Tartu named European Capital of Culture 2024

On 28 August, an independent panel of experts named the city of Tartu together with Southern Estonia a European Capital of Culture of 2024.

The decision was announced by the chairwoman of the jury, Beatriz Garcia, at a press conference held in the Estonian Ministry of Culture, preceded by the evaluation of candidate cities Narva and Tartu. The leaders of Tartu 2024 declared that five years of tense work lies ahead in order to achieve the objectives in their bid and offer European and Estonian audiences a quality programme that is diverse and gripping.

Mayor of Tartu, Mr Urmas Klaas, believes that consistent and consentant work was the key to success: „Thank you to the hundreds of people and institutions who supported Tartu 2024 with their advice and strength. We thank the jury and the organisers of the competition, and wish good luck to the city of Narva – may many of their plans come true!“

According to the Mayor, Tartu’s „Arts of Survival“ artistic programme looks for solutions to Europe’s big challenges: „Questions about relieving environmental and health related issues through culture and fighting peripheralisation in Estonia and Europe are important today and in the future.“ The bid book also highlights the uniqueness of Tartu and Southern Estonia. „Our activities will support a rise in Tartu’s international recognition and welfare, strengthen cultural ties between generations and further youths’ personal fulfilment opportunities,“ he adds.

Urmas Klaas emphasises that the European Capital of Culture is an open and regionally connecting enterprise that carries great responsibility: „Tartu was a candidate together with 19 Southern Estonian municipalities and thanks to this cooperation, a significant part of the cultural programme will take place in those towns and parishes, and the City Council of Pärnu supported us as well. Together we will achieve something that all of Europe will take part of.“

Chief Editor of the Tartu 2024 bid book, Berk Vaher, says that the core of the victorious bid was a solid programme of events that was considered to be attractive to both European artists and a wider audience. „Our programme and projects combine the arts, natural conservation and remaining human in a way that addresses all of 21st century Europe,“ he explains. Other notable strengths of the bid by his account were consistency, the involvement of different walks of life, well-launched regional and international cooperation and a high level of capacity to deliver.

Tartu 2024 Lead Project Manager Erni Kask confirms that in coming months, the candidacy team will work with new assignments: “The title year of 2024 is the peak of a cultural, artistic and educational programme that will have grown for many years, which means that preparations will continue through 2019.” Local and international introductions to the new European Capital of Culture have to be made this autumn, he describes: “For example, in October there will be a summit of past and future European Capitals of Culture in Rijeka, Croatia. Tartu is expected to take part.”

Tartu’s victory will be celebrated with a thank you party on 31 August in the Widget Factory starting at 6pm, where conclusions will be made and contributors and supporters acknowledged. Live performers at the celebration will be Tartu University’s brass band Popsid and OOPUS, a combination of traditional and electronic sounds. Tartu 2024’s team and project contributors will be on stage as DJ’s, including Urmas Klaas, Berk Vaher, Erni Kask, Karin Bachmann, Ahto Külvet, Erki Pruul, Tõnis Arjus, Kaspar Aug, Triin Pikk, and others.

The 2024 European Capital of Culture was chosen by an independent international panel of experts, who assessed the bids of the two finalists, got acquainted with both Narva and Tartu and held a Q&A session with both cities.

The objectives and actions of Tartu 2024’s candidacy can be found on their official home page and Facebook and Instagram accounts @tartu2024.

Source: City of Tartu

Riine Tiigi

Marketing Manager