The title of the European Capital of Culture is granted every year to two cities among EU member states and the aim is to support European cultural cooperation. Not only is the title a matter of prestige for the city but it is a promise of financial support from the state budget and EU budget for investments in cultural projects.
Pilsen had entered the competition with a number of ambitious cultural projects and with the motto, "Pilsen Open up!" Pilsen was competing for the title with the third largest city in the Czech Republic – Ostrava, the capital of the Moravian-Silesian Region.
The city of Pilsen intrigued the EU Council of Ministers with its projects, for example, a new theatre building is being constructed as well as the Světovar culture factory, while a number of public spaces are being given a new face. A multi-cultural quarter devoted to design and non-professional artists, modernisation of the presently used sports centre into a large sports-and- relaxation centre, etc. The City had promised a new amusement park, Gambrinus Park, with a skate park, a rope climbing centre, an artificial climbing wall, and also a new building for the West Bohemian Gallery. At the same time, the European Capital of Culture project is an inspiration for both traditional cultural institutions and new players from the ranks of non-profit organisations and civil society. New opportunities for international cooperation arise as well as for the creation of exciting new productions, exhibitions, concerts and artistic interventions. New themes are being examined, new communications and relationships established
In the year 2015, Pilsen will fully open up to cultural Europe as a host of outstanding artists as well as being their self-confident partner, as a hidden treasure for the visitors to the city who will be able to discover its stories connected with architecture, historical events and industrial precincts.