Flood of Ideas: Nearly 700 Proposals for the Capital of Culture Programme

"More Sauna!" was one of the themes for Tampere and Tampere Region's bid for the title of Capital of Culture. Guests enjoying the sauna at Lake Tohlopinjärvi. Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere.

Flood of Ideas: Nearly 700 Proposals for the Capital of Culture Programme

Tampere and Tampere Region’s application for the title of European Capital of Culture proved inspiring: Via the proposal form and email, nearly 700 – or 693 to be exact – proposals were submitted for the programme of the Capital of Culture year.

Additionally, a couple hundred more suggestions have been collected from elsewhere such as community events.

“We are happy and proud that our open call for programme proposals has resonated in Tampere and around Tampere region. I hope we manage to develop these proposals into a high-class cultural programme.”

“We still have a calm and clear eye on the goal. There is no room for over-confidence, as this is a competition decided by a European panel,” Juha Hemanus, Creative Director of the bid for Capital of Culture says.

Programme proposals for the Capital of Culture year were asked to be submitted via a specific form in the tampereregion2026.fi web site. The open call was originally set to end last Tuesday, but due to a last-minute flood of proposals, the deadline was extended until Sunday evening, October 20th.

As the call was open, proposals have been received from artist, artist institutions, communities and private citizens alike. No single proposal will be made public this time, as they are confidential at this stage.

Next, 13 programme teams compiled from experts in various fields begin sifting through the proposals. These programme teams aim to promote and develop promising ideas into the cultural programme.

The cultural programme will be drafted into the bid-book. Next spring, the bid-book will be submitted to the European panel of experts.

The cultural programme requires new programme ideas, as no existing cultural offering in any of the applying cities is enough to win the ECOC title. It is “awarded on the basis of a specific programme over and above the normal cultural activity of a city,” EU’s guide for bidding cities states.

Tampere Has Two Competitors

Based on a two-stage selection process, the panel will decide which city in Finland will be designated European Capital of Culture in 2026. The final selection will be made in early 2021.

Tampere and Tampere Region’s bid for the European Capital of Culture title now includes a total of 19 municipalities. New municipalities have joined in at the last minute. The latest to join were Urjala and Kuhmoinen.

In addition to Tampere and Tampere region, Oulu and Savonlinna are also vying for the title. Savonlinna’s bid is notably broad-ranging, as it also includes Mikkeli, Kuopio, Joensuu and Lappeenranta.