Ivo Biočina


Port of Diversity

European Capital of Culture 2020

Rijeka has always been a port that has embraced various influences imported by sea from all corners of the world, which makes the name “Port of Diversity” a perfectly apt choice for the slogan of the European Capital of Culture.


The pounding rhythm of rebellion and change has always echoed through Rijeka. Some of the most prominent names on the Croatian music and art scenes hail from Rijeka. And in 2020, the denizens of Rijeka, as well as the entire region of this once-powerful industrial city, speak through art about the city’s immense effect on the thriving Croatian creative scene and its attempt to reinvent itself for the 21st century in the best way possible.

Ivo Biočina

Rijeka is, above all, a port city with a storied history that is brimming with remnants of its glorious industrial past, which will be turned into the city’s cultural hubs by artists in cooperation with the citizens, young and old, as well as all the tourists.

Some of the most renowned Croatian artists will use projects, events, panel discussions and collaborations with the local populace as platforms for changing Europe and the world or at least the awareness of their citizens by exploring three major issues: water, work and migration.

These global topical issues, which are particularly relevant to Europe, will be addressed across the following seven flagships: Sweet & Salt, Lungomare Art, Kitchen of Diversity, Dopolavoro, Times of Power, Children’s House and 27 Neighbourhoods.


Some of the names involved are Idis Turato, Igor Eškinja, Damir Martinović Mrle, Numen/For Use and Davor Sanvincenti, while certain parts of the city are being made into art oases with permanent installations and projects that will transform Rijeka into a brand new metropolis, as has been the case with most capitals of culture.


The drawing of funds for the development of the capital will create a spill-over effect on rural regions, which is why some of the programmes will take place in Lošinj, Brseč, Crikvenica, Lopar, Baška, Lovranska Draga and other Rijeka “neighbourhoods”.

Petar Fabijan / TZ Rijeka

Over € 100 million in funds is quite a large sum, but drawing in citizens and tourists to generally improve their environment and living conditions by implementing all the programmes makes for expectations that cannot be measured in numbers.

TZ Rijeka

Today, the European Capital of Culture is the EU’s strongest cultural project, which is exceptionally successful in realising the idea of its founders to stimulate the exchange of cultures, in addition to goods, among member states, peoples, artists, and, ultimately, fellow citizens and neighbours.

A portion of the funds will be invested in infrastructure projects. This means that the former Rikard Benčić factory will become a new shrine of culture in Rijeka, while institutions such as the Rijeka City Museum, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, City Library and the Children’s House will become centrepieces of cultural life in Rijeka, following their makeover.

Goran Razić

As long as all the citizens are involved, culture can generate change that should and must improve people’s lives and make life in the city and the region happier and more fulfilled.