Alongside Genova, Lille was the European Capital of Culture in 2004. It’s been 10 years since then, and like in Genoa we couldn’t find an official contact with whom to discuss about the official nomination of the city and the official program. Even so, there were many to set Lille as a positive example, especially through his ongoing program Lille3000 – Le voyaje continue.
After Paris and Avignon, Lille was the third French city to become European Capital of Culture. Later the title went to Marseille too. Like in many other European cities, after ’70-’80 period the textile and ore(charcoal) industry collapsed, Lille passing through a post-industrial stagnation. They oriented themselves towards commerce services and the European Capital of Culture title was of great help
For Lille 2004 they have prepared >2500 events in 193 parts of the North region – Pas de Calais, but also in a small part of Belgium, this being a premiere for a European Capital of Culture. The numbers are always important, and when we talk about audience, Lille 2004 gathered about 9 million visitors (730.000 people attended only at the opening event) and 17.800 ambassadors and volunteers helped preparing the program and the event. They had a 30% growth regarding the number of tourists and after 2004 they continued with the program Lille3000, thus solving problems and creating new cultural experiences.
Through Lille 2004 they’ve tried to bring back color to the city, whose images, even though known weren’t attractive enough. One of the main objectives was to create a favorable environment to build the headquarters for the national and international campaigns, Lille being the most “European” Capital of Culture so far. Organizing festivals, workshops and many other cultural events, they have tried to find a creative way to make the citizens feel they are part of a community and that they are proud with their local culture.
Total budget was ~74 million euro of which 13 million out of sponsorship, a record as European Capital of Culture. Of this budget 24, 4 million euro was used for events, 7, 5 million for promotion and marketing and 19 million for restorations.
12 old factories and local spaces were transformed into new cultural centers, all being the legacy of the nomination as European Capital of Culture. On this matter Florentina, student at Communication and Journalism in Lille also wrote about, we met her to talk more on this subject. She is originally from Craiova, but said Cluj-Napoca city is fit to become the new European Capital of Culture in 2021.
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