The Process Of Reimagining Limerick

Our bid for European Capital of Culture was about reimagining Limerick. The culture of a city does not have a beginning or an end. It is a continuous elaboration, retrenchment, expansion and consolidation. Limerick and its people are on a pathway of change, development, regeneration and engagement. Limerick is connecting with its people and its rich culture to imagine its future and is emerging from a quiet minute into a new dawn.‚Äč Join us on this wonderful journey.

What is European Capital of Culture?

For 30 years the European Union has designated one or more cities as a European Capital of Culture. What that means is that for one calendar year,  the awarded city and/or a region organises a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension, promoting cultural diversity and shared European Heritage. Ireland is eligible to host the European Capital of Culture in the year 2020.

The European Capital of Culture initiative is one of the most prestigious and visible European cultural awards in the EU, and is awarded on the strength of an exceptional programme of local and European events proposed for the  city/region. It’s also awarded on the strength of co-operation shown locally in the field of culture that helps promote lasting relationships within our European family.

The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
  • Increase European citizens' sense of belonging to a common cultural area
  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities

In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is an excellent opportunity for:

  • Regenerating cities
  • Raising the international profile of cities;
  • Enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants
  • Breathing new life into a city's culture
  • Boosting tourism

Where Else Has Been A Capital of Culture?

Former Capitals of Culture:

2015: Aarhus (Denmark ); Pilsen (Czech Republic)

2014: Umeå (Sweden); Riga (Latvia)

2013: Marseille (France); Košice (Slovakia)

2012: Guimarães (Portugal); Maribor (Slovenia)

2011: Turku (Finland); Tallinn (Estonia)

2010: Essen (Germany); Pécs (Hungary); Istanbul (Turkey)

2009: Linz (Austria); Vilnius (Lithuania)

2008: Liverpool (England); Stavanger (Norway)

2007: Luxemburg (Luxemburg); Sibiu (Romania)

2006: Patras (Greece)

2005: Cork (Ireland)

2004: Genoa (Italy); Lille (France)

2003: Graz (Austria)

2002: Bruges (Belgium); Salamanca (Spain)

2001: Rotterdam (Holland); Porto (Portugal)

2000: Avignon (France); Bergen (Norway); Bologna (Italy); Brussels (Belgium); Krakow (Poland); Helsinki (Finland); Prague (Czech Republic); Reykjavik (Iceland); Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

1999: Weimar (Germany)

1998: Stockholm (Sweden)

1997: Thessaloniki (Greece)

1996: Copenhagen (Denmark)

1995: Luxemburg (Luxemburg)

1994: Lissabon (Portugal)

1993: Antwerp (Belgium)

1992: Madrid (Spain)

1991: Dublin (Ireland)

1990: Glasgow (UK)

1989: Paris (France)

1988: Berlin (Germany)

1987: Amsterdam (Holland)

1986: Florence (Italy)

1985: Athens (Greece)


Did You Know That The Capitals of Culture Up Until 2019 Have Already Been Selected? They Are:


2015: Mons (Belgium); Pilsen (Czech Republic)

2016: San Sebastian (Spain); Wroclaw (Poland)

2017: Aarhus, Pafos (Cyprus)

2018: Leeuwarden (Holland), Valletta (Malta)

2019: Matera (Italy), Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

Why did Limerick bid?

Limerick is on a path of change and regeneration. We are actively engaged with social and economic challenges which will lead to growth and development. The bid process was all about widening access and participation in culture, strengthening the capacity of our cultural sector and raising our European and international profile as a result.

Did you join the Bid?

The Limerick2020 team asked you, the broader Limerick Community, to engage, to discuss and, we listened to your vision. In partnership with community groups and cultural practitioners, we developed and coordinated a series of small-scale cultural events and 'Have Your Say meetings' to inform us regarding your set of values and priorities. These activities took place across Limerick city and county and were free and open to anyone who wants to participate. 

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