Earlier this year, three cities have been shortlisted to become the 2023 European Capital of Culture: the eastern Hungarian Debrecen, the country’s second-largest city, which served twice as the nation’s capital; the beautifully renovated baroque city, Győr, in northwest Hungary; and one of the oldest urban areas, the ‘City of Queens’, Veszprém.
The European Capital of Culture initiative was designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, celebrate the cultural features Europeans share, and foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.
Debrecen 2023 – Sharing Horizons
A former market town, then a royal free city, the city of Debrecen has been contributing to the growth of global and Hungarian cultural history, education, religion and culture for almost 500 years, since the establishment of the Debrecen Reformed College. Earlier this year, Debrecen’s Cultural Capital of Europe Brand Project received an award at Highlights of Hungary as one of the best creative projects of 2017. The aim of Debrecen is to capitalize on the strengths of the city represented by the tradition of craft making combined with knowledge resulting into creative solutions for the future of the city as a progressive European metropolis. They say that:
Sharing Horizons is therefore not just a nice metaphor, but rather a clear invitation to open up for a step-by-step collective paradigm shift. A process of thinking and discovering. It only works through a two – or rather multiple – way dialogue. For us: with the support of Europe, for Europeans: by discovering us. The two basic dimensions of horizon are set by the universe and our life on earth: We live in space and time. The spacedimension offers us a physical horizon given by the landscape and invites us to explore new territories. The time line represents a horizon between the past and the future inviting us to be rooted in our past but future looking. Being conscious and able to think, only human beings perceive the development of mind that is the third basic dimension of horizon. The mind as a horizon refers to the line between the “known” and the “unknown”, but also between conscience and sub-conscience. It is the metaphysical interpretation of “horizon” meaning to open up our minds. We are able to widen our mind like the horizon to acquire more knowledge, empathy and in the end more opportunities. Related to these three dimensions of the horizon we have identified program areas in which we initiate a collective opening: a mindshift.
Győr – We are the Flow!
Situated halfway between Vienna and Budapest, the Baroque city of Győr is often referred to as the City of Meetings as it is an important economic, industrial, ecclesiastic, educational, cultural and sports centre. Also known as the city of rivers, it lies at the bank of river Rába, just at the fork of the Moson-Danube, the Rába and the Rábca not far away from the Danube and rich in thermal waters.
The central theme in the application of Győr is the FLOW: Flow as a natural phenomenon, flow as the real or virtual opportunity to transmit information, and flow as a key concept of a positive philosophy. The city divided the central theme into three thematic units. The way program package intends to present the European routes crossing Győr, as it is located along the waterways or mainland routes of commerce. City package aims to awaken the slumbering creative energies of Győr with the help of the creativity and innovative ideas of the younger generation. While the dialogue programs will generate discussions and debates in 2023, in various branches of the arts and in the politics of culture in general, establishing frameworks and forums. Watch Győr’s European Capital of Culture promotional spot below:
Veszprém and the Balaton region – Take a Step Beyond!
One of the oldest urban areas in Hungary, with a rich history that stretcher back a thousand years. The city lies close to the northern shores of Balaton, making it an ideal tourist headquarters for the enchanting Bakony hill region. Veszprém was the favorite city of Queen Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen, hence its slogan: the ‘City of Queens’. Veszprém’s mission in it’s joint bid with the Balaton is not only to create a European dreamland in Veszprém in 2023 but the reality of a truly European Hungary.
They are planning to build – and implement – a European vision for our everydays, turning the region into a closely-knit set of communities with a solid network of co-operation and creating a new destination within Europe. Veszprém would like to show that small towns can be culturally relevant at a European level, while demonstrating “how much more Hungary is beyond the current political rhetoric, while forging new ties and strengthening old ones within Europe.”
The three cities were selected by a body of the European Commission in February this year based on preliminary plans for a one-year cultural programme. Further applicants for the competition included Eger, Gödöllő, Székesfehérvár and Szombathely. Representatives of the selection committee will now visit each city and make a final decision at a session on December 13-14.
The European Capital of Culture Programme is one of the most prestigious cultural programmes of the European Union. It is an honourable title awarded to two, exceptionally three European cities each year. The programme was launched in 1985 on the initiative of Melina Mercouri, the Greek Cultural Minister at the time. Athens was the first European Cultural Capital; since then 57 cities have held this title for a year. Previously, only one Hungarian city – Pécs – was named as European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Source: HUNGARY today