The European Institute of Cultural Routes was
endorsed by the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg to organise seminars of
reflection in the European cultural capitals.
The action "The European City of Culture" was
launched by the Ministers Council of the European Union in June
1985, based on an original idea of Mélina Mercouri, then
Greek Ministry of culture.
european capitals of culture
This event, conceived "to contribute to bringing
people together", enables every year a European city to rise
culturally by organising all kinds of activities on a selected
topic. The European capitals of culture are a growing success with
the public and the media, often with durable effects on the
cultural and tourist development of the selected city.
From 1985 to 1999, 15 cities profited from this
opportunity and were thus proposed for discovery. In 2000 nine
European cities (Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Helsinki,
Cracow, Reykjavik, Prague and Santiago de Compostella) were elected
because of the exceptional and emblematic character of this
In 1999 the "European city of Culture" was renamed
"European Capital of Culture" (which explains the use of both
terms) and was registered by the European Commission within the
framework of the program "Culture 2000" with the title "special
cultural events of European and international importance", which
implies a new selection procedure for the next capitals beginning
in 2005. Cork, European capital in 2005, is the first one selected
according to this new procedure which consists of a community
decision and no longer of an intergovernmental choice.
In 1990 the "European Cultural Month" was created
; it is a similar action, but shorter in duration and addressing
itself primarily to Central and Eastern European countries.
luxembourg's involvement in the project
The European action "city/capital of culture"
generates increased co-operation of a multitude of actors involved
in varied cultural events: heritage, live spectacles, music, visual
arts, etc., often in partnership with other cities (in particular
in 2000 among the nine capitals). Let us quote for example the
project "Evidence, Europe reflected in archives" co-ordinated by
Maria-José Justo Martin (Director of the Archives of
Santiago de Compostella), concerning the treatment of archives by
cities. It involved seven of the nine European cities of culture in
2000 and consisted of a common reflection on the analogies and
differences on the matter.
The action "European city/capital of culture"
falls under the current tendency followed by local communities and
in particular by cities to be primarily interested in cultural and
cultural heritage questions, questions in addition related to their
The town of Luxembourg was "European city of
culture" in 1995 and broadened its actions to include the whole
country. In 2007 Luxembourg will again accommodate a "capital of
culture", elected according to the new procedure and wishing to
extend to the whole of the "Grande Région" area. Luxembourg
also accommodates the Network of European Cultural Cities and
Months, which enables its partners to exchange and transmit
information in particular to the organisers of future
Luxembourg thus chose to be strongly involved in
this action and to participate in this possibility of co-operation
with European capitals of culture. This is why it gave the European
Institute of Cultural Routes the task of organising international
seminars of reflection in some of these cities.
capital questions in capital cities
In October 2000 the European Institute of Cultural
Routes and the European Centre for Culture in Saint Jean
d'Angély thus prepared a first seminar, which tackled a
capital question: "The cultural values of European citizenship" and
was held in Santiago de Compostella, European Cultural Capital in
In December 2002 the second stage will be
developed; it was initially envisaged to take place in 2001 in
Porto (European Capital of Culture 2001, together with Rotterdam),
but it will be held in Bourglinster, in Luxembourg, country of
three borders, in agreement with the selected capital question
"Society and Industrial Heritage". The "Grande Région" (Saar
- Lorraine - Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg - the Rhineland-Palatinat -
the Wallonny Region / the French-speaking Belgian community - the
German-speaking Belgian community) is indeed one of the top places
of heritage in the fields of iron and steel industry and of mining.
It was in its heart that the European Coal and Steel Community
(ECSC) was launched to last for fifty years.
In 2002 was celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of
ECSC and thus the expiry of the treaty that gave birth to it; it is
therefore an ideal year to celebrate the selected topic "Society
and Industrial Heritage".