The European Commission announced on Friday, September 16, that Timisoara won the competition to be European Capital of Culture in 2021.
Karel Bartak , Head of the coordination unit for the Creative Europe programme with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture, said in his turn that this competition, which has become one of the most important cultural events in Europe, opens up a series of opportunities for the countries of the Old Continent to come together. The competition, said Bartak, is based on intercultural dialogue, openness of European cities to the world, with the cultural and creative sectors having managed to survive these trouble times to other economic branches. The president of the jury European Capital of Culture, Steve Green, said that this is a “title for life, not just for one year”.
Timisoara will be the second Romanian city to hold this title, after Sibiu in 2007. In 2021, there will be three European Capitals of Culture: One from Greece, Romania-based Timisoara and another city from Serbia or Montenegro, which are candidates for EU accession. Four Romanian cities were short-listed for this position, including Bucharest, Baia Mare and Cluj-Napoca. Initially, there were 14 local candidate cities. The city's bid motto was "Light Up the City through Yourself."
Timisoara, the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania, hosted the PRAXIS’13 Open Discussion Forum, between 10 and 11 October 2013, aiming to improve the cooperation between employers and universities.
The Forum was supported by Timisoara – European Capital of Culture Association, which was founded in view of coordinating the preparing of the city candidacy to implement the program of the cultural year 2021 in case of winning the title.
Timisoara hosts 24 libraries, 19 cinemas, 11 conference halls, 14 galleries of contemporary art, six theatres, four museums, a Philharmonics and an Opera House, four cultural spaces, 47 patrimony sites, 24 schools, and centers of the cultural and creative industry, 340 squares and indoor courts, 18 public and commercial buildings and two transit centers for refugees. The city has around 320,000 inhabitants.
The 2016 Capitals of Culture are Donostia-San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland. Next year’s Capitals of Culture are Aarhus in Denmark and Pafos in Cyprus, followed in 2018 by Leeuwarden (Netherlands) and Valetta (Malta), in 2019 by Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy), and in 2020 by Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland).