Veszprém has a long history going back to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen. Veszprém was the favourite city of Queen Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen. For centuries, the queens of Hungary were crowned by the bishop of Veszprém. Veszprém is still often called the "City of Queens ".
Veszprém has always played an important role as a cultural, educational, religious and touristic centre of its region. The town has a well-developed Hungarian and international commercial and industrial infrastructure, which is one of the reasons of the town’s dynamic development. Owing to its historical past and its geographical location (from one side surrounded by the hills of Bakony, on the other side by Lake Balaton) the town has a diverse cultural life with great touristic potentials. The Municipality of Veszprém is therefore devoted to support initiatives that aim to preserve and promote the cultural heritage and cultural diversity of the region.
Veszprém won the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 (ECoC), the programme is carried out jointly with the Bakony Hills and Lake Balaton region. The aim of ECoC programme is to empower civilians, representatives of the local governments, entrepreneurs, artists, and academics to collaborate and create a joint initiative that will revive the coming decades of Veszprém and its surroundings. This unique approach offers many new opportunities and close cooperation with the region. International projects – like Innovato-R URBACT transfer network - play a key role in the preparations for the ECoC programme, and they are source of important knowledge, international experiences and overall approach for our future.
During the preparation for the ECoC, we’ve assessed our strengths and weaknesses, discovered a number of areas where we need to be more efficient and where our capacities should be increased. The purpose of the URBACT transfer network is to help partner cities to find a solution to their specific problems with the active involvement of the public sector. We have discovered that the residents of our city are less active “consumers” of the cultural goods that the city has to offer than we think ideal. Public service workers are present everywhere in the life of Veszprém and we see them as an untapped resource of innovative ideas, and they can potentially contribute to streamlining processes. The aim of our URBACT Innovato-R project was to gather ideas from public service workers on how to effectively motivate city residents to make greater use of cultural events and services, thus partly preparing the year 2023 from the aspect of audience development.