February 18, 2019

Valletta and Leeuwarden “European capitals of culture 2018”

In Leeuwarden, capital of the region of Frisia in the northern part of The Netherlands, the project called “European Cultural Capital” has been turned into a social experiment. The objective is to transform the city into the most open-minded community (“iepen mienskip” in the regional Frisian language) possible by means of art and culture. Themes like sustainability, diversity and social justice will be addressed in numerous exhibits, workshops and performances. 

Leeuwarden will give the downbeat to its cultural capital year rather quietly, with a concert by a children’s choir and free admission to museums. Malta, for its part, has opted for a big, week-long opening party. Organizers have announced a “festa” a traditional island festival with music, dance and street art. Not stopping at Malta’s beautiful beaches, the party will continue on to the neighbouring island of Gozo. The popular tourist destination is part of the state of Malta.

Despite its relatively modest budget, the Maltese cultural calendar is full, with 140 projects and 400 events planned for the entire year in and around Valletta. The “European Year of Cultural Heritage” 2018 will also be observed in Malta, with “the unique heritage of the Maltese islands” celebrated in Valletta.

With the Greek capital Athens chosen as the first “European Cultural Capital” in 1985, the institution was initiated by the former Greek cultural minister Melina Mercouri to raise awareness of the unique cultural features of various European cities. Subsidized by the EU, the project has become a catalyst for urban development and tourism.

In 2019 the selected cities are Matera, Italy as well as Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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Valletta – Picture by Waldominguez


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