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EC Monitor: Investing in Culture, Creativity Makes Cities More Prosperous

Eiffel Tower, Paris.

Eiffel Tower, Paris.

Athens ranks fifth in terms of ‘cultural vibrancy’ by city population, 29th for ‘creative economy’ and 33rd for ‘enabling environment’

Europe’s top cultural and creative cities are more prosperous, according to the European Commission’s new edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor for 2019, aimed at serving as a tool for city governments and local policymakers to best capitalize on the creative and cultural potential of their cities.

A main finding of the updated report concludes that future EU Cohesion Policy funds should be directed toward socio-economic convergence and territorial cohesion by focusing on creative jobs and innovation, transport connections and governance.

The 2019 Monitor, created by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, this year includes data based on 29 indicators and nine dimensions from 190 cities in 30 countries, and is accompanied by a revamped online tool enabling cities to add their own data.

According to the 2019 edition of the report, jobs in the cultural and creative sectors have increased in North and East Europe cities, with an average yearly rise of around 12 percent in Budapest, Tallinn, Vilnius, Krakow, Wroclaw, and Tartu.

In terms of region, Northern Europe does best overall, with Western Europe leading in ‘Cultural Vibrancy’, followed by Northern and Southern Europe.

Western Europe leads in ‘Creative Economy’, with northern Europe coming close behind, while Northern and Eastern European cities claim the best job creation dynamic.

Top performers overall in 2019 are Paris, Copenhagen, Florence and Lund in terms of population.

The Monitor also found that cultural venues are for the most part easily accessible via transport and a 30-minute walk away from where European citizens live.


Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens. Photo source: SNFCC

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens. Photo source: SNFCC

The Greek capital ranks fifth in terms of ‘cultural vibrancy’ by city population, 29th for ‘creative economy’ and 33rd for ‘enabling environment’.

In terms of city population, it ranked 1st for ‘cultural venues and facilities’, 39th for ‘cultural participation and attractiveness’ and 14th for ‘creative and knowledge-based jobs’. Athens ranked 39th for ‘intellectual property and innovation’, 31st for ‘new jobs in creative sectors’ and 10th for ‘human capital and education’ – again based on city population.

Indicatively, a number of local governments across Europe benefited from the first edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor. Madrid used data to identify which cultural and creative assets – including monuments, museums, cinemas, theatres and art galleries – it should focus its branding strategy on to improve its international ranking. This resulted in the new “Madrid – Facts and Figures 2018” leaflet promoting the city’s cultural venues.

Royal Palace, Madrid.

Royal Palace, Madrid.

“The first edition of the Cultural and Creative City Monitor proved to be a success, enabling cities across Europe to boost development by better harnessing their cultural assets,” said Tibor Navracsics, commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, Sport.

Also responsible for the Joint Research Centre, Navracsics went on to add that he was confident the second, expanded edition will be equally useful for city authorities, the cultural and creative sectors, and citizens themselves.

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