Bourges is named European Capital of Culture 2028

The capital of Cher was chosen over Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Rouen

Bourges is renowned for its compact mediaeval centre and its cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site.
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Bourges has been selected ahead of Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Rouen as the European Capital of Culture 2028.

The 12 person jury, nominated by the European Union and the French Ministry of Culture, announced its choice on Wednesday (December 13), prompting scenes of joy for the advocates of the capital of Cher:

“To select Bourges is to support the faith that a small town has put in culture for its human, social and economic development, in the hope that all members of the public will find their place,” said Minister of Culture Rima Abdul-Malak.

A relatively small town for a departmental capital, Bourges is renowned for its compact mediaeval centre and its cathedral, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site as “one of the great masterpieces of Gothic art”.

The town also hosts a major, week-long music festival each year called ‘Le Printemps de Bourges’, which sees around 200,000 visitors come to the town, more than doubling its population.

However, no TGV serves the town, which means that despite being in the heart of France, it can feel somewhat isolated.

What is the European Capital of Culture?

The purpose of the European Capital of Culture initiative is to reinvigorate cities and put back on the map, according to Sylvain Pasqua, Coordination Team Leader for the European Capital of Culture at the European Commission

“For the last two French cities, Lille and Marseille, a change of image occurred with the year of the title: they showed that they could successfully organise events of this scale and were dynamic cities on the cultural level,” he said.

France has so far had 4 European Capitals of Culture: Paris in 1989, Avignon in 2000, Lille in 2004 and Marseille in 2013.

The right to nominate one rotates between member states, with European Union candidate states also nominating a Capital of Culture in certain years.

In 2028, there will be three European Capitals of Culture:

  • Bourges
  • Ceske Budejovice (Czechia)
  • Skopje (North Macedonia - a European Union candidate state)

The nomination ensures that the selected towns receive state backing for cultural development in the lead-up to their year as Capitals of Culture. They also receive a €1.5 million prize from the European Union.

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