Skip to main content

Funds for European Capital of Culture


The European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) initiative is a major European Union action aimed at highlighting the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, as well as promoting greater mutual understanding among Europe's citizens. In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is an excellent opportunity for regenerating cities, raising the international profile of cities, the eyes of their own inhabitants and to boost tourism.


Spain with Donostia-San Sebastián and Wroclaw in Poland are the two Member States entitled to host a European Capital of Culture in 2016.

Cities wishing to take part in future should await the announcement of a competition in their own country, and then complete and submit a bid in response to the call for applications published by the authority in charge of the competition (usually the Ministry of Culture).

Budgets for ECOCs vary considerably. Recent ECOC programmes (i.e. not including infrastructure or buildings) have ranged from €20m to over €80m coming from:

  • Public authorities (city, regional, national)
  • Private sector
  • EU programmes

Cities bidding for the European Capital Of Culture title can explore all funding opportunities offered by the European Union programmes (Creative Europe, Structural and Investment Funds, Erasmus +, COSME etc.) to fund various projects included in their European Capital of Culture cultural programme. There is no double funding issue as the funding would be requested for different projects of the overall programme. Cities must however be aware that these EU programmes are highly competitive and that they would have to make separate applications for each funding requested.

Moreover, Melina Mercouri Prize may be awarded by the Commission to the cities designated, provided that they meet the criteria of the action and have implemented the recommendations made by the selection as well as by the monitoring and advisory Panels. The prize amounts to €1.5 million for each city.

For more information on European Capital of Cultures please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website

You can also read Schuman Associates interview with the Communication Director of San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to