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Tartu combines bohemian spirit with academic atmosphere

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The Estonian city of Tartu has been awarded the title of ECoC for 2024.The cooperation of our teams has been very fruitful so far, also thanks to the similarity of both cities: both Nitra and Tartu are university cities and approximately the same size. Project manager Erni Kask told us more about the Tartu 2024 project

Hi, Erni! Introduce yourself as a team member and your city in a few sentences.

Hi, I’m Erni Kask. I used to be the Head of the Bidding Team of Tartu 2024 when Tartu won the title in 2019. Then I started the Foundation and was the Member of the Board. In addition I took care of the Programme Development that has resulted in 25 very interesting projects that were first mentioned in our final application and can be now implemented from the beginning of 2022. 

What is your ECoC project about?

As we say, The project is designed to be carried out by our today’s and tomorrow’s cultural operators: artists, organisers, institutions and creative entrepreneurs. It stands for the whole Southern Estonia: City of Tartu together with 19 Southern Estonian municipalities.


What is the biggest change that the ECoC title has brought to your city so far?

Many of the topics that we stated in our application are very relevant already now: biodiversity in city parks (Curated Biodiversity project), making the city space more democratic (Car Free Avenue), raising the capacity of our cultural operators (Kultuurikompass Forum, international conference taking place in Nov 26). We see Tartu 2024 as a journey that has already started.

If you had to say the best thing a project has brought to your life, what would it be?

A once in a life time experience. I just counted together that if I would stay with the project until the end of 2024, it will be 8 years of my life. That’s a prominent part. 

What is your personal “heart project” of Tartu 2024 and why?

As the Programme Coordinator I unfortunately cannot say that. But there are many which I can imagine to be very special and worth experiencing in 2024. 

What is special about Tartu among other Estonian towns?

It’s the combination of a bohemian bravado and academic spirit. Those who have let the magic spell of the city conquer them will always feel invisible bond with Tartu. Just as it happened with me 10 years ago when I fell in love with Tartu while falling in love with a girl who later became my wife. 

Describe people of your city in 3 words.

Smart, friendly, critical thinking.