Belfast Telegraph

Belfast and Derry City make joint bid to be host for European Capital of Culture

Belfast City Council is joining forces with Derry City and Strabane District Council in a bid to be named UK host city for the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is an annual designation awarded by European Commission to nations inside and outside of the EU.

Since it launched in 1985, a total of 56 cities have hosted the title, including two in the UK – Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008. Dublin held the title in 1991, Cork in 2005 and Galway will be Capital of Culture in 2020.

A special launch event was held in Derry's Guildhall on Wednesday.

Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor Maoliosa McHugh said: "In Belfast and Derry we have a similar situation with a number of different cultural groupings and this will link those cultures together.

"This bid is a conduit for that co-operation. It helps to move things on in Belfast and Derry and is an example to the rest of Europe.

"Every country within Europe is made up of many different cultures and they cope well with that."

Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister said: "Our shared culture is one of the key selling points, the other cities in the UK will be doing single bids."

In their title year, a designated city organises a programme of cultural events with a strong European dimension. The aim is to celebrate and showcase our cultural excellence, broaden access to culture and act as a catalyst for economic and social development. The result should be long-term transformation for the region.

In 2023 the two countries hosting the title will be UK and Hungary.

Belfast previously failed in an attempt to host the 2008 event, while Derry was UK City of Culture in 2013.

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