A delegation of the European Union's local and regional representatives has gathered in Veszprém, Hungary, European Capital of Culture of 2023 for a study visit organised by the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC).
CoR members were invited to Veszprém by Ádám Karácsony (HU/ECR), Vice-President of the County Council of Pest Megye, and Barbara Hegedűs (HU/ECR), Member of Veszprém Local Assembly. The city, located near Hungary's largest lake Balaton, has a significant cultural impact and was appointed as one of UNESCO's cities of music in 2019.
CoR Members were greeted by Mayor of Veszprém Gyula Porga, and later they participated in a discussion with Hungarian State Secretary for Regional Development Gábor Mayer.
"Culture is a key pillar of society. During these times of difficulty, the objective of supporting culture is becoming increasingly important. European Capital of Culture projects give social cohesion a much needed boost in times of hardship", Barbara Hegedűs said.
Veszprém launched the European Capital of Culture year with a Grand Opening weekend in January, and will offer almost 3,000 cultural activities as part of its programme. CoR Members were introduced to the ActiCity project, a former hospital building, abandoned and dilapidated for decades, which will feature as a cultural and leisure center open to the public later this year.
As part of the programme, also honouring Veszprém's UNESCO title, at least one music festival is to be held almost every month during the year. On the last day of the study visit, members had the chance to visit a pop-up event venue called Gyárkert Kultúrpark, which will host concerts and performances to more than 60 foreign and Hungarian artists for the next four months, as Veszprém prepares for a busy summer tourist season.