The European Cultural Centre 


Sixty years ago, the Swiss philosopher and great pioneer of European integration, Denis de Rougemont, believed in a cultural Europe, in a Europe with direct participation of people beyond the nation-state and culture as a vital ingredient for Europe's post-war rebuilding and healing. Sixty years later, the importance of culture within the paradigm of our society's wellbeing still needs recognition and further active stimulation more than economic growth. To achieve a sustainable Europe, the environmental, social and cultural objectives have to be rebalanced against the financial and economic ones. The role of creative and critical thinking, fostered by arts and cultural activities, also plays a key role if the citizens are to regain trust in Europe.
The reason for the need of the existence of a place for European arts and culture is rooted in this statement by Denis de Rougemont. Today's ‘Erasmus generation' is living Europe and is its future. Coming from Europe and abroad, they share an interest in the development of alternative approaches and improvement of cultural research and awareness. Implementation of knowledge, which leads to an ongoing questioning and through knowledge and many connections come through the internet these days. A real physical venue in the city of Venice offers everybody a unique meeting place in Europe to explore, experience, document and present cultural togetherness.

What is the ECC?  

The European Cultural Centre (ECC) is a place for reflection, research and creation, for interdisciplinary encounters, as well as for resources and experimentation.   The ECC provides the conditions to invite artistic and creative practices, a process of learning and experiencing from all fields - visual art, dance, performance, theatre, music, literature, architecture, etc. It is a place for investigating the most vital contemporary issues in order to design a shared future.   Being a place in perpetual motion, besides exhibiting finalised projects, the ECC goes further and presents projects that strongly interact between the various creative practices, the city, participants and visitors from all over the world.  
The activities include hosting creative professionals in residence, providing research assistance to all artistic disciplines, organising art events, exhibitions, publications, training, lectures, public debates and symposiums for various fields of thought. Our first exhibition in the year 2011 was visited by almost 40.000 people, in the mean time our exhibition venues are visited by over 600.000 people every year.

The participants of the residencies come from all artistic and cultural backgrounds. The subjects and forms of research do not necessarily fit the usual practices or disciplines. The purpose of the ECC Residency Program is to explore new collaborative and creative processes, as well as a new interaction with the city, its surroundings and its visitors.  

The publications are an extension of the projects and research that have been developed and/or presented at the ECC. Various editorial forms and the website reflect different practices and activities carried out by the ECC, thus building up and making visible a platform for theoretical and artistic perspectives on culture.  

Although the ECC can make use of different palazzi, the main venue is Palazzo Mora, located in the historical centre of Venice. It is available for residencies, exhibitions, workspaces and several other culture related activities. It is an open and engaging place, where it is possible to set up a creative work centre. It is also a documentation centre for information, European network activities, publications, videos and reports on experiences and presentations resulting from research projects led by the European Cultural Centre.

How does the ECC work?  

Network and partners
The ECC is operated by the European Cultural Centre Foundation and works with the curatorial contributions of several European structures: EU networks, universities, foundations, curators, festivals, private initiatives and scientific as well as cultural institutions. To strengthen its European dimension, the ECC establishes contacts with a network of partners. This network of partners can also play the role of correspondent in a regional or national area.  

The European Cultural Centre Foundation is registered in the Netherlands. 

Why Venice?  

Venice was chosen as the seat of the European Cultural Centre not only for its historical importance but also for a number of specific features that make it the ideal venue for the realisation of the objectives of the ECC. Venice is a city with an extraordinary concentration of facilities and organisations dedicated to culture. The historic centre is only populated by approximately 60,000 inhabitants- but it sustains 45 active museums; 7 active theatres; 14 foundations with the objectives to promote and develop culture; 2 leading universities; an art academy; a conservatory and many public libraries; 32 consulates and regional offices of UNESCO, WHO and the Council of Europe; places of worship for many religions, but is also a home to an atheist association; as well as La Biennale di Venezia, which presents projects related to art, architecture, cinema, dance, music and theatre.  

Venice, since hundreds of years an important exporter of European culture, has always been a place of cultural exchange. The European Cultural Centre reflects upon the dynamics of European culture and influences, upon how Europe is seen within and outside its borders. All of this makes Venice an excellent place to study the sociological and ethnological development of the European society in general, it is the ideal place to come to understand who we are and how we are seen.