On Thursday, August 30th, the government decided to provide up to €10 million in funding of the future Estonian Capital of Culture. The Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, will submit the application for the funding for the Capital of Culture next spring, when the planning for the national budgetary strategy for 2021 to 2024 will start.
The objective of the Ministry of Culture in making the proposal for the funding decision is primarily to ensure that the programme of the future Capital of Culture will be a as diverse as possible.
“A sum of up to €10 million is a respectable amount, and will enable the Capital of Culture programme to be carried out successfully. The main thing is to think about organising an undertaking that will withstand the test of time and speak to both the locals and tourists,” said Minister of Culture Indrek Saar.
In order to ensure the richness of the programme’s content, a requirement of the funding is that the state will support the implementation of the Capital of Culture programme to the same extent as the local government and other financial sources, up to a maximum of €10 million. If more than half of the programme costs are specified as investment costs, for the construction of a new object, the state will support the implementation of the programme at twice the rate contributed by the local government and other financial sources to cover operating expenses. For example, if the budget for the Capital of Culture is €10 million, of which €6 million is planned as investments, and €4 million as operating expenses, the state will contribute twice the amount allocated for operating expenses, i.e. € 8 million.
“Winning cannot be the only objective in this competition. Previous experience has shown that the process of applying alone provides a city with a good opportunity to elucidate the role played by culture in the development of all other areas of activity, be it urban planning, distribution of investments or community involvement. The 2011 example of Tallinn confirms that anything is possible if there are enough ideas and vision. The interest in the competition to date also confirms that many cities clearly see culture as an opportunity and resource, not a troublesome expenditure item”, the minister added.
The deadline for submitting the candidate application is October 1st. Cities must notify the Ministry of Culture of their definite wish to apply a month earlier, that is, almost immediately. An international expert commission will start assessing the applications, which are received by the deadline, on 22-24 October. The cities that are chosen for the final round will be announced publicly at a press conference along with representatives from the Association of Estonian Cities and the European Commission. The cities that have reached final round will be able to supplement their applications and the final decision regarding the European Capital of Culture 2024 will be made in the autumn of 2019.
A total of three European cities will bear the title of European Capital of Culture 2024, one of which will be in Estonia. The second Capital of Culture will be in Austria, and one city will come from either a European Free Trade Association country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), EU candidate country (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey) or possible candidate country (Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kosovo).