The European Capital of Culture 2026
In 2026, a Finnish city Oulu will become a European Capital of Culture. Another Capital of Culture will be selected from Slovakia. 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.
Oulu has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2026. The selection is recommended by a European expert panel composed of nine independent experts in the field of arts and culture.
The expert panel will continue to support and advise the selected European Capital of Culture until 2026. It will publish its selection report in early July.
Three Finnish cities, Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere, bid to be nominated as Finland’s candidate for the European Capital of Culture for 2026. After a pre-selection process last summer, the three cities were shortlisted for the final selection.
Like the European Commission, the Ministry of Education and Culture publishes a general evaluation report on its own website. The report is drawn up by the European Capital of Culture Expert Panel on the appointment of the European Capital of Culture in Finland in 2026.
The evaluation report is entitled “Selection of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) in 2026 in Finland”. The Expert Panel’s report. Selection Stage. Virtual Meeting. June 2021.” The report will also be translated into Finnish and Swedish and they will also be published on the Ministry's website.
- Selection of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) in 2026 in Finland. The Expert Panel’s report. Selection Stage. Virtual Meeting. June 2021.
- The Expert Panel’s report Helsinki June 2020
Bid books submitted by candidate cities
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
- European Capitals of Culture 2020 to 2033: A guide for cities preparing to bid
- 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
- Sylvain Pasqua: European Capitals of Culture, Info Day in Finland
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)