The city of Rijeka, the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia, located in the northern inlet of the Adriatic Sea, will be the European Capital of Culture 2020. As the agency Rijeka 2020 LLC, jointly founded by the City of Rijeka and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County for the purpose of implementing the European Capital of Culture 2020 project, notes on its website, “Today’s Rijeka is a true port of diversity, open to all people of good will, Rijeka is irresistible and inexhaustible.”

450 events are expected to be held by 2020

The project involves the entire community in programme preparations and is based not just on the cooperation of the entire cultural sector, but also other sectors and participants in the city, region and beyond. Re-examining cultural, social and economic challenges that contemporary Europe and the world currently face, the programme’s concept shows that the benefits of culture are an important part of sustainable development. The cultural and artistic programme of Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture has been conceptually focused on three topics: water, work, and migrations. These themes are related to Rijeka’s identity while at the same time they are reflected in a way that is also relevant in a wider, European environment. They are intertwined and through the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture they create the ‘Port of Diversity’ which is also the project’s main title.


The Rijeka 2020 Project – European Capital of Culture is based on a strictly profiled art strategy with seven interlinked and uninterrupted currents. Slaven Tolj, Artistic Director has drawn seven programmeships (Flagships) that can grow, twist and adapt. Each program line leads to co-operation between two or more cultural institutions or independent art organisations. Programme directions conceptualised on the three themes are called Kitchen, Dopolavoro, Age of Power, Children’s House, Sweet & Salt, 27 Neighbourhoods and Lungomare.

Besides the production of the programme, the Rijeka 2020 Project – the European Capital of Culture, emphasises the importance of building and strengthening the capacities of the cultural sector and the wider local community. For example, RiHub is a new cultural centre, the Green Wave and Civil Initiatives programmes gather people who want to contribute to the quality of life in Rijeka, etc. In addition to numerous interesting programmes, within the framework of the project of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka will also get renovated buildings that will primarily be in the function of culture, but will certainly enrich the city’s tourist offer.

From 2016 when the project was launched, 450 events are to be held by 2020. All together in 2020 there are to be 1000 cultural events, with an additional 50 events in 2021. There are to be 27,200 square metres of new cultural infrastructure, 105 tourist attractions, 1000 volunteers, 300 partners, 100 empowered local communities and civil initiatives.