LONDON (Reuters) - Londonderry was named on Thursday as the first UK City of Culture and will take on the role in 2013.
The city in Northern Ireland beat off Sheffield, Birmingham and Norwich, the other three finalists shortlisted for the honor.
“This is a truly great moment for Derry/Londonderry,” said Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey.
“The panel were unanimous in their recommendation because of their compelling cultural program, the way it seeks to address the city’s past and the enthusiasm and commitment of the city and its supporters.”
Londonderry will spend a year in the national spotlight in 2013, and could host high-profile cultural events such as the Turner Prize for arts and the Brits pop music awards.
A wide range of organizations, including the BBC and English Heritage, are committed to helping the city prepare for its year as the UK’s cultural hub, a spokesman for the competition said.
The new program was launched by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to try to replicate the success of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008.
The economic boost to Liverpool was estimated at 750 million pounds from urban redevelopment and a tourism surge, according to Liverpool City Council.
“I have no doubt that Derry/Londonderry will follow Liverpool and show what impact, what step change, a year in the media spotlight can bring about,” said Phil Redmond, Chairman of the Independent Advisory Panel which helped select the winning city.
Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Michael Holden