Wroclaw in Poland and San Sebastián in Spain are Europe’s capitals of culture of 2016. Wroclaw presents itself as a young and creative student city with a restored historic downtown, museums, galleries and restaurants. In 1945 however, most of the city’s core was destroyed and German inhabitants were expelled. Since then, thousands of Polish people have found their home here instead.
This multifaceted identity is mirrored in the cultural capital’s program. Concerts will be held throughout the entire year – in the newly built national musical forum as well as streets, train stations and hospitals. This year of culture in Wroclaw will be topped off by the European film award ceremony on December 10th.
The city of San Sebastián in northern Spain wants to heal its historic wounds with a cultural program. To this day, the population is torn apart. For decades, the terrorist underground organization ETA fought for the sovereignty of the Basque region with bloody assaults. "People should receive something that makes them believe in a future for the city", says Pablo Berástegui, director of the culture capital 2016 project.
The program will also tie into recent developments such as the European refugee crisis, including an anti-war festival with concerts, films and stage productions in March. Starting in June, a special exhibition will display 300 works of Goya, Rubens and Picasso about violence and peace.