The city of Žilina is advancing to the 2nd round in the European Capital of Culture 2026 competition. Along with Žilina, the cities of Nitra and Trenčín were also shortlisted. The results were announced today at 3:00 pm by the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
On Thursday, February 4, the project team completed a 30-minute online presentation followed by a 60-minute question and answer section in front of an 11-member international jury. Due to the current pandemic, untraditionally, each candidate city joined the online meeting from its own premises. In Žilina, the presentation team, consisting of 10 members of the project team, representatives of the non-profit sector, as well as representatives of the city of Žilina, Frýdek-Místek and Bielsko-Biala, decided to use the artistic installation called Sphéra by the local artist Juraj Gábor in the New Synagogue in Žilina. Today, the year-long process of preparation of the entire candidacy of the city of Žilina, which decided to apply for the title together with the partner cities Bielsko-Biala in Poland and Frýdek-Místek in the Czech Republic under the name Žilina Beskids 2026 and with the slogan Window of Opportunities, was successfully completed.
The international panel was composed of 11 experts in the field of culture and creative industries – from Finland, Denmark, Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, France and two members from Slovakia. The jury evaluates the applications according to six main criteria – contribution to the long-term cultural strategy, cultural and artistic content, European dimension, outreach – participation of local people, management and governance and capacity to deliver the project.
“Eight cities took on a big challenge, not only did they decide to compete for the prestigious title and prepared excellent proposals, but they did so in the extremely challenging conditions of the COVID 19 pandemic. The panel had a difficult task as well – we read the bid books, watched the cities’ presentations, then we met all the teams online, asked them questions, which helped us get all the information we needed, and then we consulted among ourselves for a while to prepare final recommendations,” said the chairwoman of the jury Paulina Florjanowicz.
Žilina advanced to the 2nd round of the competition together with two other candidate cities – Nitra and Trenčín. In the second round, candidates are expected to further develop the program, deepen their strategy and improve specific areas of their candidacy. The second, more detailed application will be submitted in August 2021. Then the jury will visit the candidate cities during September and the whole process will be completed by the final presentation of all candidate cities before the jury. The winner of the title of the European Capital of Culture 2026 for Slovakia will be known by the end of 2021.