The 2018 European Culture Capitals

Here’s a couple of destinations to be added to your 2018 bucket list: Leuuwarden, the hometown of Escher in the Netherlands, and Valletta, the fascinating Maltese capital

  • The 2018 European Culture Capitals
  • The 2018 European Culture Capitals
  • The 2018 European Culture Capitals
  • The 2018 European Culture Capitals
  • The 2018 European Culture Capitals

The prestigious designation of "European Culture Capital" from the EU, which offers a city the opportunity to develop a one-year cultural plan to promote its own heritage and develop its European identity, is often an interesting suggestion for discovering new destinations.
This year, the title went to two very different cities sharing a pleasntly vibrant atmosphere: Leuuwarden, in Friesland (Holland), and Valletta, the capital of Malta.
Leuuwarden, A Small-Scale Amsterdam
The capital of Friesland, a historic region on the North Sea, is a typical and cosy miniature Dutch city, crossed by bridges and canals lined with stuccoed houses. With just over 100,000 inhabitants, it was founded as a mercantile city (it used to be much closer to the sea before the construction of the Afsldjik dam in the 1930s) specializing in the export of local dairy products to the rest of the Netherlands.
The symbol of the city is the Oldehove, a leaning tower from the sixteenth century that recalls the most famous Tower of Pisa. Originally the bell tower of the now gone St. Vitus Church, it is located along the central Nieuwestadt street, and the leaning is due to the fact that it was built on swampy ground. The hometown of Mata Hari (born Margherita Geltrude Zelle) and of the famous Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, Leuuwarden is rich in museum; among them are the Ceramics Museum (housed inside Escher’s birth house), the Museum of Friesland and the Museum of Nature. But it is also an extremely lively city with a vibrant nightlife, populated by students and crammed with cafés and restaurants. The lovely central street of De Kleine Keerstraat has been voted several times "best shopping street" in the Netherlands thanks to its density of boutiques, independent shops and galleries.
To find out about the events organized during this very special year, you may consult the official Dutch tourism agency website.
Valletta, The Conquered City
The sixteenth-century fortified town of Valletta, built on the rugged rocks of the Mount Sceberras peninsula, is a baroque jewel dotted with churches, palaces and works of art, with a lively atmosphere and a very special local gastronomy, the result of hybridization between different traditions from the many conquerors who have occupied the island over the centuries - Arabs, Normans, Italians and the British.
Among the city’s main attractions are the sixteenth century St.John’s Cathedral, the Parliament building, Sant'Elmo Fort and the Museum of Fine Arts, which contributed to make the la Valletta a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cultural program for 2018 is built around four themes - Generations, Itineraries, Cities and Islands - and it includes festivals, traditional festivals, concerts, exhibitions, performances and other events for families and children.

Author : The Slowear Journal

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