Edinburgh named one of the four top cultural cities in Europe by EU

Written by Jenni Davidson on 5 October 2017 in News

The European Commission Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor named Edinburgh top in its size category

Edinburgh Festival fireworks - Image credit: Michal Ziembicki via Flickr

Edinburgh has been named by the EU as the top city of its size in Europe for culture and creativity.

Scotland’s capital came top in the large city category with between 250,000 and 500,000 inhabitants in the European Commission’s first Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.

The report ranked 168 cities – classed into four size categories – from the 28 EU countries plus Switzerland and Norway for the role culture plays in their life and economy.

Paris took first place in the largest cities grouping, with Copenhagen taking the top spot in the next largest cities of between 500,000 and one million residents, while Eindhoven came top of the small and medium cities class for those with between 50,000 and 250,000 inhabitants.


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The rankings were based on an assessment of performance in a number of different indicators, grouped into nine measures in three overall areas.

Edinburgh was rated near the top of all three areas, coming third for ‘Enabling Environment’, fifth for ‘Cultural Vibrancy’ and eighth for ‘Creative Economy’.

Glasgow was also mentioned, with the report stating that the ‘ideal’ cultural city would have the openness, tolerance and trust of Scotland’s largest city.

This ideal would be combined with the cultural facilities of Cork, the cultural participation and attractiveness and the creative jobs of Paris, the intellectual property and innovation of Eindhoven, the new jobs in creative sectors of Umeå, the human capital and education of Leuven, the local and international connections of Utrecht and the quality of governance of Copenhagen.

The aim of the monitor is to benchmark performance across Europe and promote good practice.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “Edinburgh is recognised internationally as a vibrant hub for culture and creativity, which is why I am pleased that it has been named as the top cultural and creative city in Europe.

“Ideas and innovation have always been key to Edinburgh’s identity and international outlook.

“From its world-famous museums and vibrant creative industries to the year-round festival engagement, the city offers a unique combination of cultural programmes, venues, historic landmarks, world class collections and universities.

“Cities all across the country are actively contributing to Scotland’s reputation as a place where cultural and creative collaborations thrive, as illustrated by the recent successes of Dundee and Paisley, respectively competing to become European Capital of Culture 2023 and UK City of Culture 2021.

“We remain committed to further supporting cultural collaborations and growth across the country, promoting Edinburgh and the all of Scotland as a world-class visitor destination on the international stage.”

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