Towards the Capital of Culture 2026

Paltanmäki windmill, Orivesi

The next time a Finnish city will be designated a European Capital of Culture is in 2026. Tampere and the Tampere Region have decided to apply to become the next European centre of culture because we want to increase our residents’ well-being and boost the region’s vitality in the long term. The European Capitals of Culture initiative is a way for the European Union to support European cultural diversity.

Tampere and the Tampere Region’s application to become the European Capital of Culture will be submitted in April 2021

Tampere and the Tampere Region are together applying to become a European Capital of Culture in 2026. In addition to Tampere and the main municipal partner Mänttä-Vilppula, the application involves 18 municipalities of the Tampere Region: Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat and Ylöjärvi.

A Finnish city will be elected a Capital of Culture 2026 by a European panel and the selection will be confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Culture in 2021. Our collective application will be presented to the panel of experts in April 2021. On June 2 the panel will decide which Finnish city will be the European Capital of Culture 2026. That same year, the other Capital of Culture will be from Slovakia. Previous Finnish cities that have been designated Capitals of Culture are Helsinki in 2000 and Turku in 2011.

Pyynikki cliffs

Dawn Jani Birley tells basic facts about Tampere Region European Capital of Culture bid with International Sign Language.

Dawn Jani Birley is a Canadian deaf actress, television anchor, educator and a popular taekwondo practitioner. She is a fluent speaker of nine languages including five sign languages: American Sign Language, Finnish Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language, Norwegian Sign Language and International Sign.

This is how the project will proceed

Tampere and the Tampere Region will make their Capital of Culture application in cooperation with the region’s residents and experts of different subject matters. The project started in the spring of 2019 with workshops, discussions and an open survey. These participatory methods and the ideas gathered by them will be used, among other things, to create themes for our Capital of Culture application. Results of the survey have also been used in drafting Tampere’s cultural strategy.

After the themes were published in August 2019, we issued an open call for program proposals. Through the call for proposals we settled on a program for the following years and the Capital of Culture year 2026.

Birches in Ruovesi


28 May 2018

The City Board of Tampere decides to apply to become the Capital of Culture

30 March 2019

Opening ceremony in Hiedanranta in Tampere

1 April 2019

Capital of Culture application period starts.

May-July 2019

We meet with residents, experts and artists and visit the cooperating municipalities

We collect ideas through an open survey

We have a stand for collecting ideas at various events

We are involved in developing the cultural strategy of the City of Tampere


August 2019

We publish the themes of the Capital of Culture application and issue a call for program proposals

Autumn 2019 - Spring 2020

We write our Capital of Culture application

We discuss with artists, residents and experts in Tampere, the Tampere Region and elsewhere in Finland to hear their ideas

We organise events, workshops and conferences

Through the open call for program proposals we gather ideas for the coming years and the Capital of Culture year

We grow our international networks and create joint projects and productions together with our European partners


We present our first phase application to a European panel in May 2020

We start working on our second phase application


We present our second phase application to the panel

June 2 we find out which Finnish city will be the Capital of Culture 2026


Preparations for the Capital of Culture year

Proposed programming is carried out already before the Capital of Culture year and developed further

We create international collaborative projects

We deepen our cooperation with residents and experts of the region


Tampere and the Tampere Region aim to be the European Capital of Culture in 2026

2027 ->

Evaluating and reporting the outcomes of the Capital of Culture year

Implementing and consolidating processes to increase the region’s vitality

Why do Tampere and the Tampere Region want to become the European Capital of Culture?

Because we cherish the following values and goals:



Joy of Life




Tamperean ”Edge”



Social and Cultural Equality

Cultural Participation and Agency

Quality of Life and Environment

International Forerunner of Sustainable Development

Balanced Cultural Development in the Region

Culture as the Engine of Social and Ecological Change

European Capitals of Culture increase a region’s vitality in the long term

By designating Capitals of Culture, the European Union wants to highlight European values and cultural diversity as well as increase cultural exchanges in Europe as a part of the Creative Europe programme. The idea is not to focus only on the Capital of Culture year, but rather for the programme to influence the region’s culture and its accessibility, sense of community and cooperation, as well as the city brand and tourism. Capitals of Culture have been designated since 1985 and since 2009 two cities have been annually selected as European Capitals of Culture.

Let’s use our Scandinavian neighbour, Aarhus as reference. The European Capital of Culture year 2017 was a success for Aarhus in Denmark. It increased turnover of the private businesses in the Central Denmark Region of 159.1 million EUR in 2017 alone, due to increased tourism attributable to Aarhus. For each publicly invested krone, revenue increased by DKK 3, equivalent to 300%. As many as 1,965 full-time jobs were created in Denmark from 2013-2017 as a result of Aarhus 2017. So, the bid for for European Capital of Culture is also a project for economic vitality and competitiveness. Source: Welcome Future. Short-term impact of European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017

Find out more from the website of the EU programme
Lovelocks on the Patosilta bridge. Photo: Laura Vanzo, Visit Tampere