For some years the European Union has designated a city (or collection of cities) as the European City of Culture for that year. The year offers the chance for that city to showcase its cultural life and cultural development. This system is now being subjected to some change in that, in future, there will only be one city featured in that year; the city will be known as the 'European Capital of Culture'. To avoid the fierce competition to win the accolade each EU member nation is given the opportunity 'host' the capital in turn. Britain's first year under this new system will be 2008.
In the past a number of European cities have used the City of Culture year to completely transform their cultural base and, in doing so, the way in which it is viewed internationally. Successful cities of culture include: Glasgow, Helsinki and Rotterdam.
More details of Birmingham's bid can be found on the offical 'Be in Birmingham' web site at: http://www.beinbirmingham2008.net