The first half-year of European Capital of Culture has ended: record attendance and interest from international press

Kaunas city is halfway through its year as the Capital of European Culture – over a thousand planned events are changing the cultural landscape not only of the city but of the whole country. From a record high visitor attendance to increased media coverage – “Kaunas 2022” team reveals the results of the first half.

“Over 600 events – exhibitions, performances, concerts – took place up until August in Kaunas city and its district. We are counting that during the first half-year they have received over 800 000 attendants and over 6000 professionals. It’s not just the numbers that are encouraging, but also the high level of engagement that we feel every day. From the very first day, we wanted this to be a community project, which would involve as many citizens, youth and professionals as possible in culture,” says Virginija Vitkienė, Head of Kaunas 2022.

A record number of people in the events

The most awaited and the most attention-grabbing event of the “Kaunas 2022” programme is the visit of a Serbian artist and performance master Marina Abramović and the opening of her retrospective exhibition “Memory of Being”. The public lecture given by Ms. Abramović was attended by 6 000 fans of the artist and the exhibition was visited by over 25 000 visitors. Other exhibitions have also been well attended, for example, the exhibition “What We Do Not Remember” by artist W. Kentridge, which will run until the end of the year, has already attracted more than 27 000 visitors.


The events of the contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy were also very popular. In January, over 150 000 people watched the cultural “Confusion” in Kaunas at the pan-European event, and in May, the “Confluence” weekend flooded the city with over 300 000 culture enthusiasts.


“It is not only the involvement of Kaunas residents that is encouraging, but also the fact that the city is becoming more and more interesting to international audiences. By July, around 20 000 tourists had already visited Kaunas. I think that well-known names and the events of the Cultural Capital have helped to reach out to people in European countries. Visitors from abroad are interested in Kaunas modernism, exhibitions and the “CulturEUkraine” centre for Ukrainian artists, which has just opened its doors. We receive many Germans, Italians and people from neighbouring countries – Poland, Latvia and Estonia. It’s great to see more and more people coming to Kaunas for a whole weekend or a few days instead of just half a day – there are more and more activities to be found here,” says Mindaugas Reinikis, Head of Communications and Marketing.

Increased media attention

According to Reinikis, it was the topic of the European Capital of Culture that was the most prominent in foreign media. “During this six-month period, Kaunas was visited by 144 journalists from 19 countries. Articles, interviews and reports were produced and reached large foreign audiences.”

“Kaunas 2022” has been covered in 62 countries, including not only European countries, but also the USA, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. Readers of media outlets such as the BBC, CNN, TIME, “The Guardian”, “The Telegraph”, “Deutsche Welle” and “Financial Times” have learned about Kaunas.

More culture as autumn approaches

According to V. Vitkienė, Head of Kaunas 2022, the impressive results of the first half-year are not over yet. “These figures only reflect the statistics for the months of January – June. In the summer, we are inviting people to many events – the electronic music festival “Storm”, the performing arts festival “ConTempo”, “CityTelling Festival”. Finally, the autumn is full of events. So we look forward to sharing even more positive results in early 2023.”

The fast approaching autumn will indeed bring even more cultural experiences to Kaunas. “CityTelling Festival”, which began in the summer, will continue until November; Jenny Kagan’s exhibition “Out of Darkness”  which presents the history of the Kaunas Ghetto; exhibition “The Learning Garden of Freedom” dedicated to Yoko Ono’s work will be opened; the screening of a video tape which has travelled around the world – “Pleats” – that is dedicated to the modernism of Kaunas, as well as the favorite of Kaunas citizens – “Fluxus Festival”.

The full Kaunas 2022 programme is available at www.kaunas2022.eu or on the mobile app.