In 2023, the city of Veszprém in Western Hungary and the Bakony-Balaton region will be the European Capital of Culture, alongside Timișoara, Romania, and Eleusis, Greece. The title is accompanied by a year-long series of events, the opening of which was held in Veszprém over the weekend. The event was attended by Hungarian President Katalin Novák and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic.
The cradle of culture is also family, and Hungarian and European culture are also rooted in the family, said Hungarian President Katalin Novák at the official opening of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture program in Veszprém on Saturday.
“We, Hungarians, are building unceasingly. We know that we must not only preserve, protect, and pass on what our predecessors have bequeathed to us, but also enrich it,” said Novák. She added that all that is needed is someone to pass on the rich heritage and someone to take it on.
President Novák pointed out that
in the current difficult times, culture gives life and hope, it can ease pain, relieve fear and help reconciliation.
“It reminds us that we must not just survive, but live,” she said. The Hungarian President underscored that when we celebrate Hungarian culture, we are not trying to present Europe with some isolated, strange phenomenon. With the strange, we are celebrating the universal, the common European culture.
Part of the festive show at the opening of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture program at the Old Town Square in Veszprém.
Veszprém, often called the City of Queens, represents the particular and the common, not only in its history, but also in its present: its queens brought Europe here, and took the world of Hungarians to other countries of Europe, the President said, adding that Christianity, the cultural creativity of the Archdiocese of Veszprém, has always been nourished by universal divine and human values.
This is how we are Hungarians, Europeans and Central Europeans, Christians, and depositories of universal human values: people who want to live their lives in a family, and as proud inhabitants of their own city, region, and country,”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that there is much more that unites the nations of Europe than divides them. He emphasized that the European Capital of Culture title aims to highlight the cultural richness of EU Member States and to deepen the sense of belonging to the same cultural space among European citizens, fostering mutual understanding.
Light painting on Kossuth Street in Veszprém on the opening day of the cultural program.
In 2023, in a somewhat unusual way, not just one city, but a region – the Veszprém-Lake Balaton region – will be the European Capital of Culture. The city, which is the county capital, is close to popular Lake Balaton, which is why the two regions could be merged. As a result, visitors can enjoy a rich cultural program in the coming year, with many exhibitions and concerts, among other things.
Featured photos via MTI/Vasvári Tamás