Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere proceed in the evaluation process of the 2026 European Capital of Culture competition
The first panel meeting for the 2026 European Capital of Culture was held on 16 and 23- 24 June 2020 at the Central Library (Oodi) in Helsinki. Most panel members joined the meeting online from 10 countries. The panel evaluated the applications submitted by Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere and heard the cities' presentations. The panel’s recommendation was that the Ministry invites all three cities to submit revised applications for the final selection.
The report of the expert panel was published on 10 August 2020 on the Ministry and Commission websites. Minister of Science and Culture Ms Annika Saarikko sent the cities a letter in which she confirmed that the deadline for the submission of revised application is 23 April 2021.
The panel visits to the candidate cities will be organized in May 2021. The name of the European Capital of Culture will be announced on 2 June 2021 when the panel meets in Helsinki. Details on the arrangements of the selection procedure are available in the rules of procedure and in the Call for applications:
- Rules of Procedure: Competition for the 2026 European Capital of Culture title in Finland
- Call for submission of applications for the Union action “European Capital of Culture” for the year 2026 in Finland
- Guidelines for the cities' own evaluations of the results of their ECOC
- Compendium of recommendations from ex-post evaluations of European Capitals of Culture 2007-2016
- Timetable for the European Capital of Culture 2026 application procedure
The European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) initiative
The European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) initiative is among the most widely known actions of the European Union. The cities receive financial support from the Creative Europe programme. In 2026, a Finnish city will become a European Capital of Culture.
The European Capitals of Culture initiative draws attention to the importance of cities as centres of cultural life. The designated city can develop its cultural, social and economic life.
The European Capitals of Culture highlight the richness and diversity of European culture and the features those cultures share. The initiative strengthens the feeling of belonging to a common cultural area.
Furthermore, the initiative fosters the contribution of culture to the development of cities. Experience has shown that the event is an opportunity for the cities to regenerate, enhance their image in the eyes of their own inhabitants, breathe new life into their culture and boost tourism.
This will be the third European Capital of Culture chosen from Finland. Helsinki held the title as one of nine cities in 2000 and Turku together with Tallinn in 2011.
Since 2007, two cities have been designated as capitals of culture each year. From 2021 onwards, three cities will hold the title once every three years (i.e. in 2021, 2024, 2027, 2030 and 2033). One of the three cities shall be from a candidate country or a potential candidate.
In 2026, there will be two capitals of culture, one from Finland and the other from Slovakia.
The selection of the European Capitals of Culture is based on Decision No 445/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. Finland will be implementing it for the first time because the selection process for the 2000 and 2011 titles was based on earlier EU decisions.
Contact point for European Capital of Culture in Slovakia:
Co-ordinator for European Capital of Culture – Slovakia 2026
Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic
+421 2 2084 2314, [email protected]
Links to other websites
European capitals of culture - 30 years (Publications Office of the European Union)