The European Capitals of Culture project aims to present the diversity of European cultures and promote cultural cooperation. We plan to build the program for 2026 on a strong European dimension and reflect on future social issues in culture and the arts. At the same time, the program will be balanced between individual artistic disciplines to address a wide range of the public, not only existing spectators or visitors to cultural events. A large part of the program will be directed to the exterior, but also to unexpected places so that it is closer to the viewer.

The program is not only about the presentation of art and a year-round festival in 2026, but about the overall transformation of the city and increasing the quality of life of its inhabitants. With the help of artists and residents, we want to explore the future identity of the city and build it on the values ​​of participation, transparency, tolerance, and environmental responsibility.

We want Žilina to become an attractive destination that attracts creative people and visitors from all over Europe, and at the same time be a better place to live for all its inhabitants.

The previous European Capitals of Culture clearly show that the impact of this project is also visible in the field of urban development, regeneration of industrial and public spaces, or in tourism and the social and economic field.

The preparation of the city’s long-term cultural strategy runs in parallel with the preparatory activities for the candidacy in Žilina. The creation of this strategic document with analysis and vision for the development of culture and creativity in the region will certainly bring more impetus to the future, regardless of whether Žilina will eventually win the title of European Capital of Culture or not.