A Year with European Capital of Culture in Wrocław 2016 [SUMMARY]

Last twelve moths in Wrocław: 2 thousand of cultural events and 5,2 million of attendees. It would not have been possible without residents’ involvement. Thanks to them, ECC in Wrocław eventuates in success.


It was the point of the European Capital of Culture - to involve residents of Wroclaw, encourage them to create and take part in ECC’s events. It has been achieved, but beginnings were stiff. – We didn’t point a finger but conceived the possibility to action. – says coordinator of eight trustees, specialized in different ECC’s fields during closing ceremony.

Big small, projects

The ECC is a celebration of culture, composed of not only huge events but also small, big projects that integrated residents. It seems to be the most important achievement  of ECC in Wrocław. Project like that is „Wrocław. Entrance from the backyard”. Its team worked on unforgettable and rarely visited places (Przedmieście Oławskie, Ołbin, Huby, Kleczków, Brochów, Gaj, Sępolno).  Shabby yards and different dilapidated places were starting to change. The Beginning of work was stiff – residents complained: „You should make a new pavement, rebuild a yard”, but later, they were very curious and decided to got into this project. They understood that the place where they live depends on them. I’m full of admiration for the work of whole team of Natalia Romaszkan and its consistency.

„mikroGRANTY ESK 2016” is also a very important program from the social side.  It was based on reporting of ideas for events and projects by residents of Wrocław and getting money from ECC for a realization. Some of the activities were decorating of streetlights, artistic painting of benches,  teaching how to bottle, taking residents for a walk and connecting with a cosmonaut on a space station. Only 52 of the 474 ideas were realized, but there’s a hope that program will be continued.

ECC parks, in my opinion, are a successful idea for a combination of recreation and culture, open for people who want to do more for the others. During summer season, ECC’s containters were located in Wroclaw’s park. Nerby were organized i.a. sport trainings, meetings, readings and plays for kids.

Parki ESK fot. Tomasz Walków

Wrocław open city

For many old residents of Wroclaw, invitation of Lviv to Wroclaw was very important. It was for the first time when The European City of Culture invites different city and its culture. Relation between Poland and Ukraine resulted in Lviv Month. It has symbolic meaning but also shows that Europe and Poland, at local level, are not indifferent to situation of Ukraine. We had a chance to listen to Ukrainian songs, poetry and taste Ukrainian food on April.

Involvement of ECC’s cities, that were a candidates, was a great idea. Cooperation of Gdańsk, Lublin, Szczecin, Poznań, Katowice and Łódź was a success. Coalition of cities was opened by great and magic presentation of Lublin, Gdańsk showed  that people can visit the Coast every season, Łódź proved that the patch of post-industrial city is completely out of date. It was very energetic event for artists from different cities and for residents of Wroclaw.

Colorful fireworks above the city

Big concerts of Ennio Morricone, David Gilmour and Rammstein band and literary inaugural weekend World Book Capital UNESCO were also fireworks. Fantastic atmosphere was created by residents who took part in European Night of Literature.

Imagination and hearts were touched also by the International Jazz Day, wonderful opera  „Zarzuela” on The Municipal Stadium in Wrocław  and „Singing Europe”. Cherry on top was The European Film Awards ceremony.

I can’t lose exhibitions that we had a chance to visit in Wrocław – Eduardo Chillida’s Sculptures in Awangarda BWA Gallery, exhibitions in the Museum of Architecture devoted to architectural awards of Mies van der Rohe, work of art by Wroclavian architect Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak or brill „The Road to Modernity. Werkbund Housing Estates”.

An unusual event was also opening of The Four Domes Pavilion after renovation and reconstruction, in which we have a possibility to admire a permanent exhibition presenting Polish contemporary art. Important exhibitions like "Summer rental", "The Wroclaw Europe" and "Photography never dies" are still in progress.

Theatre Olympics is also on the list – for the first time a lot of famous and legendary theatrical directors came to Wroclaw with their performances at the same time i.a. Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook, Tadashi Suzuki, Theodoros Terzopoulos, Robert Wilson, Romeo Castellucci, Heiner Hoebbels, Krystian Lupa, Walerij Fokin, Pippo Delbono and Jan Fabre.

„ECC is in us”

During closing ceremony of ECC, Chór Komentujących Wrocławian sang „ ECC is in us, because ECC is created by us/We create a space, grab the time/ and even fishers will come, horde of fishers/ if thunderbolts and flashes will destroy fountains,/If  we will hear a voice of a boor that it’s a kitsch and a hackwork/It will never turn us off, because ECC is in us”.

Research (surveys) of dr. Jerzy Pluta’s team has shown that 51% of residents mark ECC good and more than 20% very good.

What will remain of ECC?

As a residents of Wroclaw, we are proud of ECC and now, at the end of the years, it’s hard to say goodbye to the European Capital of Culture. What will remain? Above all else, cultural objects i.a. the Four Domes Pavilion. The Capitol Theatre, The National Forum of Music, Fama Centre, Formaty Club, The Pan Tadeusz Museum, Zajezdnia History Centre, Barbara. Opening of Theatre Museum and completing of building „Nowe Żerniki”  will be in the immediate future.

Remain also projects like A-i-R Wro, Wroclaw – entrance from the backyard, Wroclawski Program Wydawniczy, ECC Parks, House of Culture and Local Activity.

ECC in numbers:

  • 200 events
  • 5,2 million attendees
  • 100 presentations abroad
  • 70 publishers
  • 170 thousand people involved in ECC projects
  • more than 100 thousand publications and news about ECC in Poland and abroad
  • 150 ECC employees
  • 2000 volunteer