Magdeburg’s Bid to Become Capital of Culture
Magdeburg wishes to become Capital of Culture. That raises a lot of questions: When anyway? What’s the point? How? And can we even make it?
So yes, why apply?
The competition for the title of “European Capital of Culture” is a great chance. Getting involved in it affords the city a lot of courage to challenge itself, yet also shows its willingness to make the city prosper. For everyone, for the future. The bidding campaign is a unique opportunity to conduct a thorough stocktaking, analysing in depth the potentials the city has – as well as the challenges it faces. An opportunity to create innovative ideas for the future, fitting to its needs and aspirations. And that is regardless of actually winning the bid.
In fact, Magdeburg had already initiated this process when the city council unanimously voted for the candidature several years ago.
How do you become the European Capital of Culture?
Two European cities are designated as “European Capital of Culture” each year, a title that is awarded by the European Commission as a result of a bidding contest (from 2021 and every three years thereafter, a third capital will be chosen from cities in countries that are candidates or potential candidates for membership of the European Union). For 2025, the title – that has already been settled – will go to one city in Germany and one in Slovenia. Magdeburg will have to compete with other German cities – but not with those from Slovenia. A jury commissioned by the EU will decide in two rounds (2019 and 2020) about the European Capitals of Culture in 2025.
The German and Slovenian candidate cities will have to undergo the following steps in the upcoming years until the pre-selection in 2019, the title award in 2020, and the year of being European Capital of Culture in 2025:
What is crucial to convince the jury?
The title “European Capital of Culture” is not an award given to the city for something it already has – like a glorious past, outstanding cultural facilities, or a historical city centre. Therefore, it is not essential for the proposal, albeit still not irrelevant, to point out what we already have achieved in Magdeburg.
The award is rather a form of stipend. A stipend to enhance the entire city in all areas of life with creative and sustainable ideas. These kinds of future-oriented concepts are demanded by the jury. This will include cultural as well as social aspects; economic, ecologic and architectural matters. Young and old folks, migrants and locals, people with special needs and those with fanciful interests – they shall all get their money’s worth. And: 2025 must not be the end of it – good ideas are timeless after all. So, even now we are already thinking about what Magdeburg shall look like far beyond 2025!
Click here to have a look at the official questionnaire of the EU which Magdeburg will have to have answered by 2019.
What are the topics that Magdeburg will enter the race with?
Each European Capital of Culture and each candidate city has to find their very own topics. There is no patent remedy for that. We initiated a lot of talks in Magdeburg with creative people, protagonists of different institutions as well as interested citizens, which resulted in recurring themes that we want to fuse into a convincing story and exciting programme for 2025. Among others this will include: blank spots, imbalances, destructions, identity; Magdeburg’s humanistic heritage featuring the Magdeburg city charter but also matters of digitisation and free access to information; the industrial heritage and innovative industry; and last but not least the diversity of our nature and our society. All of this we integrated into the central theme of “Responsibility!”. And we are looking forward to continuing our talks with you!
How can I get involved?
A cultural capital is not a project for individuals, but rather for everyone – and by everyone. The crucial point in this respect is the cultural capital year 2025, which is why the question “When will it actually start?” is somewhat too early for the time being. We don’t even know the outcome of the bidding competition, yet ...
However, there will always be promotions and opportunities for those willing to contribute. Our bidding agency Magdeburg 2025 will gladly show what’s obvious but, sure enough, we don’t want to show our cards for every step – after all there is also some competition!