The title of the European Capital of Culture was first awarded in 1985. Every year, there are two European Capitals of Culture, and in 2011, the European Capital of Culture was Tallinn.

The aim of the European Capital of Culture initiative is to demonstrate the diversity of European cultures, common features, increase the sense of belonging of European citizens to a single cultural space and contribute to the development of cities through culture.

The title of the Capital of Culture gives the city a significant development boost enhancing its international profile, but also a reputation in the eyes of the city's inhabitants, brings tourists to the city and gives new breath to the cultural life of the city.

According to the selection criteria of the European Capital of Culture, what matters most is not the previous cultural accomplishments of a candidate city, but rather an ambitious. but realistic vision of the future, a clear plan for accomplishing that vision, and the capacity to execute the plan.

All cities selected as European Capitals of Culture in recent years have been challenging cities that have mapped out specific bottlenecks that require clear and measurable solutions.