Derry & Strabane and Belfast will today launch a joint bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023. The two regions have joined forces to strengthen the chances of securing the title.
They are expected to go head-to-head against a number of other cities and regions including Leeds, Milton Keynes, Truro in England and Dundee in Scotland for the coveted title.
Derry secured the first UK City of Culture title for 2013 and is hoping to go one better this time round with Belfast.
The UK and Hungary have been chosen as the two destinations to host the title in 2023.
The launch of the bid today comes after years of joint preparatory work.
Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, will be travelling together from Belfast City Hall to Derry today for the launch.
A bus with the two First Citizens is expected to arrive in Guildhall Square at around 12.15pm followed by a short reception at the Guildhall’s Main Hall.
Belfast City Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council have said that if the north’s two main cities are successful in this bid, local people can expect a year-long programme of cultural events with a strong European dimension. They have said that this will broaden cultural access and participation and showcase both cities and the region, resulting in economic and social benefits.
The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is an annual designation awarded by European Commission to nations inside and outside of the EU.
Since it launched in 1985, 56 cities have hosted the title including two in the UK – Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.
In Ireland, Dublin held the title in 1991, Cork in 2005 and Galway will be Capital of Culture in 2020.