‘Revisiting Europe’ is the theme of Maastricht & Euregio’s bid to become European Capital of Culture 2018. Maastricht & Euregio 2018 wants to make a contribution to the renewal of Europe by means of culture. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992/93 contained a brief section on culture. Twenty-five years after the Treaty was concluded, Maastricht & Euregio 2018 wants to rewrite this forgotten section in collaboration with the citizens of Europe and the other transnational Euregios.
One of the key values that forms part of Europe’s significance in a global context is culture. Because of their centuries-long transnational experience and thanks to their geographical
position at the point where three countries, several languages and several cultures meet, Maastricht and the Euregio Meuse-Rhine have a specific expertise when it comes to Europe and European culture.
Maastricht & Euregio 2018 is working on realising the vision
of “Revisiting Europe” with a draft programme and four
- Speaking in Tongues: We communicate not only in French, German or Dutch, but also through body, visual, musical and other languages. We speak many languages and yet still understand each other.
- Remembering the Future: Our programme will show how we link cities, landscapes, customs and rituals of the past to the present and the future.
- Mirroring Europe: Our programme will, using all the resources of the arts, to open up our horizon to Europe and the whole world and reflect European identity.
- Living Europe: There are many variations of the Europe in which we live. Our programme aims to help to realise the vision of a “Living Europe”.
Based on our transnational experience of cultural diversity and, as a testing ground for European identity, Maastricht & Euregio 2018 wants to initiate and write a new cultural chapter of the Maastricht Treaty. The Capital of Culture 2018 should be a driving force and a platform for the cultural contract. Maastricht & Euregio 2018 therefore invites all the citizens of Europe to take
part in the “contrat culturel”, especially the 3.9 million residents of the Euregio and the citizens of the Europe-wide network or other Euregios.
The traditional mentality of the people in the Euregio unites the individualism and creativity of the Dutch, the savoir vivre of the Walloons and Flemish-German efficiency. For example, Maastricht & Euregio 2018 is keen to exploit the available potential of public participation involving all of Maastricht (the Tout Maastricht project). The citizens of the Euregio don’t just consume culture, they create it.
The digital media will play a special part in all the work of Maastricht & Euregio 2018. The digital revolution of recent years brought about by Social Media, new forms of digital art and portals through which to disseminate creative ideas have radically changed our society and its understanding of participation. It is precisely ‘Generation Maastricht’, which has grown up from the outset with no borders, with multiple languages and with digital media, that is always finding new creative ways of contacting like-minded people throughout Europe and the world. “Generation Maastricht” is the group of young people who were born in or after 1992 when the Maastricht Treaty was signed. This generation mainly communicates by sharing – and, in these Internet times, sharing means multiplying, enlarging and reaching a lot of people. We want to use these new ways of participating and communicating.
The Euregio Meuse-Rhine is a landscape on a human scale. The region’s medium-sized cities with their close-knit, varied cultural infrastructure and its scenic green landscape provide a
high quality of life for its residents and are attractive to tourists. The Euregio itself is easily accessible by all forms of transport. Despite this, the inadequate public transport infrastructure
within the Euregio is a major challenge for the future. Maastricht & Euregio 2018 wants to invest in improving public transport links to enable young people in particular to observe culture on
the other side of national borders.
The total cost of European Capital of Culture Maastricht & Euregio 2018 has been estimated at €80 million for the period up to 2019, of which €20 million each will be contributed by the Municipality of Maastricht, the province of Dutch Limburg and the partners in the Euregio (in particular the cities involved). Sponsors and the Dutch government, will each contribute €10 million, including EU funding. Going by the experience of previous capitals of culture, each euro invested brings in at
least six euros in income.
Some targets and aimed-for results:
- Not a festival, but a long-term project (2017-2019) involving ongoing stimuli to transform the city and the Euregio from an industrial region to a knowledge region with a good quality of life, good public transport links and close cooperation, especially among cultural institutions.
- Culture to be an essential vehicle for imagination and innovation, for critical thinking and the translation of culture to everyday life in order to gain wide support among the population.
- At least 8 million visitors, of which 20% staying more than one day. The ratio of one-day to multi-day visits to be improved from 90%/10% to 80%/20%, the occupancy rate of hotels after 2019 to increase by at least 10% on a permanent basis – provided that the cultural offering throughout the Euregio remains interesting and innovative.
- Each euro invested brings in at least six euros in income. With a planned budget of €80 million, the direct income should amount to almost €500 million.
- The financing model to be based on public-private partnership. Undertaking to be given by the business community after the Capital of Culture title is awarded.
The driving force behind the bid is the Maastricht Capital of Culture 2018 Foundation. It has commissioned 19 “explorations”, initiated 26 study projects, actively involved more than 4,700 actors (approximately 25,000, counting members of the public), made numerous public presentations, mobilised some 350 cultural workers, set up seven working groups in various cities in the Euregio, involving 250 people, which have developed 158 programme proposals.
The next stage in the bidding process is for the city councils and other public bodies to approve the bid book by 1 July 2012 (Maastricht by 18 September). The bid book and the completed
questionnaire must be officially submitted to the EU Commission on 29 October 2012. The VIA2018 team must present the bid to the EU jury between the end of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. It will then be announced whether Maastricht & Euregio 2018 has reached the second round. The final decision will be taken by the EU jury after a visit to the candidates in September 2013.