Tampere and Pirkanmaa have now published their bid-book for the European Capital of Culture under the title Quality by Equality: https://tampereregion2026.fi/bidbook.
The international jury will evaluate on the 23rd of June whether Tampere will advance to the final application round. The results will be announced on the 24th of June.
The Tampere bid includes more than 90 program titles. The total budget of the six-year project is tentatively more than 50 million euros. Decisions on the final budget have not yet been made.
Tampere Mayor Lauri Lyly is supporting the project with all his heart:
“With this project, we intend to highlight the cultural offering of Tampere and Pirkanmaa.The project drafted from more than 700 program ideas is idealistic, magnificent and forward-looking. The goal is to have a lasting impact that will keep generating something new. The project is a tool for enhancing vibrancy, comfort, attraction and the holding capacity of the whole region.
“Yes, we have been waiting for this day and the final that will hopefully follow”, says Juha Hemánus, creative director of the bid, after the jury hearing.
According to him, the aim was to tell the jury about the distinctiveness of Tampere’s culture, its own edge, its own power.
“That is what we want to show Europeans. We also want to learn many high-quality things from Europe, and combine them with equality.”
“Everyone’s access to culture is important. It’s in the heart of every popular movement. We want to improve access to culture, we want to bring the power of equality in Tampere to the whole of Europe,” Hemánus explains.
From saunas to the Honeybees’ Highway
The very heart of the application is the cultural program for the year 2026 and the preceding years. In this first-round application, the cultural program is still a draft. All count together, there are already more than 90 different program titles, events, occasions and festivals involved.
Individual program titles range from sauna events to eSports Olympics, from natural sites to contemporary dance, from a nationwide flea market event to artist residencies, from pub quizzes to graffiti workshops for elderly.
The Honeybees’ Highway -project will create a network of pollinators covering Pirkanmaa, and the Finnish Maiden project includes dancing with robots. When you are in Tampere, there is of course a black sausage event, which also brings a variety of European blood sausages to Tampere. Many events, on the other hand, cover the whole of Pirkanmaa.
All program titles are presented in the bid-book.
The cultural program has four program lines.
Public sauna is characteristic for the Finnish sauna capital. The sauna is also a symbol of open cultural spaces. With this theme, we challenge the classic distinction between performers and audiences and open up public spaces to democratic interaction.
Revolutions refer to the edgy history of Tampere, where revolutions date back from the 1918 civil war to industrial, technological, digital and sustainability revolutions. With this theme, we address the problems of social polarization and change.
In the Wisdom of Trees -program line we come up with both local and global solutions to the challenges posed by climate change and other socio-economic problems, while creating ecological art.
Village hopping is about getting to know the surrounding area, both in different municipalities in Pirkanmaa and in different parts of Tampere. With this theme, we explore how local identities are constructed in an era of globalization.
Significant economic impact
In the application, the total budget of the project has been estimated. It has been tentatively outlined that the financial contribution of Tampere and the municipalities to the implementation of the Capital of Culture is maximum € 25 million.
The amount will be distributed for the years 2021-2027. The decision on financing will be made by the Tampere City Council in the autumn of 2020, with the municipal councils also deciding on their financial contributions.
“A more precise budget will therefore be made only when the state’s contribution is known and the municipalities have made their own decisions,” says Eija Oravuo, the Project Manager of the bid.
Compared to the local financing, an equal amount of funding is expected from the state. In addition, in total a few millions are expected from the EU and private partners.
“The amount of money must be seen in the context of time: the money is distributed to a six-year period. Hopefully the state will put the same amount of money into this. The total financing of the project is about 50-60 million. This is promising for the regional economy”, Mayor Lyly says.
Regional economic impacts have been studied, for example, in Turku and Aarhus, Denmark, which were Capitals of Culture in 2011 and 2017.
Sometimes unexpected things happen: the Covid-19 outbreak unfortunately seized the actions of the Capitals of Culture 2020, Galway (Ireland) and Rijeka (Croatia).
If Tampere gets to the second round, the work will continue with a trimmed bidding organization.
“The second round is shorter and has a different emphasis than the first one. The bidding team will be a bit bigger”, says project manager Eija Oravuo.
If Tampere is not successful, the work will continue in any case: “We work on ensuring that all the work and investment we have made together will be utilized. The project is preparing a Plan B for this”, Oravuo says.
In addition to Tampere, the bid of Tampere and Pirkanmaa includes Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Mänttä-Vilppula (main partner), Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat, Ylöjärvi