Esch2022, a budget against all odds

By Camille FratiMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

While the first projects officially labelled Esch2022 have already been presented, the budget for the European Capital of Culture is not yet fully finalised. Sponsors remain a rare sight - but the organisers remain confident.

This is already the third time that the Grand Duchy has had the privilege of hosting a European Capital of Culture. This is unique in the history of this particular programme, which was conceived by the Greek minister Melina Mercouri in 1983 with the idea that the European Community of the time could not be solely economic.

The phenomenal success of the first edition in 1995 put Luxembourg on the cultural map of Europe and awakened the appetite of its residents for an ever richer cultural scene. An almost initiatory edition that motivated a second participation in 2007, officially supported by Luxembourg and the Greater Region, with the declared aim of changing the country's image. "Luxembourg is more than just 120 banks", said Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker at the launch in 2006.

Focusing on the mix of cultures, Luxembourg2007 is considered a semi-failure, even though it attracted three times more visitors than Luxembourg1995. As for Esch2022, centred around the concept of cultural "Remix" and the singular heritage of the South of the country, it is no exaggeration to say that the event had a chaotic start and false starts against a backdrop of essentially political dissension – but no one yet knows what will be remembered in retrospect.

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