European capitals of culture: success strategies and long-term effects

  • culture
  • economy

A new study carried out for the European Parliament assesses the long-term effects of hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme

Since 1985 the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) title has been awarded to nearly 60 cities in 30 countries. Over time, the programme has become an important tool for city positioning and a catalyst for economic and cultural regeneration. There are often immediate cultural, social and economic returns and, although harder to evidence, the ECoC's potential for securing long-term benefits, such as changing the image of a city or developing tourism, has grown.

The study highlights common approaches and success strategies adopted by cities. It also documents the strongest claims that the ECoC has had long-term effects and analyses recurrent challenges for the programme to reach its full potential.

The key recommendations made in the report are:

  • the establishment of a standardised evaluation framework
  • greater emphasis on comparative research
  • the creation of a formal knowledge transfer programme so that future hosts can better benefit from the wealth of experience developed in the last three decades

Figures provided by Marseille-Provence 2013 confirm the positive impact the ECoC title has had on the city. Up to August, 6,065,000 people had attended events associated with the ECoC in 2013. The MuCem, the Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean, welcomed 800,000 visitors since its opening in June 2013.

Read the full study here.


EUROCITIES staff contact

Julie Herve