Culture of Europe
The oldest known cave paintings are at the El Castillo cave (Spain), older than 40,800 years. The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity. Until the mid 19th century it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor. Developments in Western painting historically parallel those in Eastern painting, in general a few centuries later.
The earliest European sculpture to date portrays a female form, and has been estimated at dating from 35,000 years ago. See Classical sculpture, Ancient Greek sculpture, Gothic art, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Modernism, Postminimalism, found art, Postmodern art, Conceptual art.
- Classical Music : Important classical composers from Europe include Hildegard von Bingen, J.S. Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Wagner, Richard Strauss, von Weber, Offenbach, Stockhausen, Mendelssohn (Germany), Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, (Russia), Schubert, Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg (Austria), Berlioz, Manchaut, Pérotin, Dufay, François Couperin, Lassus, Lully, Rameau, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Debussy, Ravel (France), Palestrina, Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Donizetti, Cavalli, Paganini, Bellini, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini (Italy), Tomás Luis de Victoria, Falla, Granados, Albéniz, Rodrigo (Spain), Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů (Czechia), Grieg (Norway), Liszt, Bartók (Hungary), Purcell, Elgar, Britten (UK), Nielsen (Denmark), Sibelius (Finland), Chopin, Penderecki (Poland), George Enescu, Sergiu Celibidache (Romania). Luciano Pavarotti was a contemporary popular opera singer. Orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra are considered to be amongst the finest ensembles in the world. The Salzburg Festival, the Bayreuth Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms are major European classical music festivals, and International Chopin Piano Competition is the world's oldest monographic music competition.
- Folk Music : Europe has a wide and diverse range of indigenous music, sharing common features in rural, travelling or maritime communities. Folk music is embedded in an unwritten, aural tradition, but was increasingly transcribed from the nineteenth century onwards. Many classical composers used folk melodies, and folk has influenced some popular music in Europe.
- Popular Music: Europe has also imported many different genres of music, mainly from the United States, ranging from Blues, Jazz, Soul, Pop, Rap, Hip-Hop, R'n'B and Dance. The UK has been most successful in re-exporting this type of music and also creating many of its own genres via notable movements including the British Invasion, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (that has been compared to Beatlemania.) and Britpop. Some major UK acts include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Elton John, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Sex Pistols, Eric Clapton, The Clash, Van Morrison, Dire Straits, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, The Who, Eurythmics, Dusty Springfield, The Cure, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Duran Duran, Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, The Smiths, Muse, Gorillaz, Bonnie Tyler, Seal, Elvis Costello, Bee Gees, Spice Girls, Depeche Mode, The Kinks, The Animals, Motörhead, UB40, One Direction, Adele, Amy Winehouse; Also very important European musicians are U2, Thin Lizzy, The Pogues, The Script, Sinéad O'Connor (Ireland), Kraftwerk, Can, Scorpions, Nina Hagen, Trio, Rammstein, Modern Talking, James Last, Paul Kalkbrenner (Germany), ABBA, The Cardigans, The Hives, Roxette, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Icona Pop (Sweden), a-ha (Norway), Björk, Sigur Rós (Iceland), Giorgio Moroder, Andrea Bocelli, Benny Benassi, The Bloody Beetroots, Mina, Adriano Celentano, Patty Pravo, Toto Cutugno, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Zucchero Fornaciari, Domenico Modugno, Lucio Battisti, Giorgia, Sabrina Salerno, Ivana Spagna, Eiffel 65, Alexia (Italy), Soulwax, dEUS, Absynthe Minded, The Black Box Revelation, Selah Sue, Girls in Hawaii (Belgium), Luis Eduardo Aute, Julio Iglesias, The Pinker Tones, Lluis Llach, Enrique Iglesias (Spain), Édith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Justice, Bob Sinclar, Martin Solveig, Étienne de Crécy, Yelle, Phoenix, Air, M83, Alizée, C2C, Jean Michel Jarre (France), Nana Mouskouri, Celine Dion (Greece/France), Kati Wolf (Hungary), t.A.T.u. (Russia), Doda (Poland), Rasmus Seebach, The Raveonettes, Agnes Obel, WhoMadeWho (Denmark), The Legendary Tigerman, The Gift (Portugal), The Nits, Golden Earring, zZz, Nicky Romero, Armin van Buuren, Fedde le Grand, Tiësto, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Afrojack (Netherlands), Alexandra Stan, Inna, Edward Maya (Romania), HIM, The Rasmus, Nightwish (Finland).
