly, and everyone in between. It doesn't matter whether you have grand visions or small grievances. Or whether you are an articulate speaker or someone who listens in silence. Whether you enjoy culture with a capital C or find your own unique cultural fulfilment in football, skating or frisbee. Whether you love theatre or street fairs or both. Whether you struggle with physical or mental burdens or lose yourself in worries". "Conversation, whatever form it takes, always enriches.  A cultural capital that celebrates and embodies this, is a triumph in itself.”

The city of Namur is also working hard to catch up. At the moment, it does not yet seem to have a website dedicated to the candidature, but it has already appointed the person in charge. Here is an extract from the press release of 15 February issued by the city of Namur: Thursday 15 February marks a new stage in Namur's bid to become "European Capital of Culture 2030", as the Local Council has officially appointed "Namur Europe Wallonie" (NEW) to lead this mission, as part of its role as International Relations Commissioner and Territorial Marketing Agency for Namur Capitale. To bring this ambitious initiative to fruition, NEW has hired Laura Latour as full-time Project Manager.

Laura Latour, who has significant experience in the cultural, events and entrepreneurial fields (Director of the KIKK Festival, Project Manager at TRAKK, Project Manager at the Economic Office of the Province of Namur, Visiting Professor at the HEAJ and founder of her own events and communications business), will bring to the project educational expertise and an innovative vision of the cultural projects to be developed as part of the European bid. Her appointment as Project Manager reflects the City of Namur's desire to draw on eminent skills and a multidisciplinary approach to make Namur's bid for the title of "European Capital of Culture 2030" a reality.

In the coming weeks, the picture of the cities submitting candidature dossiers will become clearer.

Deadline 2 September 2024.



Serafino Paternoster

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