European ‘Houses’ of Culture

10 project ideas selected

The Call for Ideas invited the EUNIC network, together with EU delegations and local partners to identify innovative ideas of European collaboration for European ‘Houses’ of Culture. An international selection committee of 5 chose 10 project ideas out 44 applications at a selection meeting on 4 July 2019. The project ideas were selected based on the selection criteria in the Call for Ideas.

The following project ideas will be funded with up to 10.000 Euros and will be developed further:

Belarus: ‘European Capital of Culture in Belarus - A Simulation Game’
The newly formed EUNIC cluster Belarus will appropriate Europe's most successful tool of cultural policy and strategic development - the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) - and proclaim a national competition of 5 regional cities in Belarus to become Europe's first quasi ECoC. The candidate cities will be tandemed with former ECoC’s from EUNIC member countries.

Benin: ‘Urban Cult Lab'Africa’
The Urban Cult Lab' Africa project extends to the cultural and creative activities developed in 5 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Togo) of the sub-region, by the French-speaking network of Fablabs of West Africa (ReFFAO). It aims to strengthen the network logic, carry urban forms of creation in the participating countries and connect with actors identified by the European partners.

El Salvador, Guatemala & Honduras: ‘Circuito Europeo Teatral Centroamericano’
The "Circuito Europeo Teatral Centroamericano” (European Central American Theatre Circuit) consists in creating a circuit for exhibition of theatre plays, based on the contemporary creation of European dramaturgy, with theatre companies from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Ethiopia: ‘Tibeb be Adebabay - Art in Public Spaces’
Tibeb be Adebabay (Amharic for art in public space) is a week-long participatory street festival that is planned at different public locations in Addis Abeba at the beginning of May 2020, including the Europe Day on 9th May. Various artists from different disciplines (Ethiopian and European) will bring art into people's daily lives by taking different artistic activities to public spaces and inviting citizens of Addis Abeba to participate.

Guinée-Bissau: ‘Nô Tchon, Nô Arte 2020’
Creative residency of several weeks between Bissau-Guinea and European organisations. The overall objective aims at deepening the networking initiated by the partners; at developing viable partnerships with companies and national institutions; and at enhancing the artistic and cultural dynamics in Guinea-Bissau.

Mongolia: ‘Nogoonbaatar International Eco-Art Festival’
The project proposes an Eco-Art Festival named “Nogoonbaatar, the first-ever Eco-Art Festival in Mongolia and taking place in Ulaanbaatar during the first weekend of June 2020. The purpose of this festival is to critically engage with environmental issues through the arts.

Nigeria: ‘Identity and History - Nigerian Museums as Houses of Culture’
Heritage project aimed at increasing cooperation between EU countries and Nigerian / African cultural professionals working in the museums sector through capacity building, networking and other exchange activities. The activities will focus on some of the following themes: audience development and more inclusive approaches to museum, sustainable models, museums and education and museum as public spaces.

Sri Lanka: 'On Language and Multitudinal Belonging'
On Language and Multitudinal Belonging' as a part of the Colomboscope festival includes preliminary activities for the festival edition 'Language is Migrant': in-depth field research, professional development workshops and mentoring circles as well as artist residencies bringing together international creative practitioners with Sri Lankan collaborators situated in different regions of the island.

USA: ‘The Grid’
The Grid connects and intertwines the worlds of arts and technology (Art + Tech), Europe and the United States. Its objective is to map existing and potential intersections between artists and technologists, thinkers and other creative minds, art institutions and tech giants, as well as startups, community-based initiatives, academia, research, and mediators in cultural relations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Vietnam: ‘European House in Hanoi - enabling offline and online cultural encounters in Vietnam’
The European House in Hanoi combines the use of physical and virtual space. A newly opened physical art space will be multifunctional and prone for artistic and cultural exchange. The content of the APP grows from this environment and extends into the public spaces (parks, squares, market halls) with art experience through Augmented Reality technology.


