Brno announced European Capital of Christmas 2024

Brno - European Capital of Christmas 2024

Czechia’s second-largest city, Brno, has been announced the winner of the European Capital of Christmas 2024 award. All cities and towns in the 27 EU member states are eligible to participate in the competition, as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and United Kingdom, so taking the crown is no mean feat. I spoke to Hana Bánovská from TIC Brno, the city’s tourist information centre, about what it took to get the title.

Brno (Czech Republic) winner of the European Capital of Christmas 2024 award

How did you feel when you found out that Brno had been named the winner of the European Capital of Christmas 2024 award? Was that a big moment for you and your team?

“We were surprised and thrilled, as it is a great reward for the work of the entire team and all the cooperating entities that prepare Brno Christmas.”

What are the criteria for being selected? What makes a city a European Capital of Christmas?

“We don’t know the precise criteria – what they really judged or where we got the most points is not public information. But the winner was decided by an international jury of nine members, and the main themes that we emphasised in the application, which were highly appreciated by the jury, were the local aspects and solidarity.

“In the evaluation, the jury also highlighted the quality of the entire submitted project, as well as the emphasis on cultural heritage, creativity, and strong identity.”

Brno,  náměstí Svobody - European Capital of Christmas 2024 | Photo: TIC Brno

What exactly does ‘solidarity’ mean?

“Solidarity means that in Brno we have many charity projects that are ongoing during the Christmas markets. That was an aspect that the jury really appreciated.”

What did you have to do to apply for the competition? Was it a long process? Did you have to prepare a lot of things?

“You need to fill out an online application form and submit your presentation, showing your concept and the topics that are important to you. So it was a presentation with photos and all the information about Brno Christmas.”

How did you present Brno in your application?

“We presented Brno as a lively city centre which is not huge, it’s very compact and full of local people. We co-operate with other institutions and there are a lot of small local businesses and craftsmen. These were the aspects that we highlighted.”

Brno - European Capital of Christmas 2024 | Photo: TIC Brno

What does winning the award mean for Brno? Will the city receive any financial rewards or is it more about the prestige?

“The title is rather symbolic. But it brings with it both prestige and also the commitment to live up to it in the following year as well, because the award is for the European Capital of Christmas 2024.”

What, in your opinion, is Brno’s biggest Christmas attraction?

“This year, it’s definitely the Brno dragon, which we dressed into a shining lightning sweater.”

What’s the Brno dragon? Is it a mascot or something that you made up?

“It’s an actual thing – it’s an old stuffed crocodile which hangs under the Old Town Hall in the city centre. It’s kind of a tourist attraction that is connected to some myths and legends, which are very popular in Brno.

“A studio made a special installation for us, so now he has a sweater, which is really specific.”

A sweater with a reindeer on it?

“No, but it has stripes – white and red, which are the colours of Brno.”

Brno dragon - European Capital of Christmas 2024 | Photo: TIC Brno
Author: Anna Fodor
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