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In 2014 the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture will be held by Riga (Latvia) and Umeå (Sweden). The title of European Capital of Culture means great investments, not only in the cultural sector, and the promotion of the city across Europe.
The leitmotif of Riga as the European Capital of Culture 2014 is "Force Majeure" which stands for a mighty power, unexpected and unpredictable, a source of inspiration that also arouses respect. Like the sea, near which Riga, often called the "Pearl of the Baltic", is located. Through this evocative slogan, the city wants to reinforce the belief that culture can change people's lives and cities, can become a tool of salvation, survival and a platform for new and bold ideas. The programme of the initiative consists of six main themes that illustrate the many faces of force majeure: "Freedom Street" focuses on issues of power and freedom, and is rooted in the fact that the year 2014 will mark 100 years since the beginning of the World War I; "Emergency Kit" offers synergy of ancient skills and modern knowledge in various forms of culture; in the "Road Map" everyone is invited to discover Riga and think about the city development issues; "Amber Vein" seeks to reanimate the historical Amber Route encompassing the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in order to create a new European cooperation network of culture; "The desire of the ocean" focuses on the human striving for intellectual and spiritual values and wisdom; "Riga Carnival " is designed to help everyone forget the ordinary and at least for a moment become somebody else, mingle in the crowd and rejoice.
Riga (fot. Riga City Council)
Umeå is located in northern Sweden at the foot of the Ume River near the Gulf of Bothnia. The authors of the European Capital of Culture 2014 programme call it "the window to all of Europe": a place open to the diversity of the continent, proudly presenting the treasures of its own culture and heritage. Hence the password and key word of the initiative: "Co-Creation", which includes the belief that everyone can participate in the creation of the European Capital of Culture programme. Events of the initiative have been prepared by associations, cultural institutions and other organizations which received support from the Umeå2014 . As a result, many projects prepared for this initiative will be able to be continued after 2014. The Umeå 2014 programme was divided into eight seasons of the year according to the Lapland calendar. Sami are the only formally recognized indigenous population in Europe, and Umeå is part of Lapland – a land called in Lap Sápmi. Actions taken in the framework of the European Capital of Culture title are the part of the long-term city development plan, both on cultural and social level, an impulse to creating new meeting places, widening networks of contacts and developing international cooperation.
Umea (fot. Henrik Olofsson)