The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) initiative is the most important programme of the European Union's cultural policy, which aims to bring the peoples of Europe closer together and better acquainted through culture. The cultural year offers a unique opportunity to promote the region as a creative and cultural centre with a European profile and Veszprém as its centre.
It is important to stress that the ECoC title is not just about the many programmes that take place throughout the year, but rather about launching and strengthening long-term sustainable processes that go far beyond 2023.
In addition to genre groupings, the programmes and projects that will invigorate the city and the region have been grouped into clusters, which frame the main ambitions of the new cultural-creative region and are given evocative names. The 9 clusters - Veszprém/Busy City, Music/City, Living Region, Fragile Lake Balaton, Out-of-the-Ordinary, Bridges, Mirror Image, Future Time and Celebration - comprise hundreds of programmes or series of programmes organised by ourselves and our partners, with the aim of using art and culture as a means to respond to challenges such as bringing life and community back to our towns and cities. We also aim to support traditional and future-shaping activities in less visible settlements; to raise awareness of the ecological challenges facing Lake Balaton and its catchment area; to engage young people and stimulate their interest in culture through unusual performances and presentations; and to strengthen people's connection to each other and their environment, and the culture of coexistence.
We would like to show that tradition, the historical memory of a place, is not necessarily nostalgia for the past, but a living heritage, a living force of identity in the present. Throughout the year, we will also be preparing a number of large-scale programmes that will attract national and even European attention, while strengthening the tradition of festivals and events in Veszprém and the region. We support innovative cultural investments that will enhance the long-term tourist and cultural attractiveness of Veszprém and the region.
The opening event is always the jewel in the crown of European Capital of Culture programmes, and Veszprém is no exception to this tradition. On 21st January, the events leading up to the opening will start in the morning in several parts of the city. Veszprém's cultural institutions will be holding exhibition openings and special guided tours throughout the weekend, while at the gastronomic and community venues, diverse programmes and concerts will be awaiting guests from Veszprém, the region, the whole country and Europe.
The highlight of the event will be a grand artistic experience in the city centre, entitled Shine Veszprém! The nearly one-hour production will consist of a series of successive, interlinked musical performances, dance productions, musical events, a light show, a large-scale building projection and other impressive visual effects. The narrative of the past and present of the city of Veszprém is magical, fabulous, sometimes dreamlike, sometimes grotesque and funny, celebrating the city, a sort of 'urban fantasy'. The grand show, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of people, will close with a night-long street ball.
However, the festivities do not end here, as 22nd January is the Day of Hungarian Culture, so Veszprém will also be offering a wide range of programmes on this day: theatre premieres, teens' performances, a joint recitation of the Hungarian National Anthem and a little bit of 'Hymn' scholarship will also be part of the programme.