Rijeka 2020 Project Wins Melina Mercouri Award

Daniela Rogulj

October 18, 2019 – The Melina Mercouri Award, named after the Greek Minister of Culture, who is considered the most responsible for founding the European Capital of Culture project, was won by Rijeka on the recommendation of a European Commission expert panel assessing the seriousness and success of the project.

Namely, HRTurizam writes that in 1985, Melina Mercouri advocated for better mutual knowledge between European citizens, and for them to exchange and discuss culture. Understanding Europe as a place with a shared cultural past as well as future, she argued that the whole of Europe should be united and that culture carries the strongest potential for peace.

It is with these values that the European Capital of Culture project is established, which connects European citizens and brings awareness to the fact that they belong to the European cultural circle.

The decision to grant this project an award, which is worth 1.5 million euro, was made in Galway after a meeting for the “Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture” project.

It is a valuable financial award, which also carries the message of success in the work so far on the development of the “Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture” project. This award for Rijeka means that it fulfilled all the high criteria set by the expert panel and that by seriously managing the project, up to the year of the ECOC title, it accomplished all the tasks that were set before it.


Emina Visnic, director of Rijeka 2020, which was established to implement the European Capital of Culture project, points out that the Melina Mercouri Award is a major and important financial endorsement that the project is successfully managed and developed. 

“This award at the symbolic level is confirmation that Rijeka is and that Croatia is in harmony with European cultural values, that we carry and transmit the values of the European cultural circle, that with this project we write new messages for the future and that we truly belong to it as citizens of Europe,” said Visnic.

In addition to the cultural and artistic program for 2020, the topics of the project’s legacy, which remain as a lasting value in cultural objects under renovation and construction in Rijeka, but also in the stimulated activities of citizens who are strongly involved in the project, are particularly emphasized in the presentation and talks. But also in several ways, among other things, through a vibrant educational program, highlights the Rijeka 2020 team. 

Namely, the European Capital of Culture project aims to influence the incorporation of culture into the long-term development of cities, which is why the topics of the ECOC project’s heritage are vital.

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