The European ‘Houses’ of Culture is an EU-funded project attributed to EUNIC. The EUNIC Global office manages the action and carries out the main actions of the project, from conducting the mapping and preparing the call to evaluating the project and reporting back to the European Commission.

The Preparatory Action was initiated by the European Parliament to test and implement innovative collaboration models between European actors (EUNIC members and EU delegations) and local stakeholders in non-EU countries. The project helps to deliver the EU strategy on international cultural relations.

The term ‘Houses’ is to be understood rather symbolically: the project tests collaboration models and practices in a broader sense, that create spaces, whether physical or digital, permanent or temporary, for cultural exchange, co-creation and people-to-people contacts.

The overall budget of the project amounts to EUR 833,419 for two years. It is co-funded by the European Commission (90%) and by EUNIC Global (10%).

For more information about the project and its process, contact:
Robert Kieft (Project Manager) at
Roxane Schavoir (Project Officer) at


The baseline mapping presents the results of the mapping process in the European ‘Houses’ of Culture. The mapping process looks at past and current practice of European collaboration in culture both inside and outside of the EU, realised by EUNIC members as well as by other actors or organisations (e.g. civil society).

The baseline mapping is not intended to be a comprehensive inventory of all the initiatives that could be labelled as European ‘Houses’ of Culture; it rather serves as inspiration for future collaboration projects. Proposals submitted to the Call for Ideas within European ‘Houses’ of Culture may result from adapting the collaboration projects presented in the baseline mapping, or they may be completely new ideas.


The Call for Ideas to identify innovative collaboration models between EUNIC members, EU delegations and local stakeholders in third countries. The call will have two phases:

Phase 1 identifies 10 innovative ideas that will be further developed into project proposals:

  • 3 April 2019- Launch of Call for Ideas
  • 23 June 2019 - Deadline for submission4 July 2019 - Selection of 10 ideas
  • 5 July 2019 - Publication of selection results
  • 30 September/1 October - Creative Lab (project team invited to Brussels to work on follow-up proposals)
  • September-December 2019 - Further development of proposals into project plan

Phase 2 will select 5 out of the 10 project proposals to be implemented as pilot projects:

  • 15 December 2019 - Deadline for submission of project plans
  • January 2020 - Evaluation of project plans
  • February 2020 - Publication of results
  • March-October 2020 - Implementation period (8 months)

Please find all relevant documents (baseline mapping, Call for Ideas and templates, FAQ document) here.


Evaluation of the concept and collaboration models of European ‘Houses’ of Culture, notably to what extent they could become a tool to help deliver the new EU strategy for international cultural relations. The results will be presented during a conference in Brussels in December 2020.

The evaluation will include:

  • Policy recommendations
  • A toolkit with the models identified, lessons learned, good practice and recommendations

Main Actions


The role of culture in EU external relations has been a priority for the EU since 2007. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the EU’s approach to international cultural relations, with the emphasis being placed in going beyond the notion of presenting the diversity of European cultures and focusing instead on a cultural relations approach based on people-to-people contacts.

A turning point in this process was the Joint Communication “Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations”, jointly published in June 2016 by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, and the European Commission. This document sets the framework for the EU and its Member States’ activities in international cultural relations. It calls for enhanced cooperation between EUNIC, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and the European Commission (EC).

The Joint Communication was endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in May 2017. Following the publication of this document, an Administrative Arrangement between the EC, the EEAS, and EUNIC was signed in May 2017 to strengthen collaboration between EUNIC and EU Delegations in non-EU countries.

In July 2018, EUNIC was invited by the European Commission to submit a proposal to test and define the concept of European ‘Houses’ of Culture. EUNIC Global submitted its proposal to the European Commission, in particular the Directorate-General for Education,Youth, Sports and Culture (DG EAC), in September 2018. It was received positively, and the project was launched in December 2018.