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Riga nominated for European Capital of Culture 2014

By Editor. 25.09.2009

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Riga was selected by an international jury to become the European Capital of Culture in 2014.

The Council of the European Union will formally designate the cities in May 2010. Most likely both Riga and the second nominated city, Umeo in Sweden, will receive a positive confirmation from the Council.

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and heritage in the context of European culture, as well as to invite culture institutions and artists from other European countries to cooperate and establish valuable contacts.

In its application Riga states that culture has the power to change lives of people and cities for better. Riga's project foresees enhancing access to cultural activities in Riga's neighborhoods and involve community in developing various areas of the city.

Running as a candidate for European Capital of Culture in 2014, Riga is ready for a new challenge - "challenge to constantly change, to strengthen the understanding that culture has power to be a survival kit and a launching pad for new, daring ideas that can help to see the world from a new perspective".

Sigulda has already applied as Riga's perspective partner city in 2014; the capital is open for cooperation with other cities as well, holding view that the European Capital of Culture status should benefit all residents of Latvia.

Cēsis and Liepāja were two other cities in Latvia that the jury shortlisted for the final selection round.

The European Capital of Culture programme was initially called the European City of Culture and was conceived in 1983 by Melina Mercouri, then serving as Greek Minister of Culture. Mercouri believed that at the time, culture was not given the same attention as politics and economics and a project for promoting European cultures within the member states should be pursued. The European City of Culture programme was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder. During the German Presidency of 1999, the European City of Culture programme was renamed the European Capital of Culture.

European Capitals of Culture in 2009 are Linz in Austria and Vilnius in Lithuania; Pecs (Hungary), Essen (Germany) and Istanbul (Turkey) will hold the title in 2010; Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland) - in 2011; Guimaraes (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) in 2012, and Košice (Slovakia) and Marseille (France) - in 2013.


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