Tartu Headed for Record-Breaking Year as European Capital of Culture 2024

9th Jan, 2024

Estonia's second-largest city Tartu will be marking a double celebration in January as it both takes on its title of European Capital of Culture 2024 and, uncoincidentally, kicks off what will be its most successful year ever for international conferences.

Tartu's jam-packed European Capital of Culture programme, 'Tartu2024' for short, includes over 300 events and activities throughout the year. This fact has attracted a record-breaking number international gatherings to the university city of 100,000 as attendees will have the chance to enjoy everything from folk music concerts to Japanese forest bathing.

The conference year begins in January with sTARTUpday, the largest business festival in the Baltics. Over 4,400 startup-minded people are expected to come together for the three-day event, which offers an impressive stage programme, hands-on seminars, an exhibition area showcasing innovation, and lively side events.

Other notable conferences in Tartu next year will be held by the Science Fiction Research Association, the European Society for Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies, the Association of European Printing Museums, the Trans Europe Halles network, Learner Corpus Research, and the International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchange.

Academic events will include the FOSS4G Europe Conference, the European Conference on Ecological Restoration, the BBBB conference on Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the International Symposium on Applied Phonetics.

Commenting on the boom in conference interest, Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas said, "given the sheer number of  prestigious international events coming our way in 2024, we can already call Tartu's European Capital of Culture efforts a success, even before the year has begun. We look forward to welcoming the influential entrepreneurs, academics and creators these events will bring, and we are proud to have the opportunity to show them our wonderful city."

The 'City of Good Thoughts', as Tartu is called, has long been a magnet for international conferences, particularly those related to scientific and medical fields. The city is home to Tartu University (the nation's largest) and the Estonian University of Life Sciences, as well as a number of other institutes, research centres, biotechnology industries and several software companies. Tartu is also known as the focal point of Estonia’s active biotechnology sector and a hotbed of IT development.

The Estonian Convention Bureau is a non-profit organisation established jointly by public and private sector bodies. It was founded in March 2008 in order to attract international conventions to Estonia. The bureau's 52 members include the cities of Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu, and a number of DMCs, PCOs and hotels. It is co-financed by the Estonian Tourist Board, Enterprise Estonia.

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