Veszprém and the Balaton Region’s ECOC 2023 bid soon ready

It is not much longer to wait for the decision that closes the second round of the European Capital of Culture bid. Veszprém has high chances of winning. In Méz Radio’s novel Veszprém-Balaton 2023 programme, anchor Zoltán Komaniczky talked with Zoltán Mészáros and Friderika Mike about the main points of the bid, its present status, and the chances of the Veszprém-Balaton region.

After almost two years of continuous work, we have now hit the finish; what remains outstanding of the Veszprém-Balaton bid are the submission of the finalised version in early November, a visit by the jury on 12th December, and a presentation to be held on 13th December, – said Zoltán Mészáros, Director of Veszprém-Balaton 2023 Plc responsible for the coordination of the bid. He added: the Veszprém bid will have to be “defended” by the project team in a live presentation; it is partly based on the evaluation of this presentation that the jury passes a decision on 14th December.

What is the aim of the bid and what exactly does the European Capital of Culture title mean? It is a misconception that we only put on a year-long series of festivals. “The goal of the bid is to forge a new type of cultural alliance between Veszprém and the surrounding area. This is why we decided to include the region in our bid. When we received the evaluation of the jury, they highlighted this fact as the main strength of our bid,” – explained Friderika Mike, member of Hétfa Research and Analysis Institute, the key organisation in the bid writing process. ”What the international jury and the EU itself would like to see from competing towns is that they produce a concept which will give the town a long-term development scheme. We do reflect on this factor, as well, in our programme: how we can use culture and its various tools to make Veszprém an even more liveable city than it is now.”

Beside the recently organised Street Cinema event, the programme includes up to a hundred similar ideas already, which will enable people to claim and use public spaces as their own, and make their city cosier. “We believe that culture and classical music are not far removed from the people; they are not unintelligible and/or often unreachable for country town and rural people,” – Zoltán Mészáros stressed in the radio talk. “We need to explore one of the specialities of our town: inspired by the presence of a colourful group of international students from many countries, an idea of promoting international cuisine has emerged.”

In the course of the interview the organisers repeated that Veszprém and the Balaton region’s chances are good, as we can enlist a number of strong points in comparison with other cities. At the same time, bidding as a complete region is not only an advantage but also a great challenge: the region includes separate images of many little villages. Next to the colourful composite quality of the region it is important to mention that the programme is based on projects which reflect on current European hot topics, and which focus on the present and on growth.

The bid is now 80 % complete: outstanding are a few technical steps, such as translation, proofreading, plus the preparation of the design, and the material is finished. The decision of the jury is due in two months.