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Culture

Pilsen to join ranks of Europe's cultural capitals

The western Czech city of Pilsen has been chosen by a panel as one of the holders of the European Capital of Culture 2015 title. The city will share the honor with Mons in Belgium, which was selected earlier this year.

View of Pilsen from the university

The university city is the second Czech cultural capital

A jury has chosen the western Czech city of Pilsen to hold the 2015 European Capital of Culture title.

The decision, which had to be taken between Pilsen and another Czech city, Ostrava, was announced in Prague on Wednesday.

Pilsen, which will share the title with Mons in Belgium, was chosen after submitting a bid which was praised by European Commissioner for Androulla Vassiliou.

"I am very happy to see so much enthusiasm in the Czech Republic for the 2015 title," said Vassiliou. "Pilsen presented a high quality bid, full of energy and creativity. I am confident that Pilsen will prepare an exciting program of events."

An entrance sign to Pilsen, depicting a beer glass

The city is well-known for its beer production

Among the plans put forward by the university city, famous for beer production, were plans to convert a historic brewery into a cultural center and to build a new theater.

Chance to clinch funding

Europe's culture capitals stage a program of cultural events lasting for a full calendar year and gain access to funding to breathe new life into their cultural infrastructure. Pilsen is the second Czech city to hold cultural capital status, after Prague in 2000.

"You have a tough job ahead of you. It is a fantastic opportunity," said Ann Branch, European Commission head of culture programs.

Mons was recommended as joint holder of the title earlier this year.

The Ruhr Valley in Germany, Pecs in Hungary and Istanbul in Turkey are this year's capitals of culture. Formal approval of the choice by the EU's Council of Ministers is expected to take place in May 2011.

Author: Richard Connor (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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