Frequently Asked Questions
- The title is awarded annually to two cities in two different EU member states. Cities in individual countries always compete only with each other, Slovak with Slovak. In 2026, the title will be awarded to one Slovak and one Finnish city.
- The selection takes place in two rounds. In the first round, the cities present a preliminary idea of the program, long-term benefits of the title for the city, a marketing strategy, list of investments, etc. Usually 3 or 4 cities advance to the second round, to further deepen their strategy and projects, and a few months later they present it again to the jury, who will also visit the city.
- Applications are judged by an international jury composed of twelve cultural experts from all over Europe, selected by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of regions of the EU, as well as 2 representatives from the hosting member states.
Why does Žilina need the title of European Capital of Culture? Aren't there more important challenges?
- This is an opportunity to reform the city across sectors, improve cooperation between individual actors. The project has a strong mobilising power and If we are to be successful, we must unite and work together towards a common goal.
- The title accelerates the reform process – we know that in 2026 we must be prepared to receive thousands of artists and visitors. The infrastructure, transport, cultural and human capacities must be prepared. When we have a clear goal, a milestone ahead of us, there is greater will to mobilize capacities and capital across sectors. Normally, reform efforts are partial – the ECOC is an opportunity to join all of them and thus accelerate the whole process.
- Culture and art are a way to look at the challenges that the city faces in other areas, e.g. in industry, tourism, environmental issues, urbanism, etc.
- Žilina has a unique location on three borders with huge economic, socio-political and cultural potential, which we can now discover and fully use.
- The choice to run as Beskids might be surprising to some. But it is an opportunity to involve the whole region, and to connect with the various communities that have impacted our identity, from Rajec and Kysuce, through Goral and Orava to Moravia and Silesia.
- In addition to all that, the E75 motorway will change relations between the participating cities – not only economic, but also cultural and social. Bielsko-Biała and Frýdek Místek will be closer.