Your candidacy

Are you a candidate city? If so, here you will find all the information and documents you need to successfully prepare your application. 

Didn't find the answer to your question? In the Frequently Asked Questions, we collect all the general questions and answers from the candidate cities and publish them under the FAQs. The list will be updated as we receive new questions.  

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This initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to more than 60 cities across the European Union (EU) and beyond. 

Information meeting

On December 1, 2023, the first Information Meeting took place at the Royal Library in Brussels.

In the morning, the European Commission gave a presentation on ECOC's objectives, criteria and procedures. In the afternoon, cities had the opportunity to meet two previous European Capitals of Culture and learn more about European funding with VLEVA.

How to submit my candidacy?

To submit your candidacy you must use the common application form. This form can be found in Annex I of the Call for submission of application. There are different questionnaires for the pre-selection and final selection. The Call for submission is available in English, Dutch, French, and German. 

Formal requirements for the questionnaires: 

  • All questions listed in the form have to be answered
  • The application must be in one or more official languages of the European Union, one of the languages must be English.
  • The English version of the application for the pre-selection should not exceed 60 pages in A4 format. For the final selection the application should not exceed 100 pages in A4.

2 August 2024: Express your intention  

One month before the pre-selection deadline, you must express your intention to submit as a candidate city by sending us an email no later than 17:00 on 2 August 2024.

2 September 2024: Pre-selection deadline

To submit your candidacy, you must send your application by email and hard copy.

Send 20 hard copies to the following address: 
Secretariat of the ECOC 2030 BE Committee 
Department of Culture, Youth and Media 
Arenbergstraat 9
1000 Brussels

Submit your application before 17:00 on 2 September 2024. 

What are the evaluation criteria?

Each application will be evaluated based on the eligibility criteria, award criteria and exclusion criteria. 

The award criteria are divided into six categories: 

  1. Contribution to the long-term strategy
  2. European dimension
  3. Cultural and artistic content
  4. Capacity to deliver
  5. Outreach
  6. Management

A detailed list of the criteria can be found in the Call for submission of applications.

How is a city selected?

The procedure for selecting a city as the next European Capital of Culture consists of two stages:

  1. Pre-selection stage 
  2. Selection stage

An international panel of 12 independent experts will assess each candidate city on the basis of the applications and hearings against the objectives and criteria of the European Capital of Culture. The names of the panel members will be published on the ECOC 2030 BE website one week before the pre-selection meeting. 

During the pre-selection stage, the panel will agree on a shortlist of candidate cities that will be invited to revise and complete their application for the final selection stage. During the final selection stage, the panel may visit the pre-selected cities.

After the final selection meeting, the panel will agree on the recommendation of one city for the title. Based on the panels recommendation, Belgium will designate one city to hold the title in 2030 and will notify the European Union.

When will the pre-selection meeting take place?

The pre-selection will take place in the week of October 21st, 2024. 

Candidate cities will be invited to present their candidacies on October 21st, 22nd, or 23rd to a panel of international experts at the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. Each city will have 30 minutes for its presentation, followed by a 60-minute discussion between the panel and the city. A detailed schedule for the pre-selection will be finalized after the cities have submitted their candidacies on September 2nd.

On October 24th, the finalist cities will be announced by the chairperson of the panel during a press conference in the auditorium of the Royal Library of Belgium.


The European Commission provides literature to help candidate cities prepare for candidacy.  

Interesting documents: 

Curious about the experiences of other European Capitals of Culture? The following website provides an overview of all European Capitals of Culture and some inside information: