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Travel

9 reasons to visit San Sebastián this year

San Sebastián, a European Capital of Culture 2016, is seeking to overcome its past and there are plenty of reasons to plan a trip this year. But how valuable is the title in the long-run?

As the European Culture Capital 2016, the program of the city of San Sebastián in northern Spain is designed to help overcome deep past divisions, which persist among its population to this day.

San Sebastián was one of the Spanish cities most severely impacted by the terrorist activities of the underground organization ETA. The triumph over this climate of hate and fear is one of the motives behind the city's application for European Capital of Culture.

"The people should have something that gives them some faith in the city's future," says the director of the 2016 Capital of Culture project, Pablo Berástegui.

But the program also takes up current issues such as the ongoing European refugee crisis. Coming up in March is an anti-war festival with concerts, films and theater. And in June there will be a special exhibition of 300 works by Goya, Rubens and Picasso on the subject violence and peace.

Does capital status bring long-term benefits?

Each year, two different cities are chosen by the European Union to serve as capitals of culture, planning an extensive program of events aimed at raising their international visibility and investing in cultural infrastructure.

Last year, the honor was given to Pilsen in the Czech Republic and Mons in Belgium. The most recent Capital of Culture in Germany was the Ruhr Valley region, the country's former industrial heartland, in 2010.

Watch the DW News studio discussion below to learn more about which cities have profited from the title, which have not, and what to watch out for this year in San Sebastián.

Watch video 04:39

European Culture Capital San Sebastián - What are the long-term benefits?

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