The development of the annual European Capital of Culture programme began in 1985. The idea was to create a platform to help identify and recognize the cultural variety throughout Europe, and was initiated by the famous actress, Melina Mercouri, who was the Minister of Culture of Greece at that time. Over a period of more than 30 years, the programme has improved in quality and become one of the European Union’s flagship projects aimed at cultivating culture and promoting the regeneration processes of cities, including tourism as well as the international integration of cities. The title of the European Capital of Culture is granted every year to only one city in two EU countries. The designated city is announced at least 5–7 years before the actual capital of culture year, since the programme guidelines encourage the cities to use the capital programme as an integral measure for implementing the long-term strategic goals of the city, and the implementation of the programme takes a lot of time to plan for it. The European Capital of Culture programme is usually supported by national, regional and municipal authorities as well as the European Union. It is an open secret that these programmes accumulate large budgets, and the monitoring of previous capital of culture programmes has shown that the amount of the economic benefit generated exceeds the amount of investment by 6 to 8 times, as well as an increase of the number of jobs, newly attracted investments, and a significant increase in the flow of tourists. The title of the European Capital of Culture is a unique opportunity for a city and its residents to find, strengthen and establish a new identity through the creation of culture and active participation: to highlight advantages, to discover and create traditions, to become satisfied with yourself, neighbours and your city, to open up to Europe, and to discover Europe in yourself.

The title of the European Capital of Culture for the year 2022 will be granted to one of the candidate cities of Lithuania.

The competition for the title of the European Capital of Culture was announced in Lithuania in July of 2015. It is being held by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with the procedure established by the European Commission. Following submission of the application on 24 June 2016 at the end of summer, the Kaunas team will present it to an international commission consisting of representatives delegated by European institutions. However, this is not the end of the competition. Having completed the first stage, we will receive some time for improvement of the application and the specification of projects by taking into consideration the comments provided by the jury. It is likely that the decision of the commission on which of the candidate cities of Lithuania shall be granted this title will be announced at the beginning of 2017, following its review of the specified offers provided by the candidates. Until this time, the city’s analysis, reflections and generation of creative ideas uniting many organizations, like-minded people and the representatives responsible for development of the city for the common purpose will be continued.

The idea to become a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture was brought to Kaunas by local cultural operators who are highly supported by the local self-government. The initiating team consisted of representatives from various fields of activities, such as sports, history, art, journalism and philosophy, and preparation of the application is being coordinated by the division which has been specially established for this purpose at Kaunas Culture Centre “Tautos namai” (Home of the Nation).

We invite you to contribute to the preparation of the European Capital of Culture programme with your thoughts and proposals, and to share your experience and contacts in order to develop the programme of events for the year 2022 which will involve the entire community of the city and attract international attention to it.
We invite cultural operators, artists and organizers of community activities, along with all the residents of the city who are willing to contribute their proposals and ideas, to send us a brief description by filling in this QUESTIONNAIRE.
You may become one of the sponsors of Kaunas as the European Capital of Culture. We invite business enterprises and persons willing to accept commercial offers to contact us.
Please write, call and invite us to your meetings.