XV UBC General Conference in Kaunas

We are happy to welcome you to the XV General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities in Kaunas, Lithuania, on October 15 – 18, 2019.

With the population of almost 300 000, Kaunas is one of the most significant cities in the country. It is not only a city of old traditions, but also a large centre of business and industry. It can also lay claim to be the city of young people with over 35 000 students (the largest number in Lithuania) studying here. Located on the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, Kaunas was always fated to become an important historical and cultural city of Lithuania.

In 1408, Magdeburg rights were granted to the city of Kaunas by the privilege of the Grand Duke of Lithuania – Vytautas the Great. During the early 20th century, Kaunas was the home of the Lithuanian Government and served as the capital city of Lithuania for the period of 1919-1939. This was the time considered by many as the golden age of the city.

Hundreds of years of cultural heritage is preserved in the historical and architectural monuments, museums, theatres, art galleries and churches of Kaunas. In Kaunas we are proud of the importance that our people have played in contributing towards making the rich cultural, historical, and academic tapestry that is Lithuania.

Kaunas – why wait? We look forward to seeing you here very soon!

Per Bødker Andersen

President of the UBC

Dear UBC friends,
We all want to live in inclusive, safe, well-designed, well-connected cities whose growth is based on participation, dialogue, transparency and knowledge. That is the vision the cities strive for. How far are we on the way to fulfil our dream?

One of the main challenges to face nowadays is the loss of public trust. Is it the quality of government that has been declining? Or the citizens have started to expect more? Investing in trust should be considered as a central approach to ensure economic growth and to reinforce the social cohesion. The governments should learn a lesson of the crisis. The role of the cities in restoring the public confi-dence in democratic organisations and values is crucial.

The UBC General Conference in Kaunas would be an open forum to discuss these challenges. We want to focus on the questions of inclusion. How to empower the citizens’ involvement and participation? How to get the youth on board and make them feel responsible for their future?

We will try to outline the vision of the Inclusive City based on dialogue between in-habitants and decision-makers. Our discussions would concern e.g. urbanization, digitalization, regional and European co-operation. One of the sessions will be de-voted culture as a driving force of the city development.

The idea of the conference is to offer an interactive and creative forum where ideas can grow and participants are involved actively in discussions and exchange. Hope-fully, it would be also an inspiring space that gives us power to stand up to radicali-sation, discrimination and hate.

We call upon our member cities, Mayors and other city leaders, all our friends and partners to join in the UBC General Conference in Kaunas.

Visvaldas Matijošaitis

Mayor of Kaunas City

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to Kaunas – a brilliant green city, the future capital of Europe not only for Culture, but also for other innovative decisions and solutions that will bring the whole of the region around the Baltic sea into one big family. We will share our experience in developing International cooperation and projects as well as underline the importance of inclusiveness as the key factor in the future‘s works.

I hope you will bring the best memories and impressions from Kaunas!

Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022

At the beginning of 2017, Kaunas and Kaunas district were awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture for 2022. Together with various cultural organisations, artists and creatives, we develop a vast, endless and borderless programme that we call the Contemporary Capital.

Kaunas was considered the de facto temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period. After 100 years, the title is still commonly used. Kaunas 2022 strives to leave the old “temporary capital” legacy behind and transform the city into a modern contemporary capital. The remaining time until the year 2022 is our common journey from temporary to contemporary!

For more information please visit https://kaunas2022.eu/en/

CityTelling Festival

CityTelling Festival invites us to embark on a journey which will bring happiness through discoveries and new experiences. Maybe you will find something you have not expected completely, an answer to a question that you did not even know to have…

On this eight-day journey, you will be guided by experienced storytellers of Kaunas and Kaunas District: museum guides, theatre professionals, artists… They will invite you to almost 50 different events for families, people with disabilities, foreigners, youth and seniors. The stories of the festival will guide you through the long life of the city from the ancient times, to the interwar period, WW2 to these days. Each day of a festival will offer you a new page for your trip and a promise for a new adventure. The faces of this year’s festival include Helene Holzman, Henry Parland and Rosian Bagriansky. These are residents of three different ethnicities that have left their mark in the history of Kaunas. Together they remind us what rich and diverse our city and district are.

For more information please visit https://istorijufestivalis.eu/en/ 

UNESCO in Kaunas

Kaunas was booming during the interwar period: in 20 years, its population grew, the territory of the city increased 7 times and 12 000 new modern buildings were built. One of the biggest gifts of this period was unique Modernist architecture that spread throughout the city. To save the heritage and highlight its global importance, the city is actively bidding for UNESCO World Heritage List nomination.