Leeuwarden and Valletta become Capitals of Culture 2018

Leeuwarden in The Netherlands and Valletta in Malta have kicked off as the European Capitals of Culture for 2018. 

To be attended by Tibor Navracsics (Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport), the opening celebration for Valletta is held on 14 January.

The event will be inspired by the traditional Maltese festa (village feast) with a programme encouraging artists and audiences to rethink traditional concepts of culture. 

More than 140 projects and 400 events are to be included, organised around the themes: Island Stories, Future Baroque and Voyages.

In Leeuwarden, launch celebrations take place on the 26 and 27 January, with artistic installations and performances by professional and amateur artists across the city, and with museums opening their doors to visitors throughout the Friesland region. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will be in attendance.

Leeuwarden and Valletta follow in the footsteps of Aarhus (Denmark) and Pafos (Cyprus), which were the Capitals of Culture in 2017. Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Matera (Italy) are due to take up the mantle in 2019.

The European Capitals of Culture scheme is open to EU Member States, candidate countries and European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area countries participating in the Creative Europe programme.

Image: Fries Straat Festival, courtesy of Leeuwarden 2018 by IMAZZO