The Cultural Capital of Europe will be selected in Helsinki in early June 2026. Tampere, Olu and Savonlinna are in the finals, all of which advanced to the first round of the tournament last summer. A nine-member European expert arbitral tribunal selects. Five of the members will be coming to the applicant cities next week.
Expert referees visit Tamper 26.5, Olu 27.5 and Savonlinna 28.5. Each city plans a six-hour program for the arbitral tribunal, during which the city presents the highlights of its use and cultural offerings. Arbitration visits are mainly by train and overnight stay in each city.
From the European Arbitration Council with independent experts Guy Amberla (Finland), Beatrice Garcia (UK), Paulina Florjanovich (Poland), Alin-Adrian Nika (Romania) and Rita old house (Finland). Representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture are also attending the visit.
– We are pleased to be able to make visits, and five members of the jury will be able to get to know the candidate cities on the spot. During visits, cities’ applications and projects get a facelift, and they are in addition to nature and atmosphere, says the consulting officer. Aina Burton.
Cultural Capital will be selected on June 2nd
The important meeting will take place in Helsinki 31.5–1.6. In addition to members of the arbitral tribunal who attend city visits, the meeting also participates Jelle Burroughs (Netherlands), Tesislava Gavrilova (Bulgaria), Jorge Cervera Pinto (Portugal) and Pierre Chavacot (France) and representatives of the European Commission and the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Evaluation of applications is based on EU criteria that include cultural and artistic content, the nature and diversity of initiatives, the city’s cultural strategy, plans for developing the cultural sector and creative industries, the scope and quality of initiatives, and credibility. Implementation, Participation and Project Management.
The selection of Cultural Capital takes place in two rounds: In June, the jury recommended that all three cities advance to the second round of the 2026 European Cultural Capital Competition. In its interim assessment, the arbitrator wanted the applicants to strengthen the European dimension in their applications. Applicant cities further refined their applications based on the recommendations of the arbitral tribunal and submitted them to the arbitral tribunal at the Music House.
The European capital event of European culture is part of the cultural activities of the European Union
The European Cultural Capitals have been designated since 1985 and are funded by the EU Creative Europe Program.
The aim of the event is to highlight the cultural diversity of Europe, increase cultural exchange and strengthen the sense of belonging to a common cultural region. In addition, the event reinforces the importance of culture in the development of cities. Cultural capitals are funded by the city and its partners, the commission and the state.
Information on the capital of cultural projects (in Finnish)
• Tamper 26 – A Europe
• 2026 – Saima event to become the European capital of Savonlinna culture
More information: Consulting Officer Aina Burton, Tel. 0295 330 069
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