The European Capital of Culture programme is a spectacular boost for tourism, with hundreds of events taking place this autumn

Two thousand eight hundred cultural events by the end of the summer; a sharp increase in the number of visitors to Veszprém, in contrast to the general trend, while the carbon footprint of visitors has also decreased. The Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture (ECOC) programme offers hundreds of cultural delights to visitors from home and abroad in the last quarter of the year.

In the first eight months, almost 1.2 million people visited the centre of Veszprém for one of the 1192 events. Across the region, a total of 2,800 different cultural events have already attracted residents and visitors to the city and the 116 municipalities that have joined the ECoC. 

The most visited event of the summer was undoubtedly the Factory'ard series of concerts and events: 150,000 guests from 52 countries came to the spectacular community and concert space, which was completed at the beginning of the summer on the site of a former furniture factory. Many concerts were sold out with more than 6,000 people in attendance, while 72 acts entertained visitors over 52 concert days. 

These exciting European Capital of Culture shows, usually lasting several days, attracted 92,000 visitors in 11 towns from Ajka to Zirc. The Kőfeszt, the most relaxed cultural festival in the Káli Basin, attracted more than 28,000 visitors, including the pre- and post-festival events. The Cultural Network, a programme to promote the cultural vitality of smaller settlements, attracted almost 20,000 visitors, while the Barn Programme attracted 27,000. The Inota Festival, held for the first time this year at the end of the summer, was an even bigger success than expected, with 15,000 people visiting the former power station over the four days. 

Not only was the attendance at the events outstanding, but the resulting tourism figures also rose spectacularly thanks to the EDF programme. The number of domestic overnight stays in Veszprém was up 52% in comparison to the previous year, while the number of foreign visitors rose by a third. In the 116 municipalities participating in the programme, the number of foreign visitors increased by 6% and the number of overnight stays by 8%, which means that visitors spent more days in the region per visit than the previous year. 

Most of the cultural infrastructure improvements planned for Veszprém and the region for the ECoC year have already been implemented, which has created a new, coherent cultural corridor. The developments, which have shaped the cultural life of the city and the region for decades, are already being actively used by residents and visitors. The ActiCity Dance and Movement Centre, the largest development of VEB2023 ECoC, which was converted from a former children's hospital, has been running at 95% capacity in the afternoon slot since it opened in early summer. The Egry József 140 exhibition, which opened on 8 June in the 120-year-old Lackó Dezső Museum, has already attracted 6,000 visitors, while the Foton Audiovisual Centre, which opened with the Hungarian Motion Picture Festival, has reached 10,000 visitors. Since the beginning of January, the House of Arts Veszprém, which presents thematic exhibitions in line with the ECoC programme, has attracted 36,000 visitors to its various venues.  

Photo gallery

Many highlights of the autumn-winter programme are yet to come:

The cultural season continues this year with hundreds of fantastic events. Veszprém has been officially designated a UNESCO City of Music from 2019, so it's no surprise that there will be more musical events taking place at the end of the year. In October, the International Convention of Violin Makers will bring together the world's master violin makers, and in the same week the Chaconne Festival will take place, showcasing the centuries-old (ancient/long-lasting) influence of this very exciting musical style. In November the Veszprém Jazz Festival welcomes fans of the genre, while in December, the Modern Art Orchestra showcases the musical legacy of György Ligeti, who was born 100 years ago, and the Gospel Christmas brings the light of the Christmas season. 

The International Jewellery Biennale opens in Veszprém at the end of this week, while Ilona Keserű’s work, the star of Hungarian neo-vant-garde painting, is on show in Balatonfüred until early next year. The Cultural Exhibition and Convention of European Porcelain Manufactories in Herend, open from October to December, is sure to attract many visitors. 

The 200th anniversary of Imre Madách's birth will be celebrated through an unusual arrangement -the Madách 200 Thought Festival- which will explore the text of The Tragedy of Man from new angles. Until the end of December, among the hundreds of VEB2023 ECoC programmes, there will also be a Night of Cafes and a Night of Literature; a Balatorium exhibition and a Smart Landscapes conference, while the Badacsony New Wine Tasting will also be held under the umbrella of VEB2023. 


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