Will Ghent soon become the European Capital of Culture? It could just be...

Ghent is a candidate to become European Capital of Culture in 2030. This title has existed since 1985 and in 2030 a city from Belgium, also will be European Capital of Culture. The title may have started as the crown in a beauty pageant, but today, it is a recognition of courageous European cities. 

Ghent has courage and, in 2030  wants to follow in the footsteps of other Belgian cities who have already been European Capital of Culture: Antwerp in 1993, Brussels in 2000, Bruges in 2002 and Mons in 2015.

Ghent has many assets and culture is one them. The City aims to use it as a lever for social change over the next few years. However, our candidacy has an important added value. In the coming years, Ghent will create space for experiments and aims to realise specific spearheads that would mean a major step forward for culture in Ghent and Europe.

Ghent has ambition and inspires …

  • As European Capital of Culture, Ghent wants to jointly create a resilient city with physical and mental space for people to really feel at home and to contribute to active and cultural citizenship.

    • The title of European Capital of Culture is a lever for change in the city and to tackle societal challenges.
    • Ghent 2030 is and will be a story of, for and by Ghent residents, Ghent organizations and companies.
    • We opt for a model of collaboration with broad public participation, a non-profit organization with important urban stakeholders and an artistic team.
    • Ghent's choices for the candidacy reinforce European values and priorities.
  • " In many cities the title of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for cultural development and transformations. "

    — Robert Palmer,  director Brussels ECOC 2000 

Roadmap towards 2030

  • The City of Ghent has been preparing its candidacy since early 2021. Various partners were involved over various phases. Every step resulted in new insights and documents providing input for the candidacy. The city council, for example, processed ideas of over 400 Ghent key figures together with the firm Idea Consult. We searched for the ‘30 of 2030’ in a first outlook report. They are visionaries who provided an inspiring concept paper and framework of values. We started a trial within the city services to find out how culture can be used in an innovative way. And the Gent2030 non-profit association took over the preparation of the candidacy in October 2022.

  • Ghent doesn’t opt for one artistic leader or coordinator, but allows various organisations within the non-profit association to prepare the candidacy together. Along the way, it will become clear what we plan to do and organise in 2030. We have planned ever more activities over the next months and years that will ensure we can present a rock-solid case with a clear message, an attractive graphic elaboration and a programme proposal. 

    Surf to the Ghent2030 activity calendar to see what's on the agenda. (In Dutch)


  • What’s next?

    At the end of 2024 we have to submit our candidacy for the first time. If we make it to the next round, a second version of our plan is expected by the end of 2025. At the beginning of 2026, we will know whether we will become European Capital of Culture in 2030. A jury, appointed by Europe, decides who wins the title.

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