Let's rethink!
Tuesday 31 January 2017



On the 21st of January it was held the official launching of Aarhus ECoC 2017! With Paphos, they will be for one year at the centre of attention of Europe. Aarhus 2017 will use art and culture to rethink the challenges of tomorrow!

With a budget of 57,6 millions Euros, and almost 10 years of preparation, Aarhus 2017 has for mission to create sustainable development – cultural, human, and economic growth – inspiring citizens to live, work and participate in this European region. To define this objective, the city of Aarhus and all its partners needed time and a lot of commitment. Between 2008 and 2010 more than 10 000 people have participated in a consultation process that showed that European societies are facing numerous common challenges at different levels (climate change, social exclusion and economic crisis) and that it is needed to think differently to find new solution for those issues.

It is the origin of the core concept of Aarhus 2017: Let’s rethink!

Since all those challenges are common to other European countries, Aarhus ECoC 2017 will aim particularly in developing partnerships to share European ideals and cultural diversity in order to use cultural and creative resources to rethink together with Europe and think anew about the future of Europe.

With 3 values at the core of the project: Sustainability, Diversity and Democracy, the programme has been imagined as a seasonal cycle to give shape and tempo to the year with 4 Mega events for the 4 seasons and 12 Full Moon events for the 12 months of the year. Thus, winter will be the season of darkness, where people come together, light candles and make wishes. It will also be the time of the grand opening and closing events. Spring will focus on the Danish history. Summer will look for new answers to common European challenges and invite the world in, and finally Autumn will look towards the future, with the past in mind.

Like every ECoC, Aarhus 2017’s projects will focus on specific themes (Liveability, Food and gastronomy, Nature, Sport and play, History, Belief, Generations) and work on three main concepts that will drive the programme throughout the year:

  • Rethink art and creativity: challenge cultural institutions, engage in new partnerships and experiment new art formats and new aesthetics in order to reach larger audiences.
  • Rethink the city: explore its future, its collective memory, tradition and history and use what already exists in new ways.
  • Rethink values: find solutions to social, cultural and environmental challenges by focusing on diversity, democracy and sustainability.

As the core concept is to rethink things, all the time, Aarhus has been well aware that everything might not happened all the time as planned and sometimes even change would be needed. For this reason they chose to continuously adapt in order to seize every opportunity, and in the meantime have developed a partnerships with the University of Aarhus to ensure both that the programming is heading right toward its objectives and also to ensure that this ECoC year will bear a long term legacy.
RethinkIMPACT 2017 will be the main body to evaluate the results and the degree of achievement of Aarhus 2017 objectives.

Developed in a partnership framework, Aarhus 2017 has only been possible thanks to the gathering of all the 18 municipalities of the Central Denmark Region and also all the content providers, partners/sponsors, politicians and citizens. Now, Jacob Bunddsgaard Mayor of Aarhus and Chairman of the Board Aarhus 2017, with all the partners and people involved are looking forward for Aarhus ECoC 2017 to be a game changer, a new beginning, with long term impacts on culture, on the image and identity of the city, on the improvement of economic dynamism, on the development of a more active citizenship, on the strengthening of the relations across sectors and between institutions and finally, on the good management of Aarhus 2017 and its legacy.

Now it is your turn to visit Aarhus 2017, discover all the cultural events organised throughout the year and become part of the Rethink movement, just as Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, states in her foreword to the programme: “Rethink: Think the new, think anew, think again!”

For further
information on Aarhus 2017, please visit the website of Aarhus 2017:; you will also find the detailed programme of the numerous cultural events.

As both the programme and the management of Aarhus 2017 are of great interest, LIKE, network of European cities and Regions for Culture, has chosen to
hold, in partnership with the city of Aarhus and Aarhus 2017, an event next 14 & 15 September in Aarhus about the future of ECoC in the EU : Le Rendez-Vous d'Aarhus - what kind of Capitals for Culture? . Join us there! 

For more information: