The European Capital of Culture is a European Union designation, awarded to a city for a whole year during which the chosen city organises a series of cultural events. Preparing to become European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration.

In 1985, former actress Melina Mercouri, then Greece’s Minister of Culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang came up with the idea of designating an annual Capital of Culture by highlighting the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values.

Each year a city is chosen by a panel of cultural experts which reviews the cities’ proposals. Forty cities have been chosen so far. In 2016 San Sebastian will be the European Capital of Culture. The city has developed a diverse program which include celebrations that will stimulate cultural development and transformation. Culture is history, art, creativity, respect, and dialogue. Culture is in-depth development, the creation of roots, identity, freedom and blends. Culture is learning, vocation, projection, industry and wealth.


¨The essence of San Sebastian 2016 is to highlight the role of culture as a tool to improve how we live together¨, say this year's organizers. Art will flood into the city and San Sebastian will spread culture across the continent, 2016 will be without a doubt an inspiring year for local and foreign citizens.



The year will kick off in January with seven days of celebrations — 168 hours to enjoy and engage with culture. Every year San Sebastian celebrates the it’s big day on January 20th with the Tamborrada. It’s 24 hours of non-stop drumming with town’s people dressed up as Napoleonic soldiers and chefs marching to the rhythm of 6 pieces of call and response drum marches by composer Raimundo Sarriegi to commemorate the fortitude of the Basques in the face of adversity.

The inaugural celebration will include a broad range of activities from 18-24 January and will be all about showcasing artists, spaces, collectives and organisations within the city as cultural centers, museums and other venues throw open their doors. Music, exhibitions, screenings, performances, and concerts make up a programme with countless activities which aim to get citizens involved.
Become a part of of an unprecedented art scene when you visit San Sebastian in 2016!

We are particularly looking forward to the Urban spaces revamped as music boxes where 15 concerts will pop up around the city stariing international artists in today's independent music scene.


You can follw Donsotia San Sebastian 2016 on social media or keep track of the program here.