Melina Mercouri: Culture is Greece's heavy industry


FRONT PAGE
SiteSearch
About us
Directories


The world's historic cities
Dresden: 800 years
Pritzker Architecture Prize
Europe's largest cities
Europe's richest cities
European business cities
History of Tirana


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa | Events |


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa are competing for the annual World Mayor Award. More


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world and questions them about their achievements, policies and aims. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


City Mayors invites readers to write short stories about people in cities around the world. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More

Melina Mercouri’s legacy:
European Cities of Culture

The European City of Culture was the result of an initiative by the late Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri. In November 1983 she invited European Community (EC) culture ministers to Athens and presented them with a project for creating knowledge of European cultures within the EC member states. At the time, the Greek minister felt that culture was not given the same attention as politics and economics. She told her European colleagues that the voices of artists should be heard as loudly as those of politicians and economists. “Culture, art and creativity are not less important than technology, commerce and economics,” Ms Mercouri said.

In the summer of 1985 the European City of Culture programme was launched with Athens being the first title-holder.

The European Cities of Culture between 1985 and 2004 were chosen on an intergovernmental basis. The European member states selected unanimously cities worthy of hosting the event, and the European Commission awarded a grant each year to the city selected. While between 1985 and 1999 only one European city carried the title City of Culture, in 1993 the procedure was changed for the year 2000. The start of the new millennium represented a special case, and it was decided, because of the year’s specific symbolic importance and as a gesture of European unity and cooperation, to award the title to nine cities.

After initial doubts about the Commission’s decision, the nine cities got together to coordinate their cultural programmes. The outcome of their cooperation was, a surprisingly successful series of Europe-wide events showing the different cultures of the participating cities.

During the German Presidency in 1999, a new selection procedure was introduced. At the same time, the European City of Culture was renamed the Cultural Capital of Europe. The Council decision of 25 May 1999 will enter into force as of 2005. The new procedure is based on a rotation principle, with individual EU member states able to suggest one or more Cultural Capitals for a particular year, possibly stating preferences.

An independent international, seven-member Selection Panel examines the candidacies collated each year by the European Commission. The panel consists of two members of the European Parliament, two members of the Council, two members of the Commission and one member of the Committee of the Regions. The panel makes a recommendation to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Within a period of three months after receipt of this report, the European Parliament may forward an opinion on the nominations. The Commission then submits its recommendation to the Council. Nomination by the Council should take place at least four years prior to the year in which the title is to be awarded.


Culture is Greece’s
heavy industry
Melina Mercouri left her seal on the Hellenic Ministry of Culture during the 80s. She was a world-famous actress, brave fighter in the resistance movement against the Greek military regime (1967-1974), a politician admired Greece and abroad, Minister of Culture for eight and a half years (1981-1989 and again 1993 to 1994). But above all, she is regarded in her home country as one of the great Greeks of the last century, a woman who was cherished and passionately loved by the Greek people.

Using her own splendour and glamour, Melina Mercouri managed to make culture part of everyday lives in Greece, a front page story in the newspapers and big news in radio and television. During her years of office at the Ministry of Culture, she campaigned for the return to Greece of the Parthenon's marbles, kept in the British Museum in London. They are the masterpieces that were acquired in disputed circumstances at the beginning of 19th century by Lord Elgin, then the British ambassador to Constantinople (now Istanbul).

Aware of the fact that the existing Acropolis Museum had not enough space to exhibit the marbles, Melina Mercouri started procedures for the construction of a new museum which is now open to the public but keeps its most beautiful room empty, awaiting the Marbles' return to Greece.

On the European stage, she initiated the foundation of the European Cities of Culture, an annual event that culturally unites European countries. At the inauguration of the European Cities of Culture movement, Melina Mercouri said that Culture was Greece’s heavy industry.


Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) - Cologne is the largest of 16 German cities bidding to become Cultural Capital of Europe 2010. www.koeln.de/
kulturhauptstadt


European Cities of Culture: 1985 to 2019
1985: Athens
1986: Florence
1987: Amsterdam
1988: Berlin
1989: Paris
1990: Glasgow
1991: Dublin
1992: Madrid
1993: Antwerp
1994: Lisbon
1995: Luxembourg
1996: Copenhagen
1997: Thessaloniki
1998: Stockholm
1999: Weimar
2000: Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Helsinki, Krakow, Reykjavik, Prague and Santiago de Compostela
2001: Porto and Rotterdam
2002: Bruges and Salamanca
2003: Graz
2004: Lille and Genoa
2005: Cork
2006: Patras
2007: Luxembourg
2008: Liverpool
2009: Vilnius (Lithuania), Linz (Austria)
2010: Essen (Germany), Pécs (Hungary), Istanbul (Turkey)
2011: A Finnish city
2012: A Portuguese city
2013: A French city
2014: A Swedish city
2015: A Belgium city
2016: A Spanish city
2017: A Danish city
2018: A Dutch city
2019: An Italian city