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Two new European Capitals of Culture for 2017
Aarhus will focus on the role of children during its time at European Capital of Culture

Two new European Capitals of Culture for 2017

Aarhus and Pafos have taken up the title of European Capital of Culture for 2017.

The cultural programme will officially begin on January 21st in Aarhus.

The opening ceremony for Pafos 2017 will take place on January 28th, with Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, and Nicos Anastasiades, president of Cyprus in attendance.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said: “The title of European Capital of Culture is a unique opportunity to bring communities together through culture and to foster strong local, European and international partnerships for the future.

“I wish Aarhus and Pafos every success for the coming year.”


Both cities have come up with programmes which showcase centuries of culture while using different art forms to address the socio-economic problems facing Europe today.

‘Rethink’ is the central theme of Aarhus 2017.

The Danish city will show how arts, culture and the creative sector can help us to re-think and shape our basic social, urban, cultural and economic patterns of behaviour and find new solutions to common challenges.

A rooftop Viking saga performance, an art exhibition stretching across the city and the coastline, a Creativity World Forum and an international children’s literary festival are just some of the many events which will bridge the past with creative ideas for the present and future.

Aarhus 2017 will launch its cultural programme with children at the heart of the celebrations.

Hundreds of children from the Central Denmark region will gather in Aarhus to imagine the future in a series of events entitled Land of Wishes.

As night falls during the opening ceremony, a spectacular show filled with pageantry, Viking spirits and gods in the sky will mark the start of the city’s year as European Capital of Culture.

Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures is the common thread running through hundreds of events organised by Pafos 2017.

The first Cypriot city to host a European Capital of Culture embraces its experiences of multiculturalism and its geographical proximity to the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen relations between countries and cultures.

The opening ceremony for Pafos 2017 is inspired by one of the themes for the year’s cultural programme: Myth and Religion.

New life will be given to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea and other narratives from the history of Pafos in a unique spectacle of music and dance.

During the opening weekend on January 28th-29th, the city will be converted into an Open Air Factory with numerous shows and artistic performances.

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In 2016, Wroclaw in Poland and San Sebastian in Spain were European Capitals of Culture.

Following Aarhus and Pafos in 2017, the future European Capitals of Culture will be Valletta (Malta) and Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in 2018, Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) in 2019 and Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) in 2020.

Timisoara (Romania), Elefsina (Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia, candidate country) were recently recommended to become the three European Capitals of Culture 2021 and are awaiting their official nomination by the relevant authorities.