“Decision No. 445/2014/EU”: This is how the bidding process works

The bidding and selection procedure for the Capital of Culture 2024 is divided into two phases: the pre-selection and the final selection. The first bid needs to be submitted to the Federal Chancellery by 31 December 2018.

The whole procedure and the contents are clearly regulated: in the first phase – the pre-selection phase – applicants fill in a comprehensive questionnaire “clearly, concisely and precisely”. “The panel shall assess each short-listed candidate city on the basis of its revised application and hearing against the objectives of the European Capital of Culture action and the criteria as specified” in a guideline issued by the Federal Chancellery. The points presented here include the reasons for the bid, the overall cultural profile of the city, a basic programme for 2024 (although during this initial phase, the concrete, individual items on the programme or suggestions for their implementation do not feature), and the intended involvement of the surrounding area – i.e. the region.

In January 2019, a panel will consider all bids and select those Austrian cities to appear on the shortlist. These cities will then be invited to make their ideas concrete and present them in greater detail. In December 2019, the jury will assess these final submissions and choose the Austrian city to become European Capital of Culture 2024. In this second phase of submissions, far more detail is required than in the first phase, particularly about the programme, the European dimension, and the financing.

Assessment criteria

The criteria for assessing the bids are divided into six categories. All six categories are of equal importance: contribution to long-term cultural strategy; the European dimension; cultural and artistic content; capacity to deliver; involvement of the society; and administration. These deciding factors reflect the aims pursued by the EU – and so also by the bidding cities – in the concept of the “European Capital of Culture”. The idea is to assess whether organisational, structural and financial conditions come up to the big challenge.

The EU directive makes it clear that the concept for the European Capital of Culture “should be part of a long-term cultural policy strategy capable of generating a sustainable cultural, economic and social impact. European Capitals of Culture in their planning stage should ensure that adequate arrangements are made to meet this aim.” The directive also states that “the application is to be based on a cultural programme with a strong European dimension.” The programme is to be designed specifically for the Capital of Culture year; this is the part of the overall concept which directly and specifically relates to the year 2024.

In other words: what makes the bid so important far beyond the year 2024 is that the assessment focusses on the city’s long-term cultural strategy, on how cultural activities are embedded into “daily life” (also in respect of social inclusion, education, mobility, etc.), and on whether or not the European Capital of Culture will have sustainable effects on the city’s cultural life.

For any city, being awarded the title of Capital of Culture – and applying for it – can thus be seen as a challenge and opportunity to thoroughly analyse, rethink, mediate and implement the culture of the city and region. Our hope is that we can take on this project together.

19 March 2018


Michael Duscher
Managing Director St. Pölten 2024 office

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