The first milestone in the lifespan of Valletta 2018 was the creation of the Valletta 2018 Foundation in June 2011. Following this, the candidacy phase followed a timetable dictated in part by the European Commission’s European Capital of Culture (ECoC) procedures.

Valletta was unanimously named ECoC for 2018 by a jury of experts, following a presentation by the Valletta 2018 Foundation on Friday 12th October 2012. The final bid was presented in September of the same year, following which Valletta was officially declared title holder by the Council of Ministers in May 2013 during a press conference in the oratory of St John’s Co Cathedral by the jury chairman Manfred Gaulhofer.

The timeline in full

Submission of bid: 17 October 2011
The bid was submitted by the Mayor of Valletta to the Managing Authority (the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, the Environment & Culture). The bids were forwarded to the Selection Panel members for their consideration.

Pre-Selection Meeting: 18 January 2012
The Selection Panel, made up of 13 members nominated by the European Institutions and the national authorities, analysed Valletta’s bid for the first time during a visit to the city.  Valletta was given the green light to continue its ECoC journey.

Presentation of bid: 14 September 2012
Valletta submitted its final bid titled ‘Imagine 18’, capturing the Foundation’s vision for the city for its ECoC in 2018.

Final Selection Meeting: 12 October 2012
The Selection Panel finalised its analysis following a second presentation by Valletta. The renewed bid took into account the feedback and guidance provided by the panel members since January 2012 in order to provide a high-class final bid with which to win the title. An official declaration regarding the title was made during a press conference.

Official Designation: May 2013
The Council of the Ministers of Culture of the European Union declare Valletta European Capital of Culture for 2018 officially.

Monitoring Meetings: 2014-2017
The European Commission and the Monitoring and Advisory Panel support the preparation for the Cultural Year through a series of monitoring meetings during the run-up period to 2018.

Launch of Cultural Programme for 2018: 27 September 2017
The Valletta 2018 Foundation launched a  collection of over 140 projects and 400 events taking place throughout the European Capital of Culture year.

The European Capital of Culture Cultural Year: 2018
Valletta looks forward to celebrate its title during this year with an aim of establishing a legacy for the years to follow.