European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Concept behind the bid of Aarhus

What it means to be European City of Culture 2017

Culture must be one of the core elements in the identity and future of Aarhus. To this end, the Municipality of Aarhus has decided to apply to host the European City of Culture event in 2017 – an ambitious vision which will require long-term planning and the involvement of the entire city.

European City of Culture (ECOC) was conceived in 1985, and since then 35 cities have hosted the event, and all of them have experienced a number of positive short as well as long-term effects: Improvements to the cultural infrastructure, an enhanced image and brand, a permanent increase in the number of international visitors as well as a larger local culture audience.


Not just culture – a city that creates itself

The vision of Aarhus as the European City of Culture 2017 is not just a cultural project, but a process which will strengthen and develop the city within a number of focus areas: Aesthetic urban redevelopment, integration, business, education, tourism and the establishment of new international contacts and collaboration.

The work will involve participants from all environments – artists, cultural and educational institutions, trade and industry, decision-makers etc., and not least the involvement of the city’s citizens. Aarhus will have to define and create itself as a capital of culture.

Cultural mapping – who’s in?

The City of Aarhus is expecting a final response to its application in 2012, but is already preparing for the event.

The first phase of the process involves a number of cultural mappings, the purpose of which is to provide a detailed overview of Aarhus and to show how the city is perceived both from within and from the outside and how the creative environments are interrelated.

One of the strengths of the city is its creative sector, and the mapping will create an overview of the players within this area and their competencies. The objective is to generate shared knowledge and synergies in the creative environment similar to those characterising the IT environment in Aarhus.

Improved cultural production facilities

The Secretariat for Aarhus 2017 operates under the municipal department for culture, and the City of Aarhus’s 2008-11 cultural policy contains several future initiatives aimed at the event in 2017, including the establishment of a new production centre for visual arts, dramatic art and literature in the disused rail freight terminal.

Together with a new production centre for rock/pop music in Vester Allé, the old rail freight terminal will become one of the hubs in the process leading up to 2017.

Trevor Davies, who managed the process when Copenhagen hosted the European City of Culture in 1996, is the project manager of Aarhus 2017.



Ib Christensen

Head of Department

Tel: +45 8940 4888




Trevor Davies

Project Manager

Tel: +45 8713 3353


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