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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Have European culture capitals had their day?
Culture capitals
The Swedish city of Gothenberg's recent battle with anti-capitalists has hardly been the type of event to be trumpeted in its holiday brochures.

The capital, Stockholm, got the better EU deal in 1998 when it was nominated the European capital of culture - generally regarded as a huge compliment, as well as an enviable tourist magnet.

But the impact of being an EU city of culture was rather diluted last year when a total of 9 cities were nominated.

A lot of money is channelled into these events, to raise public awareness of the cultural gems waiting to be exploited in the hidden corners of Europe. But how much do the locals get out of it?

Our new Europewide debate here in Europe Today asks: Have European culture capitals had their day? Katya Adler brought together Hugo Degreef, the General Coordinator of Bruges, one of next year's EU cultural capitals, and first, the Milan and London-based journalist, Dejan Sudjic.

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

They're a great propaganda mechanism to promote the unnatural concept of Europeanism.
Stephen, US

In 1993 I was living in Antwerp, Belgian. The year Antwerp was the Cultural Capital of Europe. Still it is the greatest souvenir of my life. The ambiance was very exciting because of the performances and the visitors from all over. It was a great idea and I hope its realisation will continue and spread over to other continents.
Hans Moser, USA

European culture capitals should be further promoted

Stoyan Bantchev, Versailles, France
European culture capitals should be further promoted in order to contribute to better understanding and knowing each other through cultural diversity. We are living in a world where globalisation and its baby the "gadget-isation" are kings and more and more young people are eager to consume more and quicker, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. How not to mention here Socrates who, when looking at a multitude of wares exposed for sale in the market, exclaimed: "How many things I can do without!" What would this philosopher have said 26 centuries later in a modern supermarket?

Therefore, go back to the basics of our European culture and let's throw away a good number of all these modern gadgets and look for the genuine cultural contents which exist not only in European capitals but also in many cities and places all around Europe.
Stoyan Bantchev, Versailles, France

I think that the concept of the European Cultural Capital is a useful one in that it could be used to provide a publicity platform to minority regional cultures and lesser-used languages. Languages such as Breton, Irish, Corsican and Sami could make good use of the concept by using a local city as a pan-continental showcase for an endangered culture. Not only would attention be focused on the plight of the language - it would also be an opportunity to strengthen the idea of the language as progressive and urban. Apart from that it would be a great excuse for a party with music and like-minded revellers from all over the continent. I do feel however that having more than one of these cultural capitals at once destroys the prestige and localises the event.
Bharain Mac an Bhreithiún, Ireland

See also:

31 Oct 00 | UK
Joining the culture club
15 Jun 01 | Europe
Three shot in EU summit riots
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