Glasgow has been named the UK’s top cultural and creative city in 2019 as part of a landmark report by the European Commission.
The report puts Glasgow at the top of the UK list above London, Bristol, Brighton and Manchester in the top five. Edinburgh is ranked 6th on the list. The report also ranked Glasgow as Europe’s leader for ‘openness, tolerance and trust’.
The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019 report looks at 190 cities from across 30 European countries and ranks 29 different aspects of a city’s cultural health, including its cultural vibrancy, creative economy and ability to attract creative talent and stimulate cultural engagement.
The report states: “Glasgow was one of the first European Capitals of Culture, in 1990. Known as an industrial city, it has now gained recognition as a creative and cultural centre of European importance.”
Work is progressing on a new culture strategy for Glasgow which will set out ambitious new targets to build the city’s reputation as globally recognised creative and cultural world city, with citizens at its heart.
Glasgow is home to more than 100 cultural organisations and five of Scotland’s six internationally-renowned national performing arts companies: the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; National Theatre of Scotland; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet. The SSE Hydro was named the world’s best performing music venue by size in 2018.
More people visit Glasgow’s museums each year than in any other UK city outside of London, with both Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Riverside Museum attracting more than 1.3 million visits each in the last year. The city is also investing £66 million in a full refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell Collection, which is set to re-open to the public in 2021.
Glasgow’s nine city museums are home to Europe’s largest civic arts collection, with masterpieces by Dali, Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Whistler and Monet as well as works by the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists. Glasgow has also been eight Turner Prize winners and 12 nominees who have hailed from, trained in, or worked out of the city in recent years. The city is also home to the genius of architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Glasgow has a year-round calendar of major cultural events from the UK’s biggest Mela to the Merchant City Festival and the World Pipe Band Championships. Every January, the city’s Celtic Connections festival welcomes more than 2,000 artists from across the globe to take part in some 300 events on 35 city stages as part of an incredible celebration of traditional and folk music. The city is also home to the Glasgow Jazz Festival, Glasgow International Comedy Festival and the Glasgow Film Festival.
Cover of Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019 / Image: (c) European Union