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Perspectives of Culture/Cultural Policy

How the Capital of Culture Year Changed the City

Over decades, the Upper Austrian capital has constantly changed, acquiring a new self-confidence, but it was the Capital of Culture Year that boosted the further transformation and development of Linz. Linz changes – this is the new slogan of the city.
A central objective of Linz09 for the city was clearly met: to draw the attention to Linz beyond regional borders and to acquire international reputation. In addition, today the city is known for being interesting, dynamic, modern and open-minded, thus has acquired a much more positive image both in Austria and in Europe. To ensure that Linz maintains its success in the long term, the city decided to evaluate and to redesign the Cultural Development Plan elaborated in 2000. This project was finished in 2013.

Sustainable Urban Development

The change in the city was associated with a change in the mindset of people, enabling not only tourists to discover Linz, but also the citizens, based on a new perspective, to rediscover their city. The new diversity of events as well as a wider selection of restaurants and bars, public transport and urban development significantly increased the quality of life in Linz.
New cultural buildings sustainably changed the cityscape as well as the cultural life. The LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz was opened in 2003 and the Knowledge Tower in 2007, followed by the rebuilt Ars Electronica Center with its characteristic architecture on the Northern side of the Danube. The reconstructed south wing of the Castle Museum offers new views of Linz. The State Library in the listed building from the 1930s was also rebuilt and enlarged. Another newly opened cultural venue is the international studio house Atelierhaus Salzamt where young European artists can deepen their talents.

New Diversity and a Modern Definition of Culture

The audience in Linz has become curious. The new focus is a modern definition of culture which turned culture consumers, who took a passive attitude up to that point, into active participants in impressive Linz09 projects, such as the Linz Cloud of Sound, the District of Culture of the Month, Bellevue and the Academy of the Impossible, just to mention a few. A real highlight was the Höhenrausch exhibition on the rooftops of Linz with a record number of 270,000 visitors. No contemporary art exhibition in Austria was ever visited by so many people.
Linz09 projects created a new social awareness. The Linz Charter, for example, drawn up by the city council within the scope of the Acoustic City initiative, became a policy vehicle for approaching noise and was introduced in other countries.

Networks and Successes

Linz09 resulted in stronger networks in Linz, networks between cultural institutions, between culture, tourism and economy as well as with many other cities at international level, sustainably increasing quality standards of cultural activities and of interdisciplinarity as well as the willingness of many players to cooperate.
Looking at the number of tourists visiting Linz, the result is overwhelmingly positive: while other Austrian cities see a decline, Linz had an increase in overnight stays by about 10 percent, despite a decrease in business travellers.
Linz09 has become exemplary, a development which was possible by the common efforts of a large number of people, all pulling in the same direction. Based on the ambitious work done by the Linz09 team and many participants, a common idea was realized.

New Culture Development Plan

The new Culture Development Plan, which has continuously been developed since 2010 and was finished in 2013, underpins the necessity of a continuous cultural development after Linz09. 

Linz 2009. Application for European Capital of Culture 2009 (PDF, 1,4 MB) (new window).


Linz Culture
Pfarrgasse 7
4041  Linz

phone: +43 732 7070 0
fax: +43 732 7070 1955

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