Rīga 2014 preparations for European Capital of Culture year
Rīga 2014 programme manager Aiva Rozenberga took part, along with a number of former, current and future European Capital of Culture representatives. Rīga’s experience gave rise to questions and discussions and the fact that the team that worked on the city’s candidacy application continues to work on its implementation – not universal practice among cultural capitals – was rated highly.
Much appreciation was expressed for the responsible approach of the Latvian government and the city of Rīga in providing the promised financial support for the preparations for the capital of culture year, thus confirming that Latvia and Rīga understand the many opportunities offered by the status of capital of culture and the value of the European Capital of Culture brand.
Conference participants also rated highly the Rīga 2014 ‘fiscal responsibility policy’, whereby contracts are only concluded on the basis of guaranteed funding. During the conference, it was emphasised that the success of a European Capital of Culture is not determined by the size of its budget, but by the changes it instigates in the cultural sector as a whole, long-term strategic planning and fruitful cooperation with partners.
Every year, two cities are awarded the status of European Capital of Culture. The European Union initiative began in 1985, when Athens became the first capital of culture. In 2014, Rīga and the Swedish city of Umea will be European Capitals of Culture.
The European Commission has stated that being nominated as a European Capital of Culture is one of the most visible and successful initiatives, promoting the European Union’s cultural treasures and diversity, and contributing significantly to positive changes in the nominated city.