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Three inspirations from three cities

The opening weekend of the European Capitals of Culture is often the biggest event of the year for the cities holding the title. Teams invite people from other European Capitals of Culture to come and see, and be inspired. Lessons are learned not only from the artistic program but also from the organization of the event itself.

Navigation upon arrival

For visitors of the European Capitals of Culture, navigation around the city is crucial. Lucie Moravcová, the marketing manager of Trenčín 2026, highlighted signage and communication upon arrival in the Austrian Salzkammergut: "Upon arrival at the Bad Ischl train station, we were greeted by a large sign indicating the European Capital of Culture. Volunteers in winter jackets in the colors of Salzkammergut were waiting outside the station, helping with orientation in the city and answering questions for arriving people."

Foto: Wuedara Musi, Marc Schwarz, Henrieke Ibins, Daniel Mayer

Official speeches

In addition to the opening ceremony and accompanying events, cities organize events for representatives and guests from the country and abroad on the day of the opening. Creating a space for official speeches that is equally stimulating for local, national, and international guests can be challenging. Lenka Kuricová, responsible for the artistic program in the Trenčín 2026 team, describes her experience in Estonia: "In Tartu, they handled it exceptionally well. The professionally organized event had a high standard without ostentation. In the program, we felt a strong message about the region and a very well-conceived connection of traditions with contemporary art - it was done authentically and with ease, without unnecessary pathos. They also didn't forget about quality translation to ensure that nothing was missed."

Foto: Silver Gutmann

Public opening ceremony

During the opening weekend, various programs take place – exhibitions, concerts, performances indoors and outdoors. The opening ceremony is the biggest event of the weekend, accessible to everyone. Therefore, it always takes place outdoors – in the square, on the waterfront, in a cultural complex... In Bodø, Norway, people were looking forward to a program on a floating stage at sea. However, the organizational team was worried about a snowstorm. "The Bodø 2024 team took care to inform people well before the ceremony and promptly responded to the weather. In the end, the weather cleared up on the day of the opening, and they could enjoy a huge turnout. They estimated that about 20,000 people came to see the program. In the audience, we saw younger and older people, entire families with children. I consider it a good combination of program, information, and weather," says Stanislav Krajči, who in the Trenčín 2026 team is dedicated to engaging the population.

Foto: David Engmo, Kasper Holgersen, Marthe Mølstre

The highlight of this year's opening ceremonies was, among other things, Estonian Minister of Culture Heidy Purga. In the evening, she delivered an official speech and at night, as part of the program, played her DJ set.

Foto: Mikk Otsar


Mirka Gúčiková 

Trenčín 2026 



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