Brno Named ‘European Capital of Christmas’ For 2024

The European Capital of Christmas jury defined Brno as “a creative Christmas gem”. In the picture, the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Green Market. Credit: NOX media for TIC Brno.

Brno, Dec 15 (BD) – The international jury of the European Capital of Christmas award has decided unanimously to award as the winner of the 2024 title, in the category of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The particularly high quality of Brno’s Christmas festivities and their relevance to the European Values of Christmas were two key factors that determined the Jury’s decision.

“Winning in this competition is a wonderful award not only for the organisers of the Christmas markets in Brno – TIC BRNO and the Brno-střed district – but also for us local Brno residents,” commented Mayor of Brno Markéta Vaňková. “The local aspect was particularly emphasised by the jury. Brno Christmas has thus established itself as a festival of a European dimension, which could mean significant support for its attendance in the following years.” 

Lighting of the Christmas tree at the Freedom square. Credit: Simona Modrá.

The European Capital of Christmas and European City of Christmas awards were established in 2017, with the patronage of the European Parliament. Since then, cities such as Liège (Belgium), Genoa (Italy), San Sebastián (Spain), Valkenburg (Netherlands) and most recently Kyiv (Ukraine) have been awarded.  

This year’s international jury, which was headed by Danuta Hübner, a member of the European Parliament, had to evaluate a record number of participating cities. The other award, in the category of cities under 100,000 inhabitants, was won by the Irish town of Waterford. The town of Almanza (Spain) also earned a special mention.  

Concert at the Freedom Square. Credit: Nikol Fojtů.

In the evaluation, the city of Brno was defined as “a creative Christmas gem, which gives a high appeal to the social and economic impacts on the urban structure”. Jana Janulíková, director of TIC BRNO, said: “The main themes we emphasised in the application, which were highly appreciated, were locality and solidarity. We have established throughout the years long-term cooperations with our local sellers, artists, musicians, designers, manufacturers, as well as Brno companies and institutions. This synergy of cooperating entities creates a completely unique authentic atmosphere at Brno Christmas. Christmas brings families together, and Brno Christmas brings Brno together!”.

Ice skating in Moravian Square. Credit: Simona Modrá.

According to Alberto Gutiérrez Alberca, president of the Christmas Cities Network, Christmas time in Europe is a period of special significance, at the core of which lay deep values of integration, tolerance, coexistence and peace. The assessment also highlights the city of Brno’s strong emphasis on cultural heritage, creativity and a strong identity, which together create the most beautiful Christmas atmosphere.  

Czech Red Cross charity donation box at the Freedom Square. Credit: Simona Modrá.

“I am glad that we managed to connect the modern concept of Advent markets with traditional values,” said the mayor of the Brno-střed district, Vojtěch Mencl. “At Zelny Trh, half of the sellers are craftspeople and bearers of folk traditions. We also dedicated a large space to parents with children, and provided stands for 60 charitable organisations in the squares. Furthermore, we are open to new ideas, such as the Donate a Cup charity project. These activities give the markets a charm of togetherness and solidarity.”

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