The programme will be introduced to the media and the public in succession over September and October and divided into seven themed flagships, with each providing an array of separate programmes and projects.
Events that will take place in Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County in 2020 as part of the 27 Neighbourhoods flagship, which has a distinct regional and European flavour, were introduced today.
Cultural mobilisation of residents and the local population across Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
The name of the flagship itself – 27 Neighbourhoods – is a symbolic reference to the 27 countries of the European Union that form the European neighbourhood of Croatia. Also involved in Rijeka’s European Capital of Culture programme are the residents and local population of 27 cities, towns, municipalities and villages in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, which are connected with the same number of local areas and organisations from the European Union via the Capital of Culture project.
This is a case of a hitherto unseen cultural mobilisation. However, it should also be noted that the Capital of Culture project is essentially a conduit for connecting European citizens by introducing and learning more about the cultural diversity of countries that make up the total wealth of Europe.
Interconnections and collaboration networks guarantee future European socialisation
As emphasised several times at today’s introduction of the implementing programme, in addition to the Neighbourhood Festival, which will be held in the wider area of Gorski Kotar, as well as in Rijeka and numerous other coastal towns and municipalities, the value of this portion of the European Capital of Culture programme is reflected in the interconnection of European citizens by creating collaboration networks as a guarantee of future cultural activities that will continue even after 2020.
Neighbourhood festivals in the mountains and at sea – from spectacular bell-ringers to nanotechnology
Neighbourhood festivals offer a plethora of cultural and art programmes that provide a fascinating and alluring platform for smaller communities to convey their everyday life, as well as issues that are common in urban and rural areas of Gorski Kotar, the islands, coast, cities, towns and villages.
Bell-ringers, the most famous paraders of cattle-themed carnival magic in Croatia, will ring in the Neighbourhood festivals in February of 2020. The Grobnik “dondolaši” and various other bell-ringing groups from all over Europe will come together in the Bell-Ringer’s Symphony in the neighbourhood of Čavle, a small municipality outside Rijeka, while the Bell-Ringer’s Festival in the neighbourhood of Matulji, also located near Rijeka, will present the magical ritual of carnival customs and the valuable initiative for the opening of a school for obtaining knowledge rooted in traditional customs. The Campus for All programme, which encompasses 19 year-round projects implemented by professors and students from the University of Rijeka, such as Smart STEM Workshops or Inspirations from the Nano World etc., will be held throughout the year at the university campus, which will connect with Trieste, another 2020 European Capital of Culture, at an international conference in March of 2020.
The secrets of Lujzijana and testimonies by sailors on archaeological bicycle trails to the Mrkopalj Winter Museum in April
In April, Delnice will tell the story of a road that lost its purpose. With the Luizijana Magic Tour show, the Trafik art collective brings a world premiere inspired by road movies.
Kostrena, one of the wealthiest municipalities in the Rijeka region, will tell a unique story via audio recordings and an interesting exhibition of the recollections of sailors from Kostrena and their families by looking back at transitional moments, property issues and the foundation of the Sailor’s House. Guided by the idea of an open-air museum, in the neighbourhood, they systemise the archaeological heritage of Rab Island by connecting it with walking and cycling trails. The opening ceremony and the unveiling of the Rab Open-Air Archaeological Museum will be accompanied by the Rab Archaeological (T)races 2020 race. In Mrkopalj in Gorski Kotar, the Winter Museum will be presented by telling stories and collecting myths and legends. An international peace conference will also be held in Mrkopalj in April of 2020 as a continuation of the Peace School tradition.
From Saint George’s Day to the link-up with the International Space Station in Rijeka and music, dancing and gastronomy on Krk Island
The programme of Pehlin, a neighbourhood in west Rijeka, will begin in May with Saint George’s Day, a traditional festivity celebrated by the Roma community of Pehlin, and end with the May Festivity celebrated by the Czech national minority with concerts, exhibitions, events and gastronomy as a way to spread the values of knowing and understanding each other better.
