News & events > Wroclaw and San Sebastian | 2016 European Capitals of Culture
04 Jan 2016

Wroclaw and San Sebastian | 2016 European Capitals of Culture


The European Commission has formally named the Polish city of Wroclaw and the Spanish city of San Sebastian as its Capitals of Culture in 2016, taking over from Mons and Pilsen, which were the 2015 capitals.

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Being a European Capital of Culture helps cities create a sense of community and brings long-lasting benefits to their citizens and their economies. I wish Wroclaw and San Sebastian every success as they showcase their cultural programs in the coming year.”


Wrocław 2016 opens over the weekend of 15-17 January and will feature almost 100 cultural events, exhibitions and shows with over 2,000 artists and performers taking part.

On Sunday 17 January, the main event will be held in the Rynek marketplace where four parades setting off from around the city will meet for a celebration.

Wrocław's 2016 motto is "Spaces of Beauty" - combining ideas of beuaty and metamorphosis with the city's history of transformation. Highlights for the year include: Wrocław also becoming UNESCO World Book Capital , International Jazz Day , the Singing Europe Festival and the International Theatre Olympics .


Donostia / San Sebastián's programme for 2016 kicks of with a five-day edition of the city's traditional drum festival, the Tamborrada, on 20 January. The opening ceremony takes place on Saturday 23 January and will be followed by a concert.

San Sebastián 2016 is built around the idea of "Cultura para convivir" (Culture to live together). It explores how art and culture help people and communities live together.

Over the course of 2016, look out for: the Peace Treaty exhibition , the Travelling Embassies project and the Waves of energy programme , which finances cultural projects run and evaluated by locals throughout the year.

The European Capital of Culture is one of the most high-profile cultural initiatives in Europe. The cities are chosen on the basis of a cultural programme that must have a strong European dimension, engage and involve the city's inhabitants and contribute to the long-term development of the city.

Following Wrocław and Donostia / San Sebastián in 2016, future European Capitals of Culture will be Aarhus, Denmark, and Paphos, Cyprus, in 2017, Valletta, Malta, and Leeuwarden, Netherlands, in 2018 and Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and Matera, Italy, in 2019.

Read all about the VISUAL ARTS programmes on The Art Newspaper

Read more on Blouin ArtInfo

Read more about the European Capitals of Culture programme