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10 Cultural Must Do’s across Europe this summer!

By: Barbora Pola­chova

UK / The 2012 Summer Olympics; The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The London Olympic Games is the place to be even for culture freaks! Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Centre will remind you of a flowing river. Hurry if you want to see the famous works by Picasso, you’ve got until July 15th, or encounter Damien Hirst’s grand exhibition, until September 9th, both at Tate. To take a rest from the sport mania enveloping London, visit the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe taking place from August 3rd to 27th. This year 2,695 shows will take place in theatres, pubs, nooks, crannies and gardens all over Scotland’s capital to celebrate the Year of Creative Scotland. To discover more on the cultural events dedicated to the Olympics, go to

Russia / The White Nights Festival (May 25- July 15)

The White Nights Festival is a traditional music and arts festival that takes place during the midnight sun in St. Petersburg, Russia. Spanning eight weeks, this festival showcases a wealth of international classical music talent, from the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, to Greek virtuoso violinist Leonidas Kavakos, and mesmerizing French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

Denmark / Roskilde Festival (July 5 – July 8)

Around 100, 000 music fans will head to 42nd edition of the largest North European culture and music festival held in Roskilde, Denmark. This year the headliners are Bjork, Bruce Springsteen, The Roots and The Cure!

Czech Republic / Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (June 29 – July 7)

If you don’t like the glamour and shine of Cannes, the famous spa city of Karlovy Vary is here to sate your film hunger. The 47th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will host 8 world premieres. Some 350 film directors, actors and other filmmakers personally present their films at Karlovy Vary. About 850 distributors, sales agents, producers, and festival programmers attend the festival each year. It is the biggest film event in the region.

Hungary/ Sziget Festival(6 August- August 13)

The Sziget Festival is the place to be in the middle of August. One of the Europe’s best music festivals is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. See more than 1000 performances varying from the Balkan beats of Goran Bregovic, indie rockers The Killers, British Maxïmo Park, the legendary East Coast crew, to the crazy LMFAO.

Belgium / Manifesta 9 (June 2- September 30)

The European Biennial of Contemporary Art is taking place in the former industrial complex in Genk, Belgium. The foremost European art event has a new curating team for each edition presenting contemporary art. Manifesta is known for introducing new contemporary European artists.

France / La Triennale; Centre Pompidou; Rock au Seine

La Triennale of contemporary art has been moved from the Grand Palais to the recently opened Palais de Tokyo. If you haven’t seen Gerhard Richter’s Panorama in Berlin, then take this opportunity at the Centre Georges Pompidou until September 26th. To experience a three-day marathon of rock music at Rock au Seine, mark your calendar for August 24th to 26th, and see Placebo, Greenday or lesser known Caravan Palace.

Austria / Vienna’ s Museumsquartier

If you are passing by Vienna on an Alpine hike and wine tour, don’t forget to make a stop here and not only for the famous Sacher torte dessert! The Museumsquartier will be devoted to fashion this summer, opening an exhibition Reflecting on fashion at the Mumok museum followed by series of fashion shows, dance performances and events throughout the summer until September 16th. Don’t miss the Leopold Museum celebrating Gustav Klimt’s 150th birthday with their exhibition ‘Klimt up close and personal’.

Germany / Classic Open Air (July 5 – July 9)

The very popular Classic Open Air features concerts in the heart of Berlin. The musical palette reaches from German and Italian opera, operetta and musical to crossover productions with classics of pop, soul, swing and jazz.

Portugal / Guimaraes

If you happen to be cruising the north coast of Portugal, make an inland trip to the 2012 European Capital of Culture – the beautiful town of Guimaraes – one of the emerging cultural hot spots. Go and check it out!


Barbora Pola­chova  is a stu­dent in the Czech Repub­lic who worked for the CCA in the con­text of an intern­ship project with the Euro­pean Union.