Established in 2013, the programme of Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture is a flagship initiative of MAFUN and URALIC Centre that aims to raise awareness of Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic peoples as well as Uralic languages, to strengthen collective Finno-Ugric identity and to stimulate sustainable local development in different corners of the Finno-Ugric world. 

To date, the title of Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture has been awarded to five villages or cities: Udmurtian village of Bygy (2014), Seto village of Obinitsa (2015), Hungarian village Iszkaszentgyörgy and City of Veszprém (2016) and Karelian village of Vuokkiniemi (2017). In all cases, the title of Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture has helped raise the profile of the title-holder both domestically and internationally, including via cultural tourism. Perhaps even more importantly, being a Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture has strengthened local communities and provided them with new opportunities for development. The programme has been warmly received both in the Finno-Ugric world and beyond, and has been described as a good example of the promotion of indigenous peoples’ cultural rights by Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.   

Given the positive results and encouraging feedback of the first four years of the Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme, MAFUN and URALIC Centre are today announcing the start of the second cycle of the programme (2019-2022) along with the competition for the title of Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2019. For this competition, villages, towns and cities from any Finno-Ugric country or region are welcome to apply, except national capitals (in the case of Estonia, Finland and Hungary) or regional capitals in the Russian Federation. The only region that is excluded from the current competition is Karelia, given that the Karelian village of Vuokkiniemi is the most recent title-holder (Karelian applicants will be again eligible for the 2020 title).  

Application materials of the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2019 competition are available on the programme’s website The deadline for written applications is March 1, 2018 and the winner of the competition will be selected on April 8 in Obinitsa. The competition of Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2019 has been supported by the Kindred Peoples’ Programme of Estonia.   


Oliver Loode
Head of Programme Bureau, Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture 

Tel. +372 513 2992