Maastricht Cultural Capital 2018: what the future (maybe) holds

We students of Maastricht University live in the very heart of Europe, at the crossroads with Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands (the Europe that counts), the powerhouse of the glorious European Union, for the joy of the many European Studies students in town. The months leading to September 2013 will be intense for Maastricht, one of the Dutch cities to take part in the bid for European Cultural Capital 2018.

On March 7th I was invited to join the presentation of Maastricht’s application to the bid, organised by Via2018 at the Vrijthof Theater: in this occasion the bid book and the program of cultural events planned to sustain Maastricht’s application to Cultural Capital were revealed.

Although a lot of attention was given to the Euregio being a melting pot of cultures and a region characterized by great cultural diversity, I could not help noticing the slight paradox of the evening being presented for 3/4 in Dutch, plus an intermittent French and German translation.

Strangely enough, almost no trace of English at all, a bit counterproductive for a bid to capital of culture.

Although I agree with valuing the local cultural and linguistic heritage of the Euregio, I thought it a bit short-sighted to ignore the quite large community of expats living in the Maastricht area.

The presentation at the Vrijthof was very artistic and combined a mixture of dance performances, video presentations and speeches by the Mayor of Maastricht and representatives of the neighboring regions.


Only time will tell if Maastricht will secure the victory against cities such as Eindhoven, Utrech, The Hague and Leuwaarden.

For the moment being, the bid-book illustrates the projects and plans Maastricht will work on towards its goal to “revisit Europe”, as the slogan for the bid reads. In short the program would include four main points:

  1. Connections (physical and psychological)
  2. New forms of urban development
  3. New strategies of representation
  4. Mirroring Europe

Who knows that the time to improve the train and general public transport to Belgium and Germany has finally come?

For those of you who will still be around in 2018, or who may be thinking of coming back due to an uncontrollable bout of nostalgia, you may find yourself a citizen of Europe’ Culture Capital soon.

Better be informed on time.

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