Tartu with Southern Estonia is the European Capital of Culture in 2024. The title year is shared with Bad Ischl in Austria (with the Salzkammergut region) and Bodø in Norway (with Nordland county).

Carrying the European Capital of Culture title is the largest transversal cooperation project between Tartu and Southern Estonian local governments and it is the main cultural event in Estonia in 2024. Preparing for the title year is a multi-year journey, 2024 will be a culmination of a cultural, artistic, education and marketing programme prepared for at least four years.

Tartu won the European Capital of Culture title with the artistic concept Arts of Survival. The concept will be expanded upon by the forthcoming European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme, with projects and large events divided between three programme lines: Tartu with Earth, Tartu with Humanity and Tartu with Europe.

Arts of Survival


The European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 concept Arts of Survival is Tartu’s and Southern Estonia’s vision for the future that values nature in humanity, humanity in arts, arts in Europe and Europe in the world more than ever.

Values and activities central to the Arts of Survival concept are more ecologically conscious urban and rural culture, education and smart solutions, physical and mental health, transgenerational connection, promoting local character, critical awareness, transversal, regional and international cooperation.

What is the European Capital of Culture?





Since 1985, many well-known European cities (sometimes with their regions) have held the European Capital of Culture title. It is one of the most important and consistent initiatives of the European Union in the cultural sphere.

Holding the European Capital of Culture title has a strong economic effect on the host city’s and region’s economy. On best occasions, every Euro allocated in the budget has made the region a profit of 5-6 Euros, considering the revenue generated by tourists, additional investments, co-financing, and the rise in the area’s prominence. Based on previous experiences, the events of the Tartu 2024’s title year programme can gain up to one million visits.

The European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 activities are planned to support the growth of Tartu’s and the region’s international renown; the population’s wellbeing and participation in culture; grow entrepreneurship; strengthen the cultural bonds between generations; develop the youths’ opportunities for self-fulfilment; cultivate an inspiring and sustainable city space and rural area; support cooperation and international networking.

European Capitals of Culture are selected and monitored by an international independent expert commission. The experts called together by European Union Institutions expect the title holder to have an artistic concept, projects that expand upon the concept and plans for organisational implementation, financing, and marketing.

On the 28th August 2019, Tartu, with the Southern Estonian region, was named as the European Capital of Culture by the ECoC Expert Commission. Going forward, the commission will evaluate the preparation work done by the Tartu 2024 Foundation’s team and decide during the monitoring process whether to grant the Capital of Culture the Melina Mercouri prize worth 1.5 million Euros.

Tartu 2024 Foundation


The preparation and implementation of the European Capital of Culture is coordinated by the Tartu 2024 Foundation. The Tartu 2024 Foundation was established by Tartu City Council’s decision on the 5th of December 2019.

The objectives of the Foundation are preparing, implementing and financing the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 culture, marketing and communication programmes, and monitoring it with partners from Estonia and abroad, from the public, private and third sector.

The current and future cooperation partners of the Foundation are the Republic of Estonia, local municipalities and their institutions, educational establishments and universities, culture and memory institutions, creative industry businesses and artists, the tourism sector, the media, social movements etc.

The Supervisory Board of the Foundation has five members: Lemmit Kaplinski (representing Tartu City Council), Kalmar Kurs (representing the Ministry of Culture), Urmas Klaas (Chairman of the Board, representing the Tartu City Government), Anneli Saro (representing universities in Tartu), Tiit Toots (representing Southern Estonian local governments).

The Foundation’s Management Board has one member.

The Foundation’s work is divided into three categories: culture and education programme division (led by Programme Coordinator Erni Kask), communication and marketing division (led by Head of Communication and Marketing Division Kalle Paas) and finance and administrations division (led by Financial Manager Toomas Peterson). Southern Estonian cooperation is directly handled by the Member of the Board (Regional Coordinator Annela Laaneots).

Southern Estonian cooperation



European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme will be implemented by the City of Tartu together with 19 Southern Estonian municipalities: Antsla Parish, Elva Parish, Kambja Parish, Kanepi Parish, Kastre Parish, Luunja Parish, Nõo Parish, Otepää Parish, Peipsiääre Parish, Põlva Parish, Rõuge Parish, Räpina Parish, Setomaa Parish, Tartu Parish, Tõrva Parish, Valga Parish, Viljandi town, Võru town and Võru Parish.

The cooperation between Tartu and Southern Estonia to become European Capital of Culture began in 2018. In April 2019, the City of Tartu and 19 municipalities signed a goodwill agreement. A representative selected by the municipalities joined the Tartu 2024 foundation’s Supervisory Board at the end of the same year.

In autumn 2020 and early 2021, after winning the European Capital of Culture title, the councils of the 19 Southern Estonian municipalities (from Põlva, Tartu, Valga and Võru counties and the city of Viljandi) voted on the Tartu 2024 cooperation agreement aimed at ensuring thorough preparation and implementation of the European Capital of Culture programme throughout the region. The Tartu 2024 cooperation agreement describes the fundamental principles for creating, marketing, and funding the Tartu 2024 programme for the years 2021-2025. The cooperation agreement was approved in all of the Southern Estonian municipalities’ councils and the agreement was signed in January 2021.

The most important activities in 2021 are:

  • The core part of the official European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme will be revealed. The year-long development process, which covered 32 projects, will be completed in June 2021. In the second half of the year, production contracts will be signed with the projects included in the official programme.
  • Start of preparation activities for the Tartu 2024 official programme:
  • - preparations for the additional programme application round, including regional application round
    - training for the applicants will take place in the latter half of 2021
    - application round is planned to take place in the beginning of 2022.
  • The environmental strategy and guidelines for the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme will be developed and presented in the spring of 2021.
  • The first Tartu 2024 volunteer application round will end and the first volunteers will participate in organising and implementing Tartu 2024 marketing events.
  • The educational part of Tartu 2024 programme will be further developed in cooperation with partners in the fields of education and culture.
  • The organisation and development of Kultuurikompass capacity building forums will continue in collaboration with Tartu City Government and Southern Estonian county development centres. The aim is to improve the knowledge of cultural operators and exchange experiences in the field of cultural management. The largest, international forum will take place on 25 November. More information: https://tartu2024.ee/kultuurikompass-en.
  • Cooperation with national and international partners, whose contribution and participation for the success of the European Capital of Culture is important, will be developed. Common interests and goals will be defined, and action plans drafted. The Tartu 2024 Foundation will build and foster cooperation relations with private and public media partners.
  • European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme will be steadily introduced in Estonia and neighbouring countries. The Arts of Survival concept will be introduced in Tartu and Southern Estonia through different campaigns and target group-based activities. The strategic goal for communication in 2021 is to lay the foundation for a network of cooperation partners consisting of different stakeholders; create tools for them; and provide them with information on a regular basis, so that they can tell the story of Tartu 2024.
  • Preparatory activities for the European Capital of Culture events agreed with the local governments of Southern Estonia will continue.

Additional information
www.tartu2024.ee
www.facebook.com/Tartu2024
www.instagram.com/Tartu2024
www.twitter.com/Tartu2024 (inglise keeles)

Fact sheet was compiled by:
Krõõt Filippov
Kommunikatsioonijuht / Communications Manager
SA Tartu 2024 / Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture
Tel: +372 58 174 399
E-post: kroot.filippov@tartu2024.ee