Rijeka and Galway – the European Capitals of Culture in 2020
The beginning of February marks the start of a new title-year for two European Capitals of Culture: Rijeka in Croatia and Galway in Ireland.
February 2, 2020 will be long-remembered by the citizens of Rijeka, a Croatian coastal city, as they attended a number of cultural events and happenings in order to celebrate their city being a Cultural Capital of Europe, along with Galway, where the opening ceremony was scheduled for Feabruary 8,. The centerpiece of Rijeka’s opening ceremony was the Opera Industriale, an opera celebrating the industrial nature of the city and paying tribute to workers by encompassing the sounds of the city and its machinery. Galway’s opening ceremony unfortunately, had to be canceled because of the weather. However, the cancellation didn’t diminish the success of the week-long Fire Tour leading up to it.
European Capital of Culture
The initiative European Capital of Culture aims to point out the diversity of cultures in Europe and foster cultural understanding. It helps the cities involved to introduce their cultural uniqueness to an international audience. The call for applications is put out six years before the title-year by selected host countries. Interested cities submit an application which is reviewed by an expert panel. Four years before the title-year, the panel recommends one city per host country. The chosen cities are given the title of European Capital of Culture. Since 1985, when the project was first developed, more than 50 cities across Europe have held the title. https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/actions/capitals-culture_en
2020 Croatia and Ireland
In 2020, it is Rijeka, Croatia and Galway, Ireland that hold the title of European Capitals of Culture. Both cities pride themselves on their diversity and richness of culture, which is reflected in the main themes of their programs. The aim of these two cities is to make their culture more accessible to the general public through many free events, as well as work with local artists to capture the variety and vibrancy of their communities.
Rijeka: “Port of Diversity”
The Croatian coastal city of Rijeka has two quite distinguished but complementary roles. Firstly, the city is vital to Croatia’s industry since it is the country’s biggest port and, secondly, it is also an important cultural center. In 2020 the cultural program, entitled “Port of Diversity” features over 600 individual events which are divided into seven thematic segments, centered on the main themes of water, work and migration. The full programme is accessible through the link: https://rijeka2020.eu/en/
Galway: “Let the Magic In”
Galway is an Irish city, located in the west of Ireland. It lies on River Corrib. The city hosts many festivals and celebrations, such as the Galway International Arts Festival. With the motto “Let the Magic In” the official cultural progamme for Galway as European Cultural Capital in 2020 will follow the Celtic calendar, starting in February with the start of spring, and it will continue through the four fire seasons of the year. The main themes that will be explored are migration, landscape and language. The full programme: https://galway2020.ie/en/
In order to get a glimpse into cultural richness of Rijeka and Galway, watch the official videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI0jvD5h9ds
Written by Tija Vrček