Turku, city of culture 2011

21 January 2011 | In the news

Passing the peace: citizens of Turku gathering to listen to the traditional declaration of peace at Christmas in front of the Cathedral. Photo: Esko Keski-oja

Since 1985, cities in the countries of the European Union have been chosen as European Capitals of Culture each year. More than 40 cities have been designated so far; a city is not chosen only for what it is but, more importantly, what it plans to do for year and also for what will remain after the year is over – the intention is that citizens and the local culture should profit from the investments made.

This year the two cities are Tallinn in Estonia and Turku, the oldest city and briefly (1809–1812) the capital of what was then the Grand Duchy of Finland, on the coast, 160 kilometres west of Helsinki. The pair will also co-operate in making this year a special one in their cultural lives.

The city of Turku declared its Cultural Capital year open on 15 January with a massive firework display glittering over the River Aura. This cultural capital enterprise, with a budget of 50 million euros and an ambitious programme will, hopefully, involve two million participants in the five thousand cultural events and occasions.