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Senior figures from around the world gather in Amsterdam
Representatives from 25 cities examine the impact of culture

  • 25 world cities to critically examine impact of culture economically and socially, at a domestic level and on the international stage
  • Debate on role of artists and creativity in engineering the transformation of cities
  • How cities can support and sustain talent and innovation
  • Senior city officials and cultural experts from around the world will converge on Amsterdam for the third World Cities Culture Summit, which takes place in the Dutch capital from 12-14 November.

    Representatives from 25 cities are taking part in the international conference, which will be officially opened by the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan at an event hosted in the Royal Palace in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. Amsterdam is the third city to host the World Cities Culture Summit, following Istanbul in 2013 and London in 2012.

    Over the course of three days, conference city leaders and top cultural specialists will examine the importance of culture in the success of major world cities, which are increasingly recognising its importance alongside trade, commerce and political power. Delegates will consider its significance socially and economically and the reputation it generates on the global stage. A keynote speaker will be Benjamin Barber, political theorist and author of ‘If Mayors Ruled the World’.

    The World Cities Culture Summit 2014 will consider Amsterdam’s approach to cultural policy as the starting point for debate between the World Cities Culture Forum partner cities about their own successes, the challenges they face and what they might learn from each other. Key summit themes will include:

  • the role of culture in urban development, renewal and transformation
  • talent, enterprise and innovation
  • branding and promotion
  • For the first time, there will be a public event, bringing together leading figures, who have been responsible for producing some of the most exciting and innovative arts projects of the last few years. This will be a unique opportunity to hear lively debate around the theme How artists are engineering the transformation of cities’.

    Taking place at De Balie ( on Thursday 13 November, the discussion will be chaired by Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Holland Festival and mastermind behind the hugely successful London 2012 Festival, with inspirational artists discussing the power of cultural disruption and how storytelling on an epic scale is creating new histories as well as experiences for our cities. The panel will include Crimson Rose, Artistic Director and co-founder of Burning Man Festival; Pep Gattel, Artistic Director and co-founder of La Fura Dels Baus; Helen Marriage, Director and co-founder of Artichoke; and Mark Ball, Artistic Director, London International Festival of Theatre

    Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam Kajsa Ollongren (Economic Affairs, Art & Culture) commented: ‘Amsterdam is proud to host the WCCF and delighted to welcome partner cities from around the world. The conference will focus on the vital role art and culture play in the economic, spatial and social development of cities. This unique event affords us the opportunity to learn from other cities, and Amsterdam is keen to return the favour. Culturally speaking, Amsterdam has experienced a great deal in recent years. The celebratory year 2013 put a host of events in the limelight: major museums reopened following renovation and the inauguration of our new king in the city centre made a profound impression on people all around the world. Amsterdam is clearly a world leader when it comes to culture. We are eager to exchange ideas and experiences regarding growing international tourism and maintaining a healthy balance between businesses, residents and visitors in cities. The conference will be held at a number of significant, distinctive locations throughout our city. Amsterdam is all set for the WCCF and I look forward to three days of fruitful collaboration.’

    Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor of London, which first hosted the World Cities Culture Summit in 2012, said: ‘The cities that are part of the World Cities Culture Forum may be very different, yet we share many attributes – dynamism, creativity, innovation. We also face similar challenges in terms of the world economic climate and demographic change. As cities will come increasingly to the fore of global political discussion it is critical to recognise the role of the arts and culture in their success.’

    Paul Owens, Director of the World Cities Culture Forum, which was established in 2012 as a collaborative network to underpin culture at the centre of city planning and sustainability, said: ‘The central challenge for all world cities is how to balance economic dynamism with quality of life; how to be places where all citizens can flourish. Culture has a central role to play in creating this environment. The World Cities Culture Summit is a unique platform for member cities to share the latest thinking on how to spread the benefits of culture to all citizens.’

    The debate ‘How artists are engineering the transformation of cities’ takes place on Thursday 13 November at 19:30 (GMT +1) is being streamed live at