Hildesheim: “A European Province of Culture”

Chemnitz was nominated to be the fourth German city to be awarded the title of “European Capital of Culture”. Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg and Nurnberg are defeated in competition.

In the competition for the title of “European Capital of Culture 2025”, the European selection committee announced its final vote on Wednesday noon. The recommendation is that Chemnitz will be awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2025 by the German Conference of Culture Ministers as well as the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters.

“Of course, we are first very disappointed,” explained Dr. Ingo Meyer, Lord Mayor of the City of Hildesheim, after the decision has been announced at noon. “Nevertheless, we send our warmest congratulations to Chemnitz, the European Capital of Culture 2025 in Germany. It was a fair competition between strong candidate cities that strengthened Hildesheim and its region and brought them a big step ahead.” Dr. Ingo Meyer emphasized that entering the competition for the title of “European Capital of Culture 2025” was the right decision. “Thanks to the enormous commitment of everyone involved and an application with sound attitude and much courage, we have made it into the final of the last five candidate cities – that is and remains a great success. And no one can ever take away all that we have already achieved on our common path.”

Thomas Harling, co-head of the Hildesheim application, said: “Our bid has shown that Hildesheim had the potential to win the title – which of course doesn’t make it any easier for us today.” Sylvia Amann, chairwoman of the European jury, had explained before that all candidate cities had already developed through art and culture during the process of the competition. Lene Wagner, co-head of the Hildesheim application, can only confirm this. Thanks to this bid, Hildesheim and the region had already come to a new, common strength. “That is already in our logo.” Hildesheim – A European Province of Culture. “From this day, we can further develop as a European Region of Culture instead of receiving the title of European Capital of Culture.”

Wolfgang Moegerle, Mayor of Algermissen and chairman of the Hildesheim District Association of the Lower Saxony Association of Towns and Municipalities, emphasized that development through culture is crucial for supporting the development in rural areas and experiencing community. “The application to become European Capital of Culture was jointly promoted by the city and region.” In this way, future challenges could also be tackled and a region with European appeal could be developed – with the help of two cultural World Heritage sites and a unique cultural scene. “Of course, this is only possible if citizens identify with their particular region,” added District Administrator Olaf Levonen. And this is also where the Hildesheim application for becoming European Capital of Culture had a positive effect. “The identification with the entire region has become much stronger already through the activities in the framework of the application process.”

This was already reflected in the public vote of the 18 mayors of the district of Hildesheim on the castle hill and their unanimous support of the application – or the exalted joy of the team members on the market place when Hildesheim entered the final of the competition in December 2019. “We celebrated considerable successes together during the application phase,” said Lord Mayor Dr. Meyer, “and now we also stand of course together even without having won the title. This feeling can be carried on into the future.”

And individual projects are of course feasible, adds Lene Wagner, who will return into the City Hall of Hildesheim as head of the Department of Culture and Foundations after the end of the application phase. Of course, if Hildesheim had won the title with a budget of 68.7 million Euros for implementing a cultural program, other possibilities would have opened up. “But we can now rely on the international networks, we have the Circle of Friends, we want to stay in touch. At the beginning of 2021, the Circle of Friends and the city are planning a conference together with those involved in the application process for identifying the topics to be further pursued.”

Hildesheim: A European Province of Culture

Hildesheim has the picture of a medium-sized town with a rural environment in which an urban attitude to life is not the measure of all things. This is why the city and region are jointly pursuing the development of a progressive province. “We Care, the motto of our application, naturally remains valid,” says Wagner. “As a city and region, we have to assume responsibility for important future issues. And art and culture can help us to develop new ideas and to look beyond our own horizons.” In the region, therefore, the uniqueness of life beyond the metropolises should continue to be explored by cultural means – in a future-oriented, cosmopolitan, down-to-earth way.

For example, through the creation of a Cultural Hub, which is intended to pool ideas from the cultural and creative industries as well as from local companies. Among others, the University of Hildesheim, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK) and the HI-REG Business Development Corporation will sum up their offers for students or start-ups in this Cultural Hub. “By implementing the hub, we want to create offers for professionalization for the cultural scene and support its work in the European and international context,” emphasizes Sabine Zimmermann, project manager within the Hildesheim application, who brought the concept of the Cultural Hub to life.

Hildesheim as Region of Culture:
World Heritage and Innovation

Hildesheim is a historical bishop’s town in the south of Lower Saxony having about 100,000 inhabitants. A total of around 280,000 people live in the district of Hildesheim with its 18 towns and communities. The region is pleased with the two World Heritage sites of the UNESCO, the churches St. Michaelis and St. Mary’s Cathedral as well as the Fagus factory in Alfeld.

Thanks to the University of Hildesheim with its distinguished courses of study in cultural sciences and aesthetic practice as well as the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK), young cultural actors from Hildesheim shape institutions and discourses in the cultural sector throughout Germany and even on the international stage. Furthermore, Hildesheim has an innovative cultural scene with independent theaters and international festivals in the city and district. The cultural initiatives and organizations of the region bring various people together – starting from putting up a maypole to the sugar festival.

Hildesheim: “A European Province of Culture”

photo: Volker Hanuschke

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