STA, 13 September 2019 - Ljubljana and a total of 25 surrounding municipalities have signed an agreement to cooperate in the bid of the Slovenian capital to be awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) in 2025. They are joining Lendava, Nova Gorica, Ptuj, Kranj and Piran as the candidate cities.
The agreement was signed in Ljubljana on Friday by mayors and representatives of the 26 municipalities, which comprise the Ljubljana Urban Region, followed by the opening of the ECC information office in Stritarjeva Street.
Nina Peče Grilc, who heads the team preparing the bid, announced an ambitious programme with which Ljubljana and the partner municipalities "will respond to challenges of the future and increase the quality of live in the region."
According to her, the bid is an opportunity for all potential hosts to strengthen the role of culture in their development plans, and create a new regional cultural identity by connecting artists and building a new audience.
Peče Grilc said that a successful ECC project would have a positive effect on the entire region, both in culture and in related fields, such as tourism, education, healthcare, social cohesiveness, creative industries and environmental protection.
A public call for the submission of programme concepts will be published next week, she said, adding that the agreement contained a number of commitments, including that at least a third of events take place outside the Ljubljana municipality.
Lilijana Madjar, the director of the regional development agency, said that the ECC was a "flattering title, an excellent brand and a great commitment".
Mateja Demšič of the culture department at the Ljubljana municipality added she was happy that culture had become another binding agent among the participating municipalities, noting that the region was already connected through many projects.
Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković expressed the wish that culture projects reach beyond the region, and announced that in Ljubljana, which annually hosts 14,000 cultural events, their number would increase further with the ECC title.
Slovenia has been selected to get the ECC title in 2025 along with Germany, with the other potential candidate cities being Kranj, Ptuj, Lendava, Piran and Nova Gorica, some of them with partner cities.
Slovenia's second largest city Maribor held the title in 2012 together with Portugal's Guimaräes.