2018 European Capitals of Culture
The opening celebrations for Valletta will take place from 14 to 20 January across the city, inspired by the traditional Maltese festa (village feast). In Leeuwarden, celebrations will kick off on 26 and 27 January, with artistic installations and performances by professional and amateur artists across the city, and museums opening their doors to visitors throughout the Friesland region.
The programme for Valetta's festa aims to encourage artists and audiences to rethink the traditional view of culture. Due to Malta's specific location as an island-state between Europe and North Africa, the programme also aspires to bring together different points of view from the various shores of the Mediterranean. More than 140 projects and 400 events are included in the programme, organised around three main themes: Island Stories, Future Baroque and Voyages. About 1,000 local and international artists, curators, performers, workshop leaders, writers, designers, choirs and film-makers will be involved, and celebrations will continue throughout the year across the islands of Malta and Gozo.
With the concept of iepen mienskip (open community) at the centre of its programme, Leeuwarden aims to strengthen and connect communities from across the Friesland region and Europe, with more than 800 projects involving music, theatre, landscape art, opera, and sport taking place throughout the year. An exhibition by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, an opera about Mata Hari, an event with Frisian horse-breeders, and grassroots projects such as "European sports for all" are just a few of the many projects that will contribute to raising awareness and increasing understanding of cultural differences.
Initiated in 1985, the European Capital of Culture has become one of the most high-profile cultural initiatives in Europe. All EU Member States, candidate countries and European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area countries participating in the Creative Europe programme can become a European Capital of Culture.