Presentation of the Logo for the Project "Weimar – European Capital of Culture, 1999" (March 20, 1997)
In 1985, as part of an initiative proposed by Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, the Council of the European Community agreed to name a “European capital of culture” each year. That year, Athens became the first recipient of the title. In 1988, (West) Berlin became the first German capital of culture. In early November 1993, the EC Council of Ministers designated the Thuringian city of Weimar as the European capital of culture for 1999, making it the first city in the former Eastern Bloc to receive the honor. In the period leading up to 1999, both the government and private investors spent enormous sums on restoring buildings and infrastructure in Weimar in order to give a proper welcome to the expected five million visitors. A total of seven million came, handily topping estimates. Photo: Repro Hirschberger.