Main festivals includes: Sanremo Music Festival, Coca-Cola Summer Festival (Italy), Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Isle of Wight Festival, T in the Park (UK), Fête de la Musique, Eurockéennes, Vieilles Charrues Festival, Hellfest (France), Wacken (Germany), Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Primavera Sound (Spain), Exit Festival (Serbia), Sziget Festival (Hungary), Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Rock Werchter, Tomorrowland (Belgium) & Eurovision (music competition between European countries). Domino Recording Company, Bertelsmann Music Group, PolyGram, EMI, Universal Music Group (Subsidiary of French company Vivendi) are the largest European music companies.
Neolithic architecture : Born in the Levant, Neolithic architecture spread to Europe. The Mediterranean neolithic cultures of Malta worshiped in megalithic temples. In Europe, long houses built from wattle and daub were constructed. Elaborate tombs for the dead were also built. These tombs are particularly numerous in Ireland, where there are many thousand still in existence. Neolithic people built long barrows and chamber tombs for their dead and causewayed camps, henges flint mines and cursus monuments., Architecture of ancient Greece, Roman architecture, Medieval architecture, Renaissance architecture, Baroque architecture, Beaux-Arts architecture, Expressionist architecture, Stalinist architecture, Deconstructivism.
Europe has produced some of the most prominent or popular fiction and nonfiction writers of all time :
- Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Xenophon, Aristophanes, Menander, Polybius, Arrian, Plutarch, Longus (Ancient Greece)
- Plautus, Terence, Cicero, Julius Caesar, Sallust, Virgil, Livy, Ovid, Tacitus, Horace, Catullus, Pliny the Elder, Quintilian, Seneca the Younger, Pliny the Younger (Ancient Rome)
- Francesco Petrarca, Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli, Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Carlo Goldoni, Carlo Gozzi, Giacomo Leopardi, Giosuè Carducci, Italo Svevo, Luigi Pirandello, Italo Calvino, Eugenio Montale, Salvatore Quasimodo, Umberto Eco, Dario Fo (Italy)
- Chrétien de Troyes, François Rabelais, Montaigne, Alexandre Dumas, Pierre Corneille, Racine, Molière, Voltaire, Jean de La Fontaine, Rousseau, Jules Verne, Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Stendhal, Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, JMG Le Clézio, Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Anatole France, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Apollinaire, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Romain Rolland, Denis Diderot, Michel Foucault, Théophile Gautier, Alain Robbe-Grillet, François Mauriac, André Gide (France)
- Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Goncharov, Mikhail Bakunin, Mikhail Lermontov, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Peter Kropotkin, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Yesenin, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Sholokhov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky (Russia)
- Jorge Manrique, Garcilaso de la Vega, Miguel de Cervantes, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo, Luis de Góngora, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Leopoldo Alas, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Pío Baroja, José Echegaray, Miguel de Unamuno, Federico García Lorca, Vicente Aleixandre, Camilo José Cela, Mario Vargas Llosa (Spain)
- Luís de Camões, José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago (Portugal)
- William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Beatrix Potter, J. M. Barrie, Walter Scott, D. H. Lawrence, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, C. S. Lewis, John Milton, Terry Pratchett, Mary Shelley, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Agatha Christie, Daniel Defoe, Alan Moore, Rudyard Kipling, Aldous Huxley, Harold Pinter (United Kingdom)
- Salvador Espriu, Mercè Rodoreda, Joan Salvat-Papasseit, Josep Carner (Catalan language)
- Laurence Sterne, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney (Ireland)
- Brothers Grimm, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, Heinrich Heine, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Anne Frank, Hermann Hesse, Nelly Sachs, Günter Grass, Patrick Süskind (Germany)
- Joseph Conrad, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert, Witold Gombrowicz, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wisława Szymborska (Poland)
- Arnaut Daniel, Frédéric Mistral (Occitan language)
- Lajos Kossuth, Imre Kertész (Hungary)
- Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Seifert, Milan Kundera (Czech Republic)
- Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Hans Christian Andersen, Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (Denmark)
