'European Capital of Culture' candidates receive €3 million each

The federal government is offering the five Belgian cities or municipalities that want to become ‘European Capital of Culture 2030’ a budget of €3 million each for their candidacy. A European jury will decide in the summer of 2025 which of the candidates can hold this prestigious title.

In 2030, the year in which the country celebrates its 200th birthday, Belgium will again have one of the ‘European Capitals of Culture’. One of three, because there will also be a European Capital of Culture designated in Cyprus and in an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate country of the European Union.

The federal government confirmed at the last formal Council of Ministers before the elections that there are five Belgian candidates: Ghent, Leuven, Mechelen, Namur and the Brussels municipality Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that they will receive €3 million each to develop their dossiers. They have to submit a first draft of their application in September.

The Brussels candidacy was initially called Brussels 2030, but gradually a consensus was reached to fully support the municipality of Molenbeek in particular. The coordinators however will not just highlight the cultural and artistic wealth of Molenbeek, but also that of all Brussels 19 municipalities.

A European jury will decide in the summer of 2025 which of the candidates will hold the title of ‘European Capital of Culture’. This city or municipality will follow in the footsteps of other Belgian cities like Antwerp (1993), Brussels (2000), Bruges (2002) and Mons (2015).

European and Belgian flag © BELGA PHOTO BELPRESS

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