Norway Has a Capital of Culture, Too
Liverpool has really captured the early headlines as the 2008 Capital of Culture, but we shouldn't forget that there are two. Little-known Stavanger in Norway deserves some attention this year, too.
There are lots of reasons to visit Stavanger: It's full of wooden houses (and they're cute, too), it's rich (as a center for the oil industry--there's even an oil museum), there are lakes and fjords nearby and it's home to the oldest cathedral in Norway.
This year as part of the Capital of Culture reign, Stavanger is focusing on getting its citizens involved in cultural activities. This means that rather than the flashy Beatles-inspired shows of Liverpool, Stavanger has chosen the theme of an "Open Port" and will promote artist residencies that give opportunities for visitors and locals alike to connect personally with the arts. But they still had a big fireworks extravaganza to open the celebrations.
Interestingly, this might be the last Norwegian city that achieves the European Capital of Culture status: From now on, the capitals will be selected from European Union members. Norway's gone it alone and created a northern non-EU outpost, which will mean its cities are outcast from cultural capital chances. Oops.
[Photo: Lord Strobey]