VEB2023 ECoC

About ECoC

The title of European Capital of Culture was created over 30 years ago on proposal from Greek actress and then Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, and has been a flagship of EU cultural policy ever since. At the same time, it is a great chance for cities and, by now, even regions to win this distinction, with numerous competing bids every year.

The title gives its holders exposure to the cultural spotlight in Europe, and therefore not only represents a year of special interest from the pan-European cultural community, but also offers an opportunity for these regions and cities to establish their cultural and tourist position on the map of Europe in the long run.

Of course, there is a long way to get to this point: the history of the Veszprém-Balaton European Capital of Culture programme started back in 2016, when together with the city's leaders we decided to run for the title of 2023.

In 2018, extended and extensive preparation work was finally crowned with success. This was the year when the winners of the 2023 competition were announced, including the duo of Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region. And although we had already organised a number of events in the ECoC spirit during the bid phase, it was only then that the lion's share of the work began - not only in terms of organising programmes, but also in terms of infrastructure and cultural development, such as the redevelopment of the Castle Dungeon exhibition. Combined with the complex reconstruction and functional expansion of the building and the surrounding properties, the aim was to create a sustainable exhibition space with a range of additional services. 

The financial resources for these investments are provided by state, municipal and sponsorship funds and grants, as well as by the ticket proceeds of certain events, because, contrary to popular misconception, the ECoC title does not come with EU financial support. Actually, the EU does not provide financial means, but a call for bids and an additional contribution during the application phase: the Melina Mercouri Prize, worth around €1.5 million.

Preparation thus takes a long time; the ECoC programme lasts exactly one year - but what happens after that? The aim of all the bids, programmes and construction works is to create a sustainable, long-term viable cultural community. That is of course what we have been and still are working on, taking care to create something new while respecting our traditions and building up local communities.