The title “European Capital of Culture” has been awarded continuously for one year at a time since 1985. The European Capital of Culture 2025 will be nominated by the Council of the European Union in 2020 after a multi-stage application process – two European cities bear this title each year. In 2025, the European Capital of Culture will be Chemnitz in Germany and Nova Gorica in Slovenia.

The official application phase for cities in Germany began on 24 September 2018, Chemnitz made it onto the shortlist in December 2019 and the final decision was made in October 2020. The European Commission is accompanying the entire selection process. In Germany, West Berlin (1988), Weimar (1999) and Essen/Ruhr (2010) last held the title of European Capital of Culture.

What does it mean to be a European Capital of Culture?

Capital of Culture – this is not a state, it is a process. To bear this title, cities must present a coherent concept of how they make culture the engine of urban development. How a creative climate becomes the breeding ground for the urban life of the future. And how, as a city in Europe, they become a European city. Year after year, two European cities set an example. It was and is possible to learn from all of them, regardless of whether their names are Glasgow, Marseille, Pilsen, Wroclaw, Leeuwarden or Valetta. For on the way to their Capital of Culture year, they have all made sure of their regional peculiarities and problems and let them lead to a new self-image: within their own urban population and within Europe. This is not a celebration for 365 days, but a sustainable strategy with a one-year interim high.

How does that fit in with Chemnitz?

Chemnitz has also embarked on this challenging path, because the city not only wants to stand for demanding jobs and successful companies, but much more strongly wants to help the great creative potential and cultural diversity to break through. Some call this plan simply nonsense, others a beautiful vision – and many are already calling it a great opportunity. A worthwhile journey for all Chemnitzers with an appetite for change.

How do we want to live? How do we want to work? How do we shape our urban spaces? What influence does history have on our identity? These are all questions that the urban society must ask itself in order to consciously shape the future according to its own wishes.

Cover Photo: Kristin Schmidt

Photo Compilation”C the Unseen”: Ernesto Uhlmann