The preselection application of Tampere for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2026 is now complete

Equality means you provide experiences also for kids. Photo: Laura Vanzo.

The City board approved the Tampere European Capital of Culture application

The preselection application of Tampere for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2026 is now complete. The city board approved the application on Monday, April 20th.

The application (bid-book) is based on the main theme of equality.

However, the application process itself has only begun. The bid-book will be next submitted to the Ministry of Education and Culture and then to the international panel of experts by the 5th of May.

The panel consists of 10 members from all over Europe and two Finnish members appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Hearings of the Finnish applicant cities will take place between June 23rd and 24th, during which the panel interviews the representatives of the applicant cities. Based on the evaluation of the bid-book and the hearing, the jury will make a decision on which cities will qualify for the second and final application round on June 24th.

The qualified cities will develop and specify their application further during the following autumn. Based on this broader bid-book submitted in the second phase, the jury will make the final selection in 2021.

Specific descriptions of the process can be found on the Ministry of Education and Culture’s website.

Tampere is competing against Oulu and Savonlinna. Savonlinna’s application is especially broad-based, as besides Savonlinna it includes major cities from eastern Finland, Kuopio, Joensuu, Mikkeli and Lappeenranta.

The Tampere Region European Capital of Culture bid is led by Tampere. In total 20 municipalities are cooperating within the joint application: Tampere, Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Mänttä-Vilppula, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat, Ylöjärvi.

Months worth of work behind the application

Numerous public meetings and gatherings were organised across Pirkanmaa, as well as over 70 other public events to gather information for the application. An open survey was conducted to form the core themes of the bid.

The application also includes a draft of the cultural program taking place in 2026. The most important contribution comes from the Open Call, through which more than 700 program proposals were given by residents and artists in the autumn 2019. Key players in the field of culture have taken part in the program working-groups to review proposals and further develop ideas.

The cultural program will be specified and concretized during the second application round.

The main theme of the bid is equality. The sub-themes that paved the way for the open call are More sauna! More edge! More village hopping! and More play! 

The project therefore highlights, among other things, sauna as a place of equal encounters, our local, regional and edgy cultural heritage and countercultures, the richness of cultures around the region and the importance of children and youth as creators and experiencers of culture.

Moreover, the application answers to questions given in the criteria set by the EU, e.g. the cultural profile of the city, international dimension, citizen involvement (outreach), governance and capacity to deliver.

Positive economic impact

The main goal of the Capital of Culture concept is to increase the well-being and the quality of life of residents through culture. If successful, the project increases the city’s vitality and attractiveness, creates international connections and visibility, boosts tourism and, in particular, strengthens the innovation economy and the creative industries.

Tampere and the partnering municipalities have agreed upon the division of costs related to the European Capital of Culture bid. The City of Tampere and the partner municipalities will together fund the application phase in 2019-2020 with approximately EUR 700,000 per year. Once the title is confirmed, the project will receive funding from the City of Tampere, partnering municipalities, the Finnish government and the EU.

Negotiations on the budget and the model for regional cooperation for 2021-2027 are under preparation. Information on the state funding is still pending.

In line with the objectives set by the EU for the European Capitals of Culture, this is a forward-looking development project that promotes the contribution of culture to the long-term development and internationalization of the city in accordance with the city’s own strategic priorities.

The complete application has yet not been published due to the competitive nature of the bidding process.