On January 9, the title ceremony of the European Capital of Culture 2023 was held in Athens, where “City of QueensVeszprém won the award alongside Timişoara (Romania, Timişoara) and Elefsina (Greece).
The European Capital of Culture program was founded more than 30 years ago by the well-known Greek singer and former Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. The initiative, adopted by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, aims to highlight the cultural richness and diversity of European cities, enhancing their growth and development by promoting regional projects and increasing the attractiveness of local tourism. The picturesque, historic town of Veszprém worked hard for years to win the coveted title, which has now finally been achieved.
The organizers of EKF 2023 could not have chosen a more suitable venue for the large-scale event than the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the cradle of culture. The ceremony was opened by Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, who in his speech briefly introduced the new holders of the EKF title and paid tribute to the rich past and spa culture of Veszprém and the city’s surrounding area. After the welcoming words of Mr. Schinas, the representatives of the EKF cities leaving in 2022, Esch / Alzette (Luxembourg), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Novi Sad (Serbia), indicated how much progress they had made over the previous year thanks to the opportunities offered by the EKF program and reassured the newcomers. for their unconditional support.
Friderika Mike, Program Development Manager for Veszprém-Balaton 2023 Zrt. , on stage for the first time on behalf of the ancient cities. The director spoke about what this prestigious title means to Veszprém. In his speech, he emphasized that in addition to the city, 115 settlements in the Bakuni-Balaton region also participate in their program, who work together for a common goal, which is to have a cultural leadership role. He touched on the challenges facing rural settlements particularly affected by the pandemic, the scarcity of initiatives, and the tendency of the Hungarian countryside to be unfairly ignored with regard to international tourism. He emphasized that the future of each city depends to a large extent on the resilience of the surrounding region, and this statement is also true, because the future of the region depends on the economic and cultural growth of the regional centers.
Then Mrs. Mike said a few words about the Veszprém − Balaton 2023 logo, shine on! added:
“Since the beginning, we have set ourselves the ambitious goal of becoming the first rural creative district in Hungary, defining the importance of creativity and creativity in rural contexts, not only in relation to the Hungarian countryside, but also to the European countryside.”
Ms. Mike revealed that they see the title of EKF 2023 as a cultural scholarship, during which they get a chance to represent themselves in front of the whole of Europe and gain valuable recognition. During the EKF year, title recipients are enriched with lifelong experiences. Their hard work is evident not only in immediate positive developments, but also in spurring the recovery that will take place in the decades to come. He emphasized that the EKF title is not only a goal to be achieved, but essentially a tool with which title holders can positively shape the future of their cities.
The Veszprém-Balaton 2023 program is brilliance! It bears a logo that represents the dialogue between the citizens, artists, wine producers and farmers who make up the local community, who form a kind of extended family. Over the next year, the city will host many exciting cultural events in the fields of visual arts, music and film. Referring to history, he mentioned that Veszprém was already awarded the title City of Music by UNESCO in 2019, when artistic initiatives were organized that appealed to audiences of all ages. For example, the InterUrban event, which will be held on January 20, begins in parallel with the grand opening. InterUrban brings great tunes, flavors and creative talents from 29 cities in 25 countries to the Veszprém and Bakony-Balaton region, with a program that changes every two weeks. Visitors can take part in concerts, writers’ workshops, film screenings, and photo exhibitions, while enjoying the charming rural atmosphere of Pannonian landscapes. From January 16-29, Kaunas, Lithuania, will be the first city in the series. between; Followed by Ghent, Belgium – January 30-February 12, and then London, Canada February 13-26. between and so on. Gloss! About the opening ceremony program (January 21-22). here You can find out, and view the annual programme here You can watch it. or download it Free applicationmaking it easy to keep track of nearly 3,000 program offerings.
After Mrs. Mike’s speech, Eric Haupt, Ambassador of Hungary, took the stage, speaking about the unique opportunities Veszprém has this year thanks to the EKF 2023 title. In this regard, he cited Pec, the previous holder of the Hungarian title in 2010, as an example. He stressed the importance of establishing a strong cultural leadership position for the winning cities, which will provide a fruitful boom for the surrounding areas in the coming years. The audience then welcomed the other two cities, Timisoara and Elefsina. Finally, the event reached its climax, when representatives of Veszprém and the two other cities accepted the prestigious recognition and set out on their important journey armed with the good wishes of those present.
We’re excited to see what the coming year has in store for the Veszprém-Balaton region, so we can report on upcoming events for the new European Capital of Culture. Congratulations Veszprem, you did it!
You can find out more about the Veszprém-Balaton ECoC 2023 by following them on social media:
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