The hard work of the last three years has been accomplished, by the decision of the professional jury and the Government of Hungary, Veszprém and the Lake Balaton region can host the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2023.
The decision was announced by the jury in Budapest on Friday afternoon, with the participation of the teams of the three candidate cities: Debrecen, Győr and Veszprém.
In her opening statement, Anikó Krucsainé Herter, Deputy State Secretary for Cultural Relations and Development, said that we are all winners and are wiser, regardless of whether to the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 can be only one city selected. In fact, all three cities would deserve this title, as they have demonstrated exemplary stance and hard work in recent times.
- In 2018 we celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which puts the spotlight on the significant artistic achievements, traditions and values of Europe. It offers an opportunity to show the cultural diversity of Europe and to support that the culture even more significant contribution to the development of Europe's economy and society. The initiative of the European Capital of Culture also serves these goals, emphasized Gábor Zupkó, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Hungary, in his welcome speech. - The title intended to enable European citizens to learn more about each other's culture, admire the memories of our common history, experience the richness of European values and the sense of belonging to Europe.
A total of 60 cities have been awarded the honourable title so far, which has always led to long-term development of the city's cultural infrastructure, increased self-esteem of the citizens and the pride for the city, improved the previous image of the city, led to more active participants in culture, increased tourism, broadened awareness and led to economic progress.
The title has been awarded to two European cities so far each year, but in 2023 exceptionally the winner would be only Hungary. In the first round, a total of seven candidates participated: Debrecen, Eger, Gödöllő, Győr, Székesfehérvár, Szombathely and Veszprém, of which Debrecen, Győr and Veszprém were finally included in the second round.
The finalist cities had to submit their final application by November 9, and then five members of the 12-member committee visited the cities of the applicants personally - they visited Veszprém on Wednesday, 12 December - and last Friday they presented the cities their ideas before the jury.
Aiva Rosenberg, president of the EU jury said, that that they would want all three cities to win because they did a great job and brought many new, progressive ideas since the first round. In the final decision, six main points were finally taken into account - then they suggest to EMMI (Department of Human Resources) which city is worthy to host the title in 2023 - the city's cultural strategy and its relationship with the EKF (European Capital of Culture), the artistic and cultural content of the tender, the representation of the European dimension, the financial and organizational capacity of the city, the social impact of the ideas, and the budget of the application.
THE WINNER OF THE EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE BECAME VESZPRÉM
With this, the city and the Lake Balaton region was given the opportunity to create the future of Europe by the culture and by involving citizens - as it is the essence of the EKF initiative (European Capital of Culture initiative): to pass on our heritage and create something new through intercultural dialogue - said the President in her speech.
The greeted the decision with a tremendous ovation, and the Mayor Gyula Porga said that they had won a fantastically fierce competition against two very prestigious Hungarian cities.
“If I have to appreciate the victory, the first thought is definitely the pleasure. The second is thanks because we could get to this point as a result of teamwork. I would like to thank the mayors, municipalities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), enterprises in the region for helping us and rooting for us.
At the same time, work will start tomorrow, because the fact that Veszprém can host the title of European Capital of Culture alone in 2023 is also a great responsibility and we also should represent Hungarian culture at the same time. But if we can keep the same unit, trust, and strength that led to the writing of the tender, then I'm sure it will succeed.”
The serious work is just getting started now, and the body of the EKF (Europan Capital of Culture) will not allow Veszprém's hand anymore: it will keep track of how the submission of the application is progressing.
15.12.2018 Porga Gyula: Veszprém's program has a significant public support
According to the mayor of Veszprém, the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 is a great success for the city. As Gyula Porga told to MTI (Hungarian Telegraphic Office) on Saturday, significant public support has been built around the program in the last few years.
Veszprém's application is entitled “Beyond”, which indicates that they want to overcome their previous difficulties, break down the walls between the municipalities, the entrepreneurship and the civil society – said the mayor. He added that a high level of confidence among the operator of the region was built during the preparation process and if this could be maintained, the implementation of the program will be successful.
Gyula Porga emphasized that the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 is not just about one year, but already at the beginning of 2019 should start to work. It is a great responsibility, because in 2023 Veszprém will be alone the city of European Capital of Culture, and not only the culture of the region but the whole culture of Hungary should have to represent by Veszprém.
The Mayor also talked about that they are not planning major infrastructure investments - which was already emphasized in the application submitted – and the mayor considers it important to implement the program in a sustainable way.
Their aim is to eliminate the seasonality of Lake Balaton and the region because the potential and infrastructure are available in the region to be able to receive guests throughout the year-said Gyula Porga. Although Veszprém has a vibrant cultural life, they want to integrate more people into the program, thus Veszprém also consider the program as a city development and community building action, he added.
He noted that like many other European cities, Veszprém is also characterized by the fact that talented young people go to bigger cities - either to the capital or to Western Europe - with the tender this trend could be reversed. They want to provide such services in the area - if young people go out – then they will return and be able to achieve fulfilment here.
The independent international experts of the EKF (European Capital of Culture) project supported Veszprém's application for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2023, and the decision was announced on Friday in Budapest. Seven Hungarian towns - Debrecen, Eger, Gödöllő, Győr, Székesfehérvár, Szombathely and Veszprém - were named for the title. In the second round, among Debrecen, Győr and Veszprém was decided, which city will be the Europen Capital of Culture in 2023.