Umeå in northern Sweden took together with Riga in Latvia over the baton on January 1st from Marseille in France and Kosice in the Slovak Republic. The title last until end of 2014.
Umeå was awarded the capital of culture designation by an independent panel on the basis of cultural programs they submitted for consideration. Inaugurated in 1985 in Athens, Cultural Capitals highlight the diversity and richness of European culture while also fostering a European identity, the European Parliament writes in a press-release.
The city is the northernmost EU city ever to be cultural capital and the first in the Barents Region. Umeå receives €1,5 million in cultural funding from the European Union for activities in 2014.
Umeå’s aim for the year is to show Europeans northern Sweden and to increase cultural exchanges between the city and the rest of Europe.
A rich cultural event program is already in pipe for throughout the year including festivals, concerts, exhibitions and shows. The Sami perspective is especially highlighted in several events. The official inauguration weekend as the Capital of Culture takes place from January 31 to February 2 with festivities and royal attendance, according to the Umeå2014 portal.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Sports in the Barents region have joined forces and established Barents Games. This weekend athletes from all over the region met in Oulu to compete in 14 differents sports during the Barents Summer Games. See our slide show from the competitions.