- Georges Simenon, Emile Verhaeren, Maurice Maeterlinck (Belgium)
- Sigrid Undset, Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Norway)
- Ivo Andric (Yugoslavia)
- Frans Eemil Sillanpää (Finland)
- Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)
- Halldór Laxness (Iceland)
- Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko (Ukraine)
- Verner von Heidenstam, Stieg Larsson, Pär Lagerkvist, August Strindberg, Emanuel Swedenborg, Eyvind Johnson (Sweden)
- Eugène Ionesco, Mircea Eliade, Mihai Eminescu, Paul Celan, Emil Cioran, Herta Muller, Elie Wiesel (Romania)
Antoine Lumière realized, on 28 December 1895, the first projection, with the Cinematograph, in Paris. Philippe Binant realized, on 2 February 2000, the first digital cinema projection in Europe, with the DLP CINEMA technology developed by Texas Instruments, in Paris. In 1897, Georges Méliès established the first cinema studio on a rooftop property in Montreuil, near Paris. Some notable European film movements include German Expressionism, Italian neorealism, French New Wave, Polish Film School, New German Cinema, Portuguese Cinema Novo, Czechoslovak New Wave, Dogme 95, New French Extremity, and Romanian New Wave. The cinema of Europe has its own awards, the European Film Awards. Main festivals : Cannes Film Festival (France), Berlin International Film Festival (Germany). The Venice Film Festival (Italy) or Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia, is the oldest film festival in the world.
Some of the most popular games of all time come from Europe: the Grand Theft Auto (series), Tomb Raider, The Witcher, Cossacks: European Wars, Colin McRae: Dirt, Far Cry 3, Asphalt (series), The Settlers, The Patrician, Need For Speed, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Brain Challenge, Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Watch Dogs, Batman: Arkham City, Banjo-Kazooie (series), LittleBigPlanet, Block Breaker Deluxe, Crysis, Tetris, Assassin's Creed, Europa Universalis, Kinect Sports, Hysteria Project.
- CERN (//; French: [sɛʀn]) : The European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the birthplace of the World Wide Web and home of the world's largest machine : the Large Hadron Collider. It is the world's largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, established in 1954. In November 2010, the collisions obtained were able to generate the highest temperatures and densities ever produced in an experiment, creating a "mini-Big Bang" a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.
- ESA : The European Space Agency's space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observations, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana and designing launch vehicles. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle.
Europe has produced some of the greatest scientists, inventors and intellectuals in history. Germany; Albert Einstein, Johannes Kepler, Johannes Gutenberg, Gottfried Leibniz, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, Max Planck, Karl Benz. United Kingdom; Isaac Newton, Charles K. Kao, Charles Darwin, Robert Hooke, Michael Faraday, James Joule, Edward Jenner, John Dalton, George Stephenson, Florence Nightingale, George Cayley, Frank Whittle, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Tim Berners Lee, James Watt, Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird, James Clerk Maxwell, Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes. Russia: Dmitri Mendeleev, Ivan Pavlov, Ilya Mechnikov, Nikolai Lobachevsky, Mikhail Lomonosov, Lev Landau, Aleksandr Butlerov, Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Igor Sikorsky, Sergey Korolyov. France; Pierre Abelard, Michel de Montaigne, Louis Pasteur, Antoine Lavoisier, Henri Becquerel, René Descartes, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, Pierre de Fermat, Blaise Pascal, the Montgolfier brothers, Denis Diderot, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Léon Foucault, Auguste and Louis Lumière, Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, Jacques Lacan, Luc Montagnier, Albert Jacquard. Italy; Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Evangelista Torricelli, Niccolò Machiavelli, Alessandro Volta, Guglielmo Marconi, Enrico Fermi. Poland; Nicolaus Copernicus, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Ignacy Łukasiewicz, Rudolf Weigl. Greece: Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy. Hungary: Ottó Bláthy, Ányos Jedlik, John von Neumann, Leó Szilárd, Edward Teller. Austria: Ludwig Boltzmann, Sigmund Freud, Kurt Gödel. Ireland; Lord Kelvin, Robert Boyle, William Rowan Hamilton. Spain; Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Isaac Peral, Leonardo Torres Quevedo. Sweden; Alfred Nobel, Anders Celsius. Denmark; Niels Bohr. Serbia; Nikola Tesla, Mihajlo Pupin, Milutin Milanković, Miomir Vukobratović. Switzerland; Carl Jung.
