ECoC candidates, current or former, awarded or not

Culture Next Cities Network is setting up formal membership for interested cities for the term 2023-2024. We are looking for 23 European cities, current or former ECoC candidates, awarded with the title or not, to officially join the network. Together, these cities will benefit from the network’s support in preparing and implementing their cultural programmes, and they will also make decisions about the future development of Culture Next from 2025 on.

In the case of more membership applications than seats available, the cities which cannot become official members at this moment will be invited to become observing members until they meet all the eligibility criteria and/or the network increases capacity to accommodate more member cities. Observing members will not have decision making rights in the network, but they will have full access to Culture Next activities.





The network membership fee is 5.000 euro for two years (2023 and 2024). It can be paid in one or more payments.



⚪ Possibility of free access for two representatives to five network conferences (cost value up to 5200 euro);

⚪ Possibility of one away mobility per term (cost value up to 1500 euro);

⚪ Communication budget of 2000 euro per term; 

⚪ Free access to the Network’s capacity building programme: annual training built on the needs of the members;

⚪ Free access to the Culture Next digital channels: the ECoC Archive, the CN contacts, documents and platform;

⚪ Technical and moral support to face the challenges specific to different phases of ECoC candidacy;

⚪ Possibility to take part in specific programmes (eg. residencies) and grant application consortia;

⚪ Participation and support in advocacy campaigns related to culture, urban development and European topics;

⚪ Opportunity to contribute to local and European policies and establish best practices in these fields;

⚪ Possibility to increase European relevance and visibility of our member cities and the impact of our cultural work.


To confirm that you represent an European city that is or was a candidate city for the European Capital of Culture title;

To present legal documents proving that that you are an ECoC bidding organisation, an ECoC legacy body, a Municipality or another type of legal entity with a written representation mandate signed by the local public authority;

To approve the Culture Next Manifesto;

To keep your city Information (website profile and internal contact data) up-to-date annually or any time it is necessary;

To be actively involved in at least one other Culture Next activity every year;

To offer at least 5 accommodation nights in their city for a visiting cultural worker, in the framework of the Culture Next mobility programme, at least once in a term;

To submit a feedback form for their Culture Next participation during the term of this agreement;

To pay the network membership fee.


Do not forget, there are only 23 seats available for member cities, and 8 are already taken by committed cities. All other seats will be distributed ”first come, first served” to any cities which meet all the eligibility criteria. All other applicant cities will get on the Culture Next waiting list and will be invited to join as observing members, with limited and paid access to the network’s activity.

ECoC AgencyECoC Legacy OrganisationMunicipalityOther & We can provide a written mandate from the Municipality delegating us to represent the city in the network


Need more details? Ask


Q: Can I join Culture Next if my city has just expressed interest in applying for ECoC?
A: As long as you meet the eligibility criteria (have a mandate from the city, have participated in a CN conference), yes you can join.

Q: What if I have never participated in a Culture Next conference before?
A: Then you can become an observing member before participating in a conference. Then you can join officially. In the meantime you will be paying your full expenses for the activities you are taking part in.

Q: What if I apply late and I don’t make it to the list of the 23 member cities?
A: In this case you get on the Culture Next waiting list and you will be invited to become an observing member, with limited and paid access to the Network activities. When Culture Next is ready to expand again, you can maybe try to apply faster.

Q: What are the legal and financial limitations when it comes to paying the membership fee?
A: Knowing that our members are in fact various legal entities from various countries, we offer you maximum flexibility: you can decide to pay your fee in 2022, 2023 or 2024, in one or more payments. You membership contract (called the Participation Agreement) will be signed with the Cluj Cultural Centre, as the Network’s Secretariat.

Q: So basically to become a member I need to pay some money and then I get some money back?
A: Not really, but yes in a way. Paying a fee shows your commitment to being part of the Network and also contributes to the financial sustainability of Culture Next. As we are currently funded through a Creative Europe grant for network development, we are happy to be able to cover almost entirely the Network’s and our members’ expenses until the end of 2024.

Q: What happens with the membership after 2024?
A: By the end of 2024 the general assembly of the Culture Next member cities will approve a new membership plan for another 2-year term (2025 and 2026) and all member cities and other candidates will be invited to renew or to obtain their membership status. We can estimate that the future membership fees will be smaller, and that the Network’s capacity to cover the expenses of the members will be smaller as well.