What is a European Capital of Culture?
Since 1985 the title has been granted for the duration of one year to cities of different countries. The countries are nominated in advance. In 2024, Austria (after Graz 2003 and Linz 2009) and Estonia can each nominate a Capital of Culture.
Aim is to visualise the diversity of life realities and conditions present in Europe, to foster mutual understanding and to set a long-term impetus for urban and regional development. Besides cities, also a range of villages together can apply as a European Capital of Culture Region. One city (> 10,000 inhabitants), however, has to take the lead. In the case of Salzkammergut 2024 this will be Bad Ischl.
Bad Ischl and the Salzkammergut as European Capital of Culture 2024?
Yes indeed, this is the ambitious target we set ourselves! Through this project we see the unique chance to rethink the Salzkammergut in a European context, to analyse its strengths and weaknesses and to develop a long-term perspective and new, motivational narratives. Thereby, the title “European Capital of Culture 2024” serves us as a vehicle for realignment. In addition to the application, there will also be a cultural development plan for the entire region at the end.
European Capital of Culture and cultural development plan?
Culture can polarise, deliver food-for-thought and generate debates of how we want to shape our co-existence. We understand culture as the basis of our society and advocate thereby a very broad cultural concept that embraces everything from “high-culture” and “popular culture”, to contemporary and critical culture. With a cultural development plan that is put together in a participatory way, we all together define the guidelines and frameworks for cultural work in the Salzkammergut. This cultural development plan will serve as a long-term framework for action for our cultural policy, regardless of the outcome of the application to the European Capital of Culture.
How do we benefit from this?
Cultural policy is location policy! Nearly all municipalities in the Salzkammergut are facing rural exodus. Shops and restaurants have to shut down due to the lack of customers, village centres are deserted and workplaces rare. Especially young, well educated people have to migrate to bigger cities because they find no future perspectives here. To position the Salzkammergut as a future-proof region and to prevent rural exodus, it needs visions and strategic planning. The cultural development plan and the application to the European Capital of Culture 2024 are set in place exactly for this purpose.
When does this all happen?
Now! The application deadline for the European Capital of Culture 2024 is in the end of December 2018. Until then, the application and its underlying cultural development plan have to be ready.
Who takes part?
Ideally everyone! Everyone is encouraged to contribute with ideas and thoughts. The office ‘Salzkammergut 2024’ has – in the past few months – embarked on a broad participatory process. Many, many people have told us their ideas and opinions. We continue to welcome such initiatives from the general public. Share your questions, thoughts, critique, suggestions and ideas!
Can we afford this?
Money is an important factor, but the long-term success of a European Capital of Culture year is not mandatorily linked to a high budget – this has already been proofed by successful examples from the past. Should ‘Salzkammergut 2024’ become a reality, costs do occur for Bad Ischl and the region. At the moment, an accurate cost estimate is not yet possible and depends among other variables on the programming and the co-financing of the federal government and the three federal states Upper Austria, Styria and Salzburg.
The EU supports the year of a European Capital of Culture with 1,5 Million Euros. Apart from this, the title year constitutes a long term, very worthwhile investment into the future of the region.