Umeå Wins Culture Capital Accolade
Umeå is to be one of the European Capitals of Culture 2014. The decision was made Tuesday by a 13 member jury, made up of 6 representatives nominated by the Swedish Arts Council and the National Heritage Board, and chosen by the government.
The other 7 were selected by European institutions like the European Parliament and the EU Commission.
The only time a Swedish city has been picked before was Stockholm, in 1998. Starting in 2011 two countries share the honor every year, and in 2014 it's the turn of Sweden and Latvia. The jury whittled down the Swedish candidates to two finalists, Umeå and Lund in the south.
The 2014 co-cultural capital is a university city of around 100,000, located just 180 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Their application underlined the northern European location, and called for a broadening of the concept of culture beyond traditional expressions of the fine arts to include recreation, sports, urban development, and the quality of life in general.
But Umeå is also the home of many festivals, theatre groups, and museums. The European Union will be contributing to the year of cultural activities with a grant of around two million dollars.
After the announcement, the head of committee for Umeå 2014, Sven-Olov Edvinsson, said they'll be contacting Swedish embassies and cultural attaches in Europe, and large and small sponsors, as well as mobilizing.