The Greek schools of philosophy in antiquity provide the basis of philosophical discourse that extends to today. Christian thought had a huge influence on many fields of European philosophy (as European philosophy has been on Christian thought too), sometimes as a reaction.
Perhaps one of the most important single philosophical periods since the classical era were the Renaissance, the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment. There are many disputes as to its value and even its timescale. What is indisputable is that the tenets of reason and rational discourse owe much to René Descartes, John Locke and others working at the time.
Other important European philosophical strands include: Analytic philosophy, Anarchism, Christian Democracy, Communism, Conservatism, Constructionism, Deconstructionism, Empiricism, Epicureanism, Existentialism, Fascism, Humanism, Idealism, Internationalism, Liberalism, Logical positivism, Marxism, Materialism, Monarchism, Nationalism, Perspectivism, Platonism, Positivism, Postmodernism, Protestantism, Rationalism, Relativism, Republicanism, Romanticism, Scepticism, Scholasticism, Social Democracy, Socialism, Stoicism, Structuralism, Thomism, Utilitarianism, Spenglerism.
The Eurobarometer Poll 2005 found that, on average, 52% of the citizens of EU member states state that they "believe in God", 27% believe there is some sort of spirit or life force while 18% do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force. 3% declined to answer.
Christianity has been the dominant religion shaping European culture for at least the last 1700 years. Modern philosophical thought has very much been influenced by Christian philosophers such as St Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus. And throughout most of its history, Europe has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, The Christian culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science.
The most popular religions of Europe are the following (by dominant religion):
- Christianity is the largest religion in Europe, with 76.2% of Europeans considering themselves Christian,
There are significant Catholic minorities in the Netherlands, southern Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, western and central Belarus, western Ukraine, Hungarian-speaking Romania, Albania, parts of Russia, the Latgale region of Latvia, The Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, England (UK), Scotland (UK), and Wales (UK), and indeed small minorities in most of the other European countries.
- Protestantism: Countries with significant Protestant populations are Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia,. the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. There are significant minorities in France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, and indeed small minorities in most European countries.
- Islam: Countries with a majority Muslim population are Kosovo and Albania. The region of East Thrace (Turkey) also has a majority Muslim population. As of 2010, about 5.2% of European citizens identified themselves as Muslims, with many of them living in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Crimea, Serbia, and parts of European Russia also have significant Muslim minorities.
The cuisines of Western countries are diverse by themselves, although there are common characteristics that distinguishes Western cooking from cuisines of Asian countries and others. Compared with traditional cooking of Asian countries, for example, meat is more prominent and substantial in serving-size. Steak in particular is a common dish across the West. Similarly to some Asian cuisines, Western cuisines also put substantial emphasis on sauces as condiments, seasonings, or accompaniments (in part due to the difficulty of seasonings penetrating the often larger pieces of meat used in Western cooking). Many dairy products are utilized in the cooking process, except in nouvelle cuisine. Wheat-flour bread has long been the most common sources of starch in this cuisine, along with pasta, dumplings and pastries, although the potato has become a major starch plant in the diet of Europeans and their diaspora since the European colonization of the Americas.
The earliest definite examples of needles originate from the Solutrean culture, which existed in France from 19,000 BC to 15,000 BC. The earliest dyed flax fibers have been found in a cave the Republic of Georgia and date back to 36,000 BP. See Clothing in ancient Rome, 1100–1200 in fashion, 1200–1300 in fashion, 1300–1400 in fashion, 1400–1500 in fashion, 1500–1550 in fashion, 1550–1600 in fashion, 1600–1650 in fashion, 1650–1700 in fashion, Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.
Europe's influence on sport is enormous. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a modern sport, apart from basketball and related sports, that does not have its origins in Europe. European sports include:
- Association football, which has contested origins between United Kingdom and Italy (where Benito Mussolini insisted the game be called by the name Calcio). What is uncontestable is that the oldest association is The Football Association of England (1863) and the first international match was between Scotland and England (1872). It is now the world's most popular sport and is played throughout Europe.
- Cricket has its origins in south eastern Britain. It's popular throughout England and Wales, and parts of Netherlands. It is also popular in other areas and also played in Northwest Europe. It is however very popular worldwide, especially in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Indian subcontinent.
- Cycling, which is immensely popular as a means of transport, has most of its sporting adherents in Europe, particularly Central Europe. Tour de France is the world's most watched live annual sporting event. The bicycle itself is probably from France (see History of the bicycle).
