Brno’s Bid To Become 2028 European Capital of Culture Ends Without Success

The European Capital of Culture 2028 will be either Broumov or České Budějovice. Photo credit: MMB.

Brno, Oct. 15 (BD) – Brno, Broumov, České Budějovice and Liberec. Out of the four cities remaining in the race to become the Czech Republic’s European Capital of Culture 2028, only two could make the final shortlist. Yesterday, representatives of the Ministry of Culture’s 12-member international jury announced Broumov and České Budějovice as the two cities advancing to the final round, meaning Brno’s bid for the title is over.

“Brno itself is a European and a global population, so while today’s announcement is the end of our journey to the ECC 2028 title, nothing else ends there for us,” said the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková. “In order not to stand still, we must be able to see opportunities and not be afraid of challenges. This was one of them and I’m glad we weren’t scared of it. Already the preparations for the candidacy confirmed to us that Brno has its place on the map of Europe as a cultural metropolis, that it has strong capital in the area of ​​cultural and creative industries and has great potential for inward development. In this spirit, we would like to continue with a number of established projects, processes or cooperation even without a title.” 

Vaňková also congratulated the advancing cities and wished them well for the rest of the decision-making process.

The competition for the title included the preparation and submission of a printed and electronic application in Czech and English, and a subsequent defence before an international jury composed of experts in the fields of cultural and creative industries, development of cities and regions, and representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the European Commission. The application, which contained a detailed vision of how Brno will use the title, was supplemented by the Brno team with a set of illustrated playing cards, which were also used during the presentation and defence of the shared city vision before the jury. The application can be viewed in full here

“We used our bid for European Capital of Culture mainly as an opportunity to define what needs to be improved in the city, and thanks to that to strengthen Brno as a whole,” said Deputy Mayor for Culture Tomáš Koláčný. According to the bid team, big differences between individual city districts, but also between municipalities across the region, can be a barrier. The preparatory projects therefore started the process of closer cooperation not only within the region, but also with other countries.

“Culture has a key role as a kind of sealant or glue for the resulting bonds, because we understand it in its entire breadth as a way of life,” said Koláčný. “Culture also has an unquestionable role in the regeneration of cities or excluded localities, which is why it makes sense to continue to develop the ideas of the project.” He cited as an example of this the new use imagined for the Brno exhibition centre, which the city intends to continue developing along the lines envisioned by the ECC bid.

The basic ideological principle of the Brno candidacy was to work with the infrastructure, communities and projects that already exist in Brno, and develop them further. “We decided to apply the concept of non-growth policy in this regard,” said the city councillor for culture, Marek Fišer. “We did not plan to spontaneously build new buildings, but on the contrary to work conceptually with what is already available in the city, and what we identified as an opportunity for improvement. The aim of candidacy was primarily to help fundamentally improve communication and reflect the needs of ordinary people. To teach individuals that they can apply their interests in participatory projects and that the city is them. The Brno 2028 projects contributed to a change in mindset and helped spread the principles of a shared city that works for everyone.”

The European Capital of Culture scheme is a competition of European cities, which mainly aims to protect and promote the diversity of cultures in Europe and to further support the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities at the economic, social and urban level in a way that corresponds to their individual strategies and priorities. Originally, the Capitals were chosen based on cities’ history and the richness of their culture, but now the award is conceived more as a stimulus for cultural development and structural changes. Two Czech cities have received this title in the past: Prague (2000) and Pilsen (2015). In 2028, the title will be awarded to one city in the Czech Republic, one in France, one in an EFTA/EEA country, and one in an EU candidate or potential candidate country.

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