The Cultural Capital year is over. Yet Graz remains a capital of culture, though certainly not in exactly the same way as before. The effects of the added value that accumulated in the course of the year 2003 will remain. For how long? That depends on the commitment of politicians and the public.
It was a fantastic year because you, our audience, our allies, responded so wonderfully to our programme and to the events we organised. The entire city was transformed into a vast stage, and you were not just extras in some play, but the main protagonists in an exciting chapter of the history of Graz.
Our visitors came from all over the world. The events received media coverage everywhere in the world. The "miracle of Graz" is still the talk of every town. Why a miracle? Because an entire city redefined itself almost overnight through the medium of culture and retained its new, positive orientation for more than a year.
Our first slogan was "Graz - who would have guessed?", followed by "Graz - anything goes" and "Graz flies". At the end of our magical year, these slogans caught up with us - and, in the event, everything turned out the way we had planned. But it could not have done so if you, our audience, had not consented to become a physical and spiritual part of the programme, had not supported it and actively joined in.
You brought about the fulfilment of our great expectations. It would be hard to find a single resident of Graz who did not participate in the events of the cultural capital at least once during the year, who did not partake of culture wholesale or at least briefly test the cultural waters.
May the year 2003 not merely be remembered as a special chapter in the history of Graz, but make its impact felt for many years to come.