Slovak city Trenčín was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2026 with the slogan Cultivating Curiosity. This happened after almost two years of intensive preparation and two selection rounds. In the finals, Trenčín opponents were Slovak cities Nitra and Žilina. Trenčín’s ECoC twin is the Finnish city Oulu.
"Trenčín to be the European Capital of Culture 2026 is another piece in the mosaic of our city's transformation that we began eleven years ago. The title gives us the opportunity to accelerate the planned change and prove that our city and region have a huge potential to become modern, open, European,"said the mayor of Trenčín Richard Rybníček.
With the support of partners in the region, in Slovakia and in Europe
He emphasized that the Trenčín 2026 bid was successful thanks to the support of partners: the Trenčín Self-governing Region, all cities in the region, the Zlín Region, ministries of culture, defense, foreign affairs, A. Dubček University of Trenčín and individuals from volunteers and the corporate sector.
As the key moment the mayor sees the connection with European partners as well as the efforts and activity of a wide range of organizations and institutions in the region and in Slovakia. There is a huge potential in the region - filmmakers, creative entrepreneurs, visual and performative artists, folklore, a strong independent music scene, experienced cultural organizers… Many natives see winning the title as an impulse to return to the region and work there.
During the preparation of the project, Trenčín entered a completely different dimension - the European dimension. Its presence in the program was crucial for the jury and required more than local knowledge and experience. Team of Trenčín 2026 approached experts from the region, from Slovakia, from Europe and the world. Trenčín built fruitful partnerships with ECoC cities, European institutions and organizations from abroad. 221 artists and curators from 19 countries have enriched their programme.
The next steps
"We are very happy, moved and very tired. We hoped, we believed, and now it is a reality. Thank you to all those who have dedicated their time, knowledge and experience in the candidacy process. We are in it together and we are moving on. We also thank Nitra and Žilina, you were strong opponents who kept us on our toes. We are grateful that we were on this journey together, ”said project manager Lucia Dubačová.
"We are ready to start the implementation of the Trenčín European Capital of Culture 2026 program from January 2022 under the auspices of the non-profit organization Creative Institute Trenčín (CIT). From the beginning of the year, we will launch a transparent open call procedure, first for the executive and artistic director, and later for other positions as well, ” Dubačová explained the following steps.
The program of Trenčín's candidacy for the European Capital of Culture 2026 can be downloaded at www.trencin2026.sk in the Bid book section. In addition to the Slovak and English versions, an easy-to-read version is also available. It contains simple text, bigger letters and pictograms, so that the content of the project can be accessible to everyone.