Also in Rijeka, in Turnić – Mlaka, a twinned neighbourhood connected by the urban life of modernist and socialist industrial heritage, in addition to an array of cultural programmes, there will be a 5-minute link-up with NASA’s International Space Station (ISS)! The programme in Malinska on Krk Island evokes flavours, sounds, scents and colours with an international food industry conference, jazz concerts and the planting of new trees.
Taking place in late May, in the town of Krk, is ČAgaj 2020 – a new, unusual and entertaining dance festival will take place, where the young and old, locals and foreigners, professionals and amateurs will be dancing in the streets, shops, on the beaches and in every nook and cranny on Krk Island.
June in Brod na Kupi, Škurinje in Rijeka, Lovran and Vrbnik on Krk Island
The Brod na Kupi programme is spearheaded by a strong and seasoned institution – the Rijeka Natural History Museum, while the June Evenings at Zrinski Castle in Brod na Kupi brings concerts, shows, lectures on popular science, exhibitions and film screenings. The Škurinje – Culture with a View programme in the Rijeka neighbourhood of Škurinje explores historical processes and the future of this part of the city. The programme includes the creative and artistic engagement of neighbours, the implementation of educational programmes on urban “green” topics, the establishment of green libraries in the hallways of buildings in Škurinje and several other topics. The natural elements of the sea and the mountains on one side and the historic centre of Vienna on the other are blended together in the Lovran neighbourhood culture and arts programme, which centres on the revival of the historic centre and topics that deal with the aspect of drinking water. The Lovran neighbourhood festival will end with a traditional sailboat race and a dance event for all ages. In Vrbnik on Krk Island, traditional folk dances will be fused with contemporary musical genres and the programme will also include gastronomy and language by offering a narrative on the necessity of preserving the unique Croatian Glagolitic script.
Accordion Mundial, kite-flying at the Wind Celebration, lanterns and lights in Novi Vinodolski, artist in the woods
The settlement of Gomirje in Gorski Kotar, the location of the westernmost monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will host the Gomirje Accordion Mundial international accordion festival, thus placing the tiny village on the wider European and global music map. The Wind Celebration is a festival of unity and kite-flying in Unije that wants to remind us of the importance of humans and nature living in harmony. The Novi Vinodolski Summer Rumpus in Novi Vinodolski begins in late July with the Wonderland programme during which hundreds of boats will set sail for Sv. Marin Island, accompanied by music, lights and the release of lanterns. The Okolotorno event, which includes exciting walks through the lit-up and decorated streets of the old town will also take place. The Kuti Happy Village programme in Kuti stimulates the creation of content for children and youth. The first Croatian Reading Room of the Kuti village was established in 1936 in Kuti. Once a happy village, today it only has 30 inhabitants and as many as 9,000 books! In 2020, it will host artists, authors and illustrators of children’s literature, who will create new works that will be staged in the woods, while the idea of the happy village will spread throughout the Municipality of Brod Moravice and its 38 villages.
From plays of light, adventures and walks to simulations of dams breaking and flooding Rijeka
On Cres, the exhibition People Make the Island will be held in late August and enhanced with “klapa” songs rendered the old way. Hanging clothes on “tiramole” (clotheslines) as part of the Our Daily Laundry programme will result in creating signposts for visitors, while the main event – Light in the Corner – will feature a playful performance by the Svetlobna Gverila art collective from Ljubljana. The programme of the Praputnjak neighbourhood in the vicinity of Rijeka is aimed at people interested in adventure, socialising and games. Praputnjak will host exhibitions, walks, dry-stone wall and “počivalo” (memorial stone) placing workshops, poetry and song. The Jelenje neighbourhood programme initiates the topic of water management and the campaign for cleaning up the Rječina riverbed, while a 3D video simulation of the dam breaking and flooding the Delta in the Rijeka area will be shown in cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Rijeka.
