On Tuesday, 10 May, the international jury announced the winner of the European Capital of Culture 2027 title and the honour will go to the city of Liepāja.
“Today marks the end of a very important sprint of a marathon length. We are very grateful and humbled by this result and believe that Liepāja, together with the regions of South Kurzeme and Kuldīga, will carry the title of European Capital of Culture 2027 with great honour. I truly believe that today we have turned a new page in the development of Liepāja and its neighbouring regions – embarking on a journey towards a more open, democratic, inclusive, friendly and internationally stronger region,” said Gunārs Ansiņš, Chairman of the Liepāja City Council.
The Liepāja concept “(un)rest” is a comprehensive five-line programme, representing a wide variety of genres, to address important topics and issues that are relevant for Liepāja and Europe as a whole.
Each of the five programme lines – “European Dream”, “Port Paradox”, “New Eyes”, “Deliberate Modesty” and “Creative Foresight” – reveals a story closely linked to Liepāja and its connection to Europe.
The programme includes conferences, discussions, festivals, events, workshops, creative residencies, project competitions, concerts, performances, art in public space, lectures, hikes, staged outdoor adventures, exhibitions and events in new cultural venues, downgraded areas and more. From large-scale events for large groups of people to medium and small-scale events, all audiences are included – from culture connoisseurs to people who have been less familiar with culture in their everyday lives. We have also addressed the needs of people with disabilities and socially vulnerable groups.
Three Latvian cities – Liepāja, Valmiera and Daugavpils – competed in the European Capital of Culture 2027 final. The jury was composed of ten experts selected by the European Parliament (EP), the Council of Europe, the European Commission (EC) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), as well as two national experts nominated by the National Council for Culture and the Ministry of Culture.
Nine Latvian cities – Cēsis, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jēkabpils, Jūrmala, Kuldīga, Liepāja, Ogre and Valmiera – submitted applications for the title of European Capital of Culture 2027 in the first round of the competition. Daugavpils, Jūrmala, Liepāja and Valmiera were nominated for further participation in the competition by an international and independent panel of experts. In autumn 2021, the city of Jūrmala announced its withdrawal from the competition.
This is the second time Latvia has been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture. In 2014, the capital of Latvia, Rīga, earned this title for Latvia.
The European Capital of Culture title has been awarded annually since 1985 only to one city in each of the two Member States of the European Union, according to a specific calendar. This calendar envisages that in 2027 the title of European Capital of Culture will be awarded to two Member States, Latvia and Portugal.
Each of these two countries will select one city to be awarded the title of European Capital of Culture on the basis of the recommendations set out in the selection report of an international and independent jury, and will notify the award to the EP, the EU Council, the EC and the CoR at the latest four years before the year of the European Capital of Culture title.
The two newly selected European Capitals of Culture will also be eligible for the €1.5million Melina Mercouri Prize.