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Archive for european union

Crossing at the Meuse

By Linda Tancs

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland. The city’s name, derived from Latin, means “crossing at the Meuse.” Indeed, the ancient city is located on both sides of the Meuse River. It might be better known as the birthplace of the European Union: a treaty was signed there in 1992, establishing the European Union and its currency, the Euro. The capital of Holland’s southernmost region, Limburg, it’s prized for the local delicacy—a pie (vlaai) filled with marmalade.

The 2017 European Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

For over 30 years now, the European Union has designated a couplet of cities as cultural capitals for the calendar year. This year’s honorees are Aarhus in Denmark and Pafos in Cyprus. The Danes are celebrating their heritage and what it means for the future of tourism in Central Denmark in a campaign titled “Let’s Rethink.” They’ll be examining their contributions to art and culture and strengthening the identity of their region. Highlights include a unique collaboration with the Royal Danish Theatre and Moesgaard Museum to present Red Serpent – a spectacular outdoor performance of a captivating tale of a hero from the Viking Age. The year will also feature the Danish National Opera’s premiere of Janne Teller’s prize-winning Danish novel for young people, “Nothing.” The ambitious agenda in Pafos (birthplace of Aphrodite) is to open every nook and cranny of the ancient coastal city into an outdoor cultural hall—an open-air exhibition of sorts. But that’s not to diminish the indoor venues, especially in the cooler months. Look for a variety of activities in the archaeological museum, the old Othello cinema, the Markideio Theatre and the art gallery.

The 2016 European Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

New year, new cultural pursuits. The European Union’s honorees for 2016 Capitals of Culture are the Spanish city of Donostia-San Sebastian and Wroclaw, Poland’s fourth largest city. San Sebastian, the third largest city in the Basque Country, is focusing their agenda on a community of culture to foster peaceful coexistence. Seeking to link the two cultural capitals, Wroclaw’s opera director is planning a massive Spanish folk musical at the local stadium, featuring 50 dance groups and 80 choirs performing under the direction of a Spaniard. What a perfect way to promote understanding through culture and the arts.

The 2015 European Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

Welcome to a new year and two new European Union capitals of culture:  Mons in Belgium and Pilsen in the Czech Republic.  The major exhibitions in Mons feature Van Gogh’s emergence as an artist in the Borinage, the poetic metamorphosis of Paul Verlaine, and the Battle of Lumecon in the main square where St. George slays the dragon.  The opening ceremony for Mons 2015 will be held on 24 January.  Like Mons, Pilsen will promote great personalities associated with the city, like Jiří Trnka (the Walt Disney of the East), Ladislav Sutnar (a pioneer in information graphics) and the architecture of Adolf Loos.  The festivities officially launch in Pilsen on 17 January.

Europe’s Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

The European Commission’s picks for this year’s capitals of culture are Riga and Umeå.  Riga, the Latvian capital, is the largest city in the Baltic region.  Its covered market is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.  Umeå, in northern Sweden, is the northernmost city selected by the EU for this annual honor.  During the weekend of 31 January to 2 February, Umeå will inaugurate the year with a spectacular Burning Snow music and dance recital on and around Umeälven River.  Riga promises 365 days of enjoyment of Latvian music, fine arts, cinema and pop culture.  The cities are also planning several joint projects to celebrate their capital of culture year.

European Capitals of Culture

By Linda Tancs

Marseille-Provence in France and Košice in Slovakia ring in 2013 as the year’s European capitals of culture.  The cultural heart of Marseille Provence includes an area stretching from Martigues to La Ciotat.  As usual, the opening ceremony in each city promises to be a spectacular kick-off event.  In Marseille, the opening is a two-day event on 12 and 13 January.  The twelfth features such events as a flyover of Patrouille de France, an art trail in Aix, and the Grande Clameur (a wall of sound incorporating ships’ sirens, bells and fog horns).  The thirteenth offers treasure hunts across the region and a fireworks display at dusk over the Rhone at Arles.  Košice will likewise inspire with a two-day opening beginning on 19 January.  One of the most architecturally significant symbols in old Košice is the indoor pool, a structure experiencing an exciting makeover as an art and media showcase thanks to aid from the European Commission and the European  Capital of Culture project.

A Shard of Glass in London

By Linda Tancs

If you thought the views from the London Eye were amazing, wait until the viewing galleries for The Shard at London Bridge Quarter open next February.  Hailed as a vertical city, the glass pyramid undergoing final construction in London will offer 40 mile views across the city.  The Shard is the EU’s tallest building at 1017 feet.   You can pre-register now for updated visitor information.

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