In 2020, during the Croatian EU Presidency, Rijeka will be the EU Culture Capital. Considering that the city is the largest Croatian port, and holds a history of diversity and cultural coexistence, it was named Port of Diversity.
To be EU culture capital, Rijeka invested resources in culture and cultural heritage, paying particular attention to the social dimension, considering culture as one of the main tools for urban and economic regeneration. Such investments included buildings renovation, cultural calendar and a strong emphasis on education.
At the former Rikard Benčić factory on Krešimirova Street in Rijeka, three industrial heritage buildings are being renovated and will be repurposed into cultural buildings that will house: The City Museum of Rijeka, the Rijeka City Library and the Children’s House, the first building of its kind in Croatia, dedicated to the development of creativity in children. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has already moved into the Benčić complex, which was refurbished in the first phase, and will continue its expansion into the remaining areas in the current building. The Galeb ship is also being renovated and repurposed as a museum ship, a cultural and tourist attraction of Rijeka.
The premises of RiHub on Grohovac Street have been refurbished to become an information centre for the European Capital of Culture and a place for bringing citizens together, conducting training sessions, coworking and developing creativity, thus acting as a nursery of the creative city. In 2020, the ECoC press centre for Croatian and foreign reporters will also be relocated there.
Exportdrvo at Delta, a large industrial building that will host a significant portion of the ECoC programme in 2020, is being refurbished in cooperation with the Port Authority.
The cultural programme of the European Capital of Culture will bring about additional refurbishments as part of the Sweet & Salt flagship, redeveloping areas by the sea (salt) and the Rječina River (sweet). Also, along the coast and in Rijeka itself, renowned and acclaimed international and Croatian artists are creating and installing various permanent art sculptures. Thus the European Capital of Culture programme provides a new cultural tourism route in Kvarner as part of the Lungomare Art flagship.
The cultural programme in 2020 introduces Rijeka and its distinctive features to Europe, while at the same time placing current European cultural and social issues at the forefront. The three main programme themes were chosen as symbols of the intertwining identities of Rijeka and contemporary Europe: water, work and migration. These themes appear in the programme in a variety of ways – exhibits, shows, operas, conferences, concerts, festivals, visits by international and Croatian artists, projects undertaken by local associations, the renovation of spaces and the installation of sculptures, book promotions and meet-and-greets with the citizens of Rijeka, the region, Croatia and Europe.
Due to COVID-19 outbreak and the confinement measures, the majority of the activities of EcoC 2020 are currently temporarily suspended and under revision and reorganisation. Therefore we invite you all to visit the website to discover more about Rijeka ECoC 2020 and stay updated on the rescheduled events and programme flagships.
We trust that the coronavirus situation will soon be overcome, thus permitting the realisation of the diverse cultural, social and artistic programme of Rijeka ECoC 2020.