Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015

Pilsen will offer more than 50 big cultural events in public spaces and over 600 other activities

The West Bohemian city of Pilsen, well-known throughout the world with its production of beer, is hoping to become famous as a meeting point for the arts. The city will be a European Capital of Culture in 2015, and each month there will be one big weekend event which will take over the city. Themes will touch on personalities and stories connected with Pilsen. All up, eight programme flagships are being prepared: the season of Le Cirque Nouveau; enlivening public spaces; exhibitions of Jiří Trnka and Bohumír Lindauer; opening former industrial halls up for art; West Bohemian Baroque; Hidden City; and festivals prepared in collaboration with other partners (Smetana Days, Hidden City, Lively Street, Finale Festival and others).


Pilsen- The Czech Cultural Metropolis

Pilsen’s transformation into Czech cultural metropolis will begin as early as autumn 2014, when Manège Carré Senart lays anchor in the centre of the city: a magical manège of the fine artist Françoise Delarozière from the Parisian theatre company Royal de Luxe, for which he has created a number of giant puppets strolling through the streets of world cities.

The opening ceremony of the project, on 17th January 2015, will begin with the ringing of the four church bells that will be put back in St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, more than 70 years after Nazi occupiers confiscated them and had them melted down. “The evening launching the European Capital of Culture project will be full of music, images, suspense and emotions”, Petr Forman, the Artistic Chief of the project, says. Moments of suspense will be delivered by the Swiss tightrope walker David Dimitri, who will be accompanied by other Czech and international artists and acrobats.

The Season of Le Cirque Nouveau will begin, together with the opening ceremony. Thanks to performances by international artists, who will put up their tents both in the centre and in the outskirts of the city, audiences will have the opportunity to become acquainted with world class acts of this genre. Local citizens and visitors to Pilsen alike can, among other things, look forward to a festival of light, nine weeks of Baroque, monumental celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, exhibitions of Jiří Trnka and Ladislav Sutnar, contemporary design and works from the collections of the Villa Stuck Museum and the Lenbachhaus Gallery in Munich.

Industrial Heritage: Factories for Imagination

The history of no longer used spaces in industrial premises will come alive in a series of events – Factories for Imagination – running from April till December 2015. “Pilsen is a city of industry, made up of factory premises to a great extent. We want to return premises no longer in use to the citizens and give them meaning again. Fascinating industrial space is the former power station of Pilsner Urquell, where a top-class exhibition of contemporary European design will open in April 2015,” Jiří Sulženko, the Programme Director, reveals.

In 2008 Pilsen decided to join the competition for the right to use the title of the European Capital of Culture for the year 2015. In the very close final round in 2010, when only two candidates were in play, Pilsen beat Ostrava by a single vote. Pilsen has been selected to be a European Capital of Culture in 2015, along with Mons, Belgium.

Themes of the Pilsen 2015 project:

Arts and Technology

  • The legacy of Adolf Loos
  • Creative incubator at Světovar
  • Season of le cirque Nouveau and dance: 20 performances throughout the year

Relationships and Emotions

  • Jiří Trnka Garden
  • From a puppet to virtual reality

Stories and Sources

  • 9 weeks of Baroque: pilgrimages, roads, paths, endangered and vanished churches
  • Světovar and industrial heritage
  • Liberation Festival – 70 years after the end of the Second World War 
  • Pilsen guide and memory projects 

Transit and Minorities

  • Světovar as a house of European cultures
  • Projects in collaboration with Bavarian partners
  • Historical and pilgrimage routes in the region
  • Bus Line 2015

For more information please contact:

Andrea Holden
Media Relations Manager