October in the neighbourhoods centres on the fight against apartmentisation, depopulation and for the Chakavian dialect and a clean environment
The Crikvenica programmes centre on an old village atop Kotor hill, which is one of the few locations that have not been affected by apartmentisation. And they wish to keep it that way. The Fužine programme deals with the issue of the depopulation of Gorski Kotar by offering a narrative on the closing of schools due to a lack of pupils, while the Kastav neighbourhood deals with the topic of endangered languages and the language rights of minorities, since today there are less than 1000 speakers of the Kastav Chakavian dialect. The Bordering Neighbourhood programme of the Drenova neighbourhood in Rijeka was inspired by the idea of exploiting the potentials of the settlement that might become the driving force behind the development of various content aimed at spending quality free time. As part of the 27 Neighbourhood flagship, Opatija raises the issue of an environmental future without waste in tourism.
Cinema network in exotic locations and Vitamin D
Apart from the Neighbourhood Festival, the Cinema Network in Exotic Locations programme will take place all year round in the small towns and villages in Gorski Kotar, as well as the coast and islands, during which documentaries will be shown, while the Vitamin D programme will include the artists participating in residential programmes visiting locations across Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, socialising and cooperating with locals and the residents of small towns and villages.
All the details of the programme prepared by the residents and locals of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County as part of the European Capital of Culture project, to which they are inviting their Croatian and European neighbours, are impossible to enumerate in a single news report. And this is exactly why these programmes need to be experienced. Such a comprehensive and well-organised engagement of the population in creating and participating in cultural content has never been achieved before. And herein lies the immeasurable value of this Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture flagship.
A sense of being European is neither dictated by administrative state borders nor the elimination of borders
The Mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, talked about the 27 Neighbourhoods flagship, a part of the European Capital of Culture programme, at today’s press conference, which marked the beginning of the introduction of flagships included in this large-scale cultural project undertaken by Rijeka, Croatia and Europe. He said that including culture in the long-term development of cities and smaller towns and villages is only possible if their residents find, sense and detect an opportunity for personal growth and responsible civic engagement in these cultural programmes and projects.
Once the wheel of creativity is set in motion, it will be difficult to stop it. And it is my personal opinion that this is the greatest value of this flagship – Obersnel stated.
Marina Medarić, Deputy Prefect of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, pointed out the cooperation established by the residents of specific small towns and villages, as well as their cooperation with European partner organisations and civic associations and also noted how, in that context, the projects enable the development of valuable and good interpersonal relations, the sharing of experiences and create an atmosphere of enjoying and learning from diversity.
Those are precisely the values that are embedded in the foundation of the European Capital of Culture project and the abundance of diversity features prominently and is best exemplified here in our very own Primorje – Gorski Kotar County, Medarić stressed.
Sonja Šišić, Head of the Primorje – Gorski Kotar County Department for Culture, Sport and Technological Culture, pointed out the specific dimension of growth, which is not only noticeable in culture, but also within the context of the social engagement of the county’s residents in resolving certain important issues.
Emina Višnić, Director of the Rijeka 2020 company, which was founded with the aim of implementing the European Capital of Culture projects, reminded us that the ECoC project brings high culture, renowned artists, exhibitions, shows and concerts that constitute a first-rate cultural offer, while explaining how this flagship was purposefully used to introduce the 2020 programmes because it brings permanent value to Rijeka and Primorje – Gorski Kotar County in the form of motivated and active residents who are aware that culture can initiate the development of their small towns and villages and make them recognisable on a grand scale.
The established European cooperation and communication with our European neighbours provide the residents of Rijeka and the county with a European cultural passport. A sense of being European or sharing the European cultural and historical heritage is neither dictated by administrative state agreements and borders nor by the elimination of borders. On the contrary, it is achieved by having a deep understanding that we can share an array of common issues, challenges and problems with the residents of other European countries, as well as find ways to solve to them, Višnić elaborated.
The aspects of the work that has been put into the development of the Neighbourhood Festival and the emotions of the residents from all over Primorje-Gorski Kotar that are involved in the European Capital of Culture project, as well as the central topics with which they are preoccupied, were discussed by Branka Cvjetičanin, Head of the 27 Neighbourhoods flagship.