A commission of European Union Governments has introduced Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, as one of the two European Capitals of Culture for 2017. One of the two cities of Nicosia or Paphos in Cyprus is also slated to be crowned with the title of the European capital, together with Aarhus, when the commission panel releases its final decision in May next year. "I congratulate Aarhus on its successful bid. I am sure the city and its citizens will participate with enthusiasm," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Aarhus as the principal port of Denmark has traditionally had the strongest cultural sector in the country outside of the capital.
One of the most used slogans for the city has been “the largest small city in the world,” which captures its strength and weakness, trying to balance itself between the feel of a provincial town and a contemporary international city.More than 40 cities have already used the title to further their artistic reputations or wider regeneration goals, such as Athens or post-industrial Glasgow. This year's EU capitals of culture are currently Guimares in Portugal and Maribor in Slovenia. The title passes to France's Marseille and Kosice in Slovakia next year and in 2014, the honor goes to Sweden's Umea and Latvia's Riga. Belgium's Mons and Plzen of the Czech Republic will grab the title for 2015 while it will be followed by Wroclaw in Poland and San Sebastian in the Basque Country of Spain in 2016. FGP/PKH