- The discus throw, javelin throw and shot put have their origins in ancient Greece. The Olympics, both ancient and modern, have their origins too in Europe, and have a massive influence globally.
- Field Hockey as a modern game, began in 18th Century Britain with Ireland having the oldest federation. It is popular in the British Isles, the Indian subcontinent, Australia and East Asia. Ice hockey, popular in Europe and North America may derive from this sport.
- Golf, one of the most popular sports in Europe, Asia and North America, has its origins in Scotland, with the oldest course being at Musselburgh.
- Handball, which is popular in Europe and elsewhere, has its origins in antiquity. The modern game is from Northern Europe with Germany having been involved in both the first women's and men's internationals.
- Rugby League and Rugby Union which both have similar origins to football. Rugby Union is the older of the two codes and has rules that date from 1845 (see articles: History of rugby league and History of rugby union). They acrimoniously split in the late 19th century over the treatment of injured players. Rugby league gradually changed its laws over the next century with the end result that today both sports have little in common, apart from the basics. They have both been carried abroad by colonization, particularly to many former British colonies. American Football and Canadian Football are derivatives of rugby.
- Tennis which originates from United Kingdom and related games such as Table Tennis derive from the game Real Tennis which is from France. It is popular throughout the world.
In addition, Europe has numerous national or regional sports which do not command a large international following outside of emigrant groups. These include:
- Alpine Wrestling in Switzerland.
- Bandy in Russia, Sweden and Finland
- Basque Pelota in parts of Spain and France, and which has been brought to the Americas by emigrants.
- Bullfighting in Spain, Portugal, and parts of southern France near the Spanish Border.
- Gaelic Football in Ireland, which influenced Australian football rules.
- Gaelic Handball (Ireland) which was taken to the United States in the form of American Handball.
- Hurling in Ireland.
- Korfbal in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Pesäpallo (Boboll) in Finland
- Pétanque, Boules, Petanca, Calitx, Irish Road Bowling, Skittles, Bocce, and Bowls and others are variations of bowling games which are popular throughout Europe and have been spread around the world.
- Rounders from Britain now popular in northwest Europe from which Baseball derives.
- Shinty in Scotland, United Kingdom, which influenced ice hockey in Canada (see also Shinny).
- Trotting in southern Europe.
Some sporting organisations hold European Championships.
- European Cricket Council
- European Rugby Cup (Club/Regional competition)
- European SC Championships
- FIRA - Association of European Rugby
- Mitropa Cup
- Rugby League European Federation - European Nations Cup
- Sport in the European Union
Some sport competitions feature a European team gathering athletes from different European countries. These teams use the European flag as an emblem. The most famous of these competitions is the Ryder Cup in golf.
Capitals of Culture
Each year since 1985 one or more cities across Europe are chosen as European Capital of Culture. Here are the past and future capitals:
- 1985: Athens
- 1986: Florence
- 1987: Amsterdam
- 1988: Berlin
- 1989: Paris
- 1990: Glasgow
- 1991: Dublin
- 1992: Madrid
- 1993: Antwerp
- 1994: Lisbon
- 1995: Luxembourg
- 1996: Copenhagen
- 1997: Thessaloniki
- 1998: Stockholm
- 1999: Weimar
- 2000: Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Helsinki, Kraków, Prague, Reykjavík, Santiago de Compostela
- 2001: Rotterdam, Porto
- 2002: Bruges, Salamanca
- 2003: Graz
- 2004: Genoa, Lille
- 2005: Cork
- 2006: Patras
- 2007: Sibiu, Luxembourg, Greater Region
- 2008: Liverpool, Stavanger
- 2009: Vilnius Linz
- 2010: Essen (representing the Ruhr), Istanbul, Pécs
- 2011: Turku, Tallinn
- 2012: Guimarães, Maribor
- 2013 Marseille, Košice
- 2014: Umeå, Riga 
- 2015: Mons, Plzeň
- 2016: San Sebastián, Wrocław
- 2017: Aarhus, Paphos
- 2018: Malta, Netherlands
- 2019: Italy, Bulgaria
- Compendium of cultural policies and trends in Europe
- Cultural policies of the European Union
- European Culture
- Romano-Germanic culture
- Czech folklore
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