Veszprém, cited usually as “the city of Queens”, is one of the oldest Hungarian towns. Embraced by the Lake Balaton and the Bakony hills, it is the economic and cultural centre of the region. Culture plays an important role in the life of the city which is at the same time old and new, calm, but vital. However, Veszprém seeks to go beyond the boundaries of its high-quality artistic festivals, finding its place on the cultural map of Europe. This endeavour is supported by the city’s application to the European Capital of Culture 2023 title as well as by EU funded projects – both activities are being implemented in cooperation with HETFA.
SporTown – community building through international exchange
Implementation of the international project SporTown – Intergenerational Debate on Sport Specific Utilization of Urban Spaces, led by the city of Veszprém, has begun in February.
Municipalities and civil organizations active in the field of youth from Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland and the candidate country Serbia are participating in the project which aims to strengthen the concept of “playground and moving city”. As part of the project, local discussions, partner meetings and workshops are organized in partner cities. During these events, young participants gain insight into the world of decision-makers; they exchange good practices and discuss common challenges and opportunities in the field of city development. International workshops in Veszprém are planned to be attended by the European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport and realized with the assistance of the International Office of HETFA.
European Capital of Culture – a chance to be reknowned throughout Europe
Veszprém won the title of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) in 2023! The winner bid was prepared with the professional support of HETFA. In the final round Veszprém competed with Győr and Debrecen. Veszprém applied jointly with the Bakony and Balaton Region for the ECC title. According to the current plans, in order to use the support successfully, culture and high added value creative industries will become the main motor of regional development.
Photo by Balint Kovacs Photography
The title European Capital of Culture (ECoC) represents one of the most prominent cultural events in Europe. The cultural capitals programme of the European Union is aimed at exploring and developing European culture and enhancing European identity.
The applications of the seven Hungarian candidate cities were evaluated by a committee of 12 independent cultural experts; ten of them are delegated by EU institutions, while the other two members are designated by the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources. Out of the seven Hungarian applicant cities, Debrecen, Győr and Veszprém could continue the competition after the first round of evaluation. They were among the most important cities in Hungary from cultural, economic and administrative aspects; following Budapest. However, on a European scale they are considered small and medium sized cities. This type of settlements faces a particular crisis across Europe, as capitals and big cities are the centres of technological and economic development and transformation of the 21st century. Thus the stake is great: the winner city will not only get the opportunity to be successfully involved in the European cultural competition but also has the chance to reinterpret itself and become more inclusive, liveable and attractive for today’s young people.
HETFA Research Institute is actively involved in the preparation of Veszprém’s application. András Csite, managing director of HETFA emphasized:
“The ECoC title, and more specifically putting culture and creative industry in the focus can be an opportunity to make a real difference in offering attractive living and working conditions for the young and highly educated generations.”
The ECoC title also provides a great deal of opportunities to extend and tighten international cooperation. However, a cultural capital can engage permanently into European cultural-artistic networks only if it uses the title-driven attention and development resources for achieving goals for which the city struggles anyway. It is worth developing a concept that can be used even if the city does not win the title.
The entire bid book of Veszprém (100 pages) is available here!