Thessaloniki: a 2,300-year-old young lady


A year of creativity, cooperation, opportunities and hope for young Greek people in times of crisis: in 2014 Thessaloniki will be the European Youth Capital (EYC). With an ambitious, lively, multifaceted 12-month program, the organisation takes on a great challenge: to win the massive and effective participation of citizens, especially young people, in order to create a new model, away from extremism and social exclusion that would “invest” in democracy.

The program of Thessaloniki – EYC 2014 launches with a three day opening event (21st – 23rd November 2013) with many activities around the city’s neighbourhoods, also in parallel with the European Youth Forum’s Council of Members. The official opening ceremony will take place in front of the ‘White Tower’, the city’s landmark. The program for the year follows the proposals of the city’s youth assemblies and it’s based on 11 thematic priorities on topics like culture, innovation, volunteering, youth participation, environment, sports and creativity. Big scale youth events will take place during the year, including the Youth Event of the Greek Presidency, campaigns for the European Parliament elections, European Parliament and United Nations simulations for students and many competitions. In cooperation with the local civil society network, the city’s youth organisations and with the support of EU, the Council of Europe, the UN, the Greek Presidency and a large number of Foundations, the program in 2014 will give the city an open youth laboratory profile.

Thessaloniki is a vibrant student city, full of life in the day and night. With a population that is just over one million and situated in the Thermaikos Gulf on the Aegean, Thessaloniki is known for its natural beauty, long waterfront and  youthful society, due to its universities which host more than 150,000 students.

“In the course of 2014, the year when Thessaloniki will be the EYC, we look forward to welcoming to our city young people from all over Europe. Youth organisations or institutions of our city will cooperate towards one single goal: to inspire and motivate our youth. Thessaloniki- EYC 2014 is a big fest for young people, by young people, and the Municipality will make sure that 2014 belongs to them!” states the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris.

Since its establishment, 2,300 years ago, Thessaloniki has been a multicultural city. Home to many Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, it’s a modern European city and one of the safest places to live in Greece.

Cultural and food capital of Greece, Thessaloniki boasts a lively and diverse music scene, numerous cafes, restaurants, taverns, ouzeries, big scale festivals (Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Demetria), museums, theatres and galleries.

Last but not least, the city was included in the National Geographic magazine’s “Best of the World 2013” list! Doesn’t this seem the ideal place to become the heart of European youth community?


About the Author

Dimitra Kehagia is a journalist who has worked for all media, from TV and radio to printed and online newspapers. She gained a BScHons in Sociology and Media Studies from City University, London UK and an MSc in Communication and Mass Media from Athens Kapodistrian University. She currently lives in Thessaloniki. Chryssa Nanou is a journalist who studied European Culture and she strongly believes in a common European identity and future. As a Thessaloniki native, she hopes that this lovely city will be a perfect European Youth Capital in 2014.