“St. Pölten. In the Centre of Europe”: what makes the city a European Capital of Culture?

The “European dimension” of the bid concept is one of six criteria of the tendering process for the European City of Culture. The province of Lower Austria and the city of St. Pölten have, in recent times, displayed several distinctly European features. This can be further developed and is a promise for the future: St. Pölten, a truly European city.

“St. Pölten. In the Centreof Europe”: This slogan has been part of the city’s logo since the EU’s eastward expansion in 2004. Consider also the 1995 founding and ongoing chair of the Network of European medium-sized Towns with 34 members from 13 European countries, or the Europe Prize awarded by the Council of Europe in 2001 … These are just a few examples of how St. Pölten is actively participating in the “European unification” process. Bidding to become European Capital of Culture 2024 now opens up new possibilities and prospects for defining the European footprint of St. Pölten and the region in view of the potential title, and for developing it further in exchange with Europe.

The “European dimension” is the unifying feature of the bid to become European Capital of Culture. The idea for this goes back to the Greek actor and minister for culture Melina Mercouri; its aim is to show the richness and diversity of European cultures and to promote the feeling of belonging to a common cultural space. To achieve this, we need to create formats which deal with future issues such as living, urban development, mobility, social inclusion and, of course, art, as well as enabling a discussion about these issues with European experts.

The “European dimension” is not simply a response to a question in a survey but is the basis and point of reference for all categories in the bid. Taking it seriously means initiating a wide, participative process that begins here and now and involves people of the most diverse backgrounds, opinions, and areas of activity – a process that opens St. Pölten to Europe and carries Europe into St. Pölten. Let’s get inspired by contemporary European ideas and innovations, let’s share ideas on future solutions with similar cities, and perhaps even become a European role model in some regards. What a goal!

19 March 2018


Jakob Redl
Project Manager St. Pölten 2024 

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