The European Capitals of Culture and Youth 2014

Each year, the European Capitals of Culture bring us the wonderful world of arts and culture, making us eager to see, hear and feel the true artistic beauty from different fields of activity. They represent a magnificent story of an intercultural dialogue, the icon of diversity and cross-cultures. Therefore, we have at our disposal, 24 hours a day, 365 days Culture and Youth. The most interesting and productive projects are to be seen taking place in these three Capitals each year. 

First and foremost, they promote the idea of mobility. People are coming to see, to hear, to feel, to experience, to discover, to enrich their own knowledge upon the world. 

Mobility is educative
. Some are just travelling, some are working, some are studying newness, some love to meet other people or/and new surroundings. Music, dance, theatre, film, literature, performance, environmental art and youth events will take the lead in these cities. 

Let`s see …
After 2013`s Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia)  Capitals of Culture – and Maribor (Slovenia) Capital of Youth, 2014 is marked by Riga (Latvia), Umeå (Sweden) and Thessaloniki (Greece -> Capital of Youth)

Between 17th and 19th of January 2014, Riga was officially unveiled as the 2014 ECC. The main event was a human chain transferring books from hand to hand, from the old National Library of Latvia Building to the Palace of Light. 
…culture is important to us and…we can act collectively was the message from Diāna Čivle, Director of the Rīga 2014 Foundation at a press conference on the 20th of January. Indeed, culture represents the perfect tool for creating a diverse and constructive dialogue, a stage for creative thinking and acting. 

Umeåconsidered to be the most northerly Capital of Culture ever, is offering a new insight on an area that maybe is less known. And this fact is indeed challenging and is raising curiosity. This new cultural scene will be open for you all year round in 2014 to be explored and appreciated. 
The main program of this ECC 2014 is based on co-creation, meaning that everyone is invited to take part and bring contribution to the program in promoting visionary long-term perspectives and continuance of the cultural activities after 2014.
The opening weekend will be held between 31st of January and 2nd of February and will be marked by the key-ceremony Burning Snow that will take place around Umeälven river. It will be staged as a huge performance with lots of movement, music and lights. Also, we are welcome to admire the art works made in snow, ice and fire.  

This year, Thessaloniki is the place to be for all European youth, but also for those around the world! Why?  

-because the European societies need youth mindset to work better. 
-because youth will always make a difference just where it happens to be as in progress, sustainability and visionary thinking as well as in strengthening the European identity.
-because youngsters need to be actors rather than spectators of their time. Therefore, it is necessary to have an annual gathering place where the centre is youth empowerment.
-because youth is creating the optimal constructive scene for multicultural dialogue, a learning process that needs to be actively observed and sustained. 
-Thessaloniki, the European Youth Capital 2014 does not only host a series of actions and events, but also embraces activities from numerous citizens’ movements, groups and individuals having a common philosophy.
-because in this way, a real network of young Europeans can be created pursuing same social objectives and desires for a better Europe. 
-because it represents a space and an open process for promoting youth initiatives, sharing ideas, experiences and solutions for actions and issues in order to act at global, European, national and local level.
The second largest city of Greece, Thessaloniki is the perfect place for youth encounters. Immersed in history, but also a modern, cosmopolitan city, famous for its lively streets, vibrant nightlife and art scene, Thessaloniki is the youthful centre of Greece. 

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Edited by: Laura Davidel
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