Edinburgh is a leading ‘cultural pulse’ of Europe finds new study

Bloom was the spectacular opening event of this year's Festival Bloom. Picture: Neil Hanna
Bloom was the spectacular opening event of this year's Festival Bloom. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Edinburgh has been rated the top “cultural and creative city” of its size in Europe in a major new study which explored 30 different countries.

The Scottish capital was ranked alongside Paris and Copenhagen, which topped the categories for bigger populations, in the European Commission findings.

Researchers took the “cultural pulse” of 168 cities across Europe, examined how much the creative industries contributed to each economy and explored their efforts to attract talent and encourage participation in the arts.

Key factors taken into account included the range of arts venues, historic attractions and landmarks on offer, the number of overnight stays being recorded, and attendance at theatres, concerts and cinemas.

The number of jobs in arts, culture, media and communications were considered, along with university rankings and the number of graduates in subjects like arts and humanities.

The report states: “Edinburgh is internationally famous for its unique topography and historic architecture, with the medieval Old Town and neo-classical New Town featuring on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

“Edinburgh hosts 12 major festivals each year. Overall, its festivals are among the biggest ticketed events in the world, and the Fringe festival is now the largest annual international arts festival. Edinburgh also has a rich literary tradition dating back to the Enlightenment, which won the city the first title of UNESCO City of Literature in 2004.

“On the policy side, Edinburgh actively supports the growth of the cultural and creative sectors.

“The city has put forward a strategy to foster job creation through investment in 
innovative start-up work 
spaces. Also, the City of Edinburgh Strategic Plan 2012-17 aims to invest in sporting and cultural infrastructure to further improve quality of life and care for its citizens.”

Ian Campbell, Edinburgh City Council’s deputy culture convener, said: “This research confirms what we already know – that Edinburgh is a leading UK and European cultural capital.

“As the world’s ‘festival city’ for 70 years, a UNESCO City of Literature, a member of the World Cities Culture Forum and the home of renowned museums, galleries and venues this good news comes as no surprise.

“What we must do is 
ensure we maintain the city’s reputation, by supporting Edinburgh’s cultural economy and creating an environment which attracts and retains artists and creative people.”

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh said: “With Edinburgh known as the world’s ‘festival city’, it is extremely encouraging for Edinburgh to be ranked the top cultural and creative European city of its size in this new 
independent study.

“Edinburgh is a proud champion of the creative industries. Our dynamic mix of cultural venues, strong infrastructure, student population and recognised openness and tolerance has led to a strong overall 
performance in the report.”