The prestigious title of European Youth Capital is given to one city for 12 months to showcase its culture, social and development in a youth-focussed context. Held since 2009 the year-long events and festivals really showcase youth culture in a positive way focussing on specific issues.
European Youth Capital Cities 2009 – 2015
2009 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – The Dutch city of Rotterdam is currently bidding to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics and was the very city to host the European Youth Capital honour in 2009. Rotterdam was also the European Capital of Culture in 2001 and has a lively multicultural atmosphere. The second largest port city in the world offers some top cultural highlights. Browse the Rembrandts and Warhols at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; admire the architectural wonder of the Erasmus Bridge and ascent the 238 foot Euromast Tower for spectacular panoramic views over the Netherlands.
2010 – Turin, Italy – Sophisticated Turin is known as Torino in Italian. As the fourth largest city in Italy and the capital of the Piedmont region, there is a wealth of culture to amply highly why Turin was chosen as a European Youth Capital. In 2010 special youth led events were held at the mighty Juventus Stadium and the central square at Piazza San Carlo. Other things to do in Turin include exploring the city’s Royal Palaces (of which there are many), catching a glimpse the famous Shroud of Turin and visiting the exquisite Basilica di Superga.
2011 – Antwerp, Belgium – The second city in Belgium hosted the European Capital of Culture in 1993. Considered a trendy hotspot, Antwerp boasts a stunning cathedral, ancient cobbled lanes and plenty of traditional shops and restaurants. Many travellers will arrive at the impressive neo-Baroque Central Station. Cultural highlights include the Baroque Carolus Borromeus Church which was built in the 1600’s by the Jesuits and the imposing Cathedral of Our Lady, which spans 2.5 acres and rises to 403 feet.
2012 – Braga, Portugal – In northern Portugal, the city of Braga is considered one of the oldest Christian settlements in the world. And to celebrate hosting the European Youth Capital in 2012, the city put on an impressive range of events and programs. Portuguese cultural highlights include the 18th century Church of the Good Jesus, the wealth of Baroque churches and the 18th century aristocrat’s palace which now serves as the Municipal Museum.
2013 – Maribor, Slovenia – Fresh from hosting the European Capital of Culture in 2012, Maribor is also hosting the European Youth Capital this year. The second largest city in Slovenia in Southern Europe is holding a year of creativity, integration and volunteering. Highlights this year include the Students goulash-feast, Social Erasmus Project and the M.bike program. Cultural highlights of Maribor include the Franciscan Church, the Three Ponds City Park and the ancient ruins of the Water Tower.
2014 – Thessaloniki, Greece – In 2014 the second largest city in Greece, known as Thessalonica and Salonica, will host the prestigious youth title. The cultural capital in northern Greece offers a very hip and happening atmosphere with plenty going on. There’s boutique shopping, lively nightlife and a plethora of festivals and events taking place. Cultural highlights include the gigantic 5th century Church of Agios Dimitrios, the modern Museum of Byzantine Culture with over 3,000 artefacts and the central Aristotelous Square. Thessaloniki also hosted the European Capital of Culture in 1997.
2015 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – The second largest city in Romania is known simply as Cluj and will play host as the Youth Capital in 2015. Cluj-Napoca, rather aptly, has a vibrant and youthful outlook thanks to the abundance of students studying here. There’s plenty going on as well with football, opera and the café-culture popular pastimes. Visitors come to explore the 10,000 plants species at the Botanical Garden, catch a performance at the National Theatre and kayak and hike around the beautiful Fantanele Lake.