Alongside Liverpool, the Norwegian city of Stavanger has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2008. Both cities will mark the year with opening ceremonies at the weekend of 11 and 12 January.
In the guidelines set by the Council of the European Union, the designated city "shall establish a community action whose objective shall be to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and features they share, as well as promote greater mutual acquaintance between European citizens."
"The Stavanger region's history, culture, mentality and attitudes are characterised by their European influences. This has given us the inspiration to seek out international contacts and challenges. It has made us daring. It has brought people together," says Leif Johan Sevland, Mayor of the City of Stavanger. "In 2008 Stavanger will present the most daring, adventurous, creative and exciting cultural project Norway can offer, both to ourselves and to a wider European audience. We will develop our region into a Free Port for cultural exchanges between Norway and Europe," he continues.
Stavanger is northern Europe’s largest wooden built city and was a pilot city during the European Architectural Heritage Year in 1975. An area of the city known as ‘Old Stavanger’ is particularly attractive and has received several Europa Nostra awards.
The cultural program in Stavanger includes architecture, film, music, literature, arts and more, and will also include several British acts. For full program, click here.