The European Capital of Democracy initiative
Starting in autumn 2021, every year a different European city will be designated the European Capital of Democracy. It will serve as the stage and floor for all of us who engage to innovate and strengthen democracy.
We – individuals, politicians, experts, activists, artists, foundations, administrations, academia and the corporate world – will meet there and work on what needs to be done, together.
And it starts now.
The enemies of democracy never sleep. Neither do we.
Messages from our Supporters
Be part of it!
We invite you to look for the best practices in democratic politics. So if you know about lighthouse projects you believe are exemplary and should be considered by us, please let us know and write us an email.
Join us in creating the
European Capital of Democracy!
We are building a stronger Europe with resilient democracies based on our common values of social balance, prosperity, and human rights.
With the European Capital of Democracy we are creating a highly visible space for cities to highlight their democratic practices so citizens can experience real democracy in action and regain their trust in this best form of government.
If you would like to keep informed on the development of the European Capital of Democracy, please join us.
What do Mayors think about Democracy?
Our work is based on the principle that authority is vested in the people
Enhanced communication between groups that have different, but legitimate interests is vital for a functioning democracy.
We need to invest in citizens’ engagement to find a way out of the current crisis of democracy
Democratic cities strive for social balance and enable participation
Voices of Democracy
“While we reflect on the historic victory of the Polish Solidarity movement on its fortieth anniversary, we need to address the fact that our freedom and openness are in crisis. To defend the free and open world we need to firmly stand up to challengers that see our values and way of life as a threat. We need to make people feel once again that institutions represent them and are accountable to their voices.”
We believe cities are rising actors that can deliver the necessary answers to illiberal populism and other global issues. They can also serve as a vehicle for relaunching a cross-border dialogue, based on collaboration and progressive values. Cities are in fact the link between the local and the global. They are places of inspiration, refuge, freedom and progress. Many of our own projects such as “New Urban Progress” take this perspective. To see European cities in a friendly competition for democratic values like participation is a fantastic vision. This is why we support the ECoD initiative by heart.
Already as a child I loved to travel to the European Capitals of Culture. It was thrilling to experience Europe, localism and culture all in one and I told my friends about it. The idea of launching the European Capital of Democracy is brilliant: one day it will be my children telling their friends in school that they have visited a European city in summer that was full of inspiration for sustainable communities, participation and democratic digitalisation.
I believe that it is time for a new solidarity. New European Solidarity. We have to give our democracies new meaning and take them to a better place together. Therefore, I am certain that the European Capital of Democracy initiative is a path that will lead to us regaining trust in democracy – without doubt, the best form of government.
In our Europe, democracy is not a concept, but participation and policies that improve quality of life. The key to achieving this goal is to highlight best practice and efforts in the fields of policy, education, culture, social inclusion and innovation.
Democracy and cities have a common tense: the future. Both democratic negotiation as well as urban cohabitation are based on permanent change. There are no final certainties, everything is subject to the demand to change. With their promise of the future, cities are constantly attracting new ideas and people who are realising the ideal of democracy as foreign friends. The micropolitical experiences of the city have a great impact, often transversely to national structures. From Krutikov’s Flying City to the real utopias of municipalism, it is always about the question: How do we want to live together tomorrow, as strangers, next door to one another?