Along with Riga in Latvia, Umeå is being celebrated as a European Capital of Culture in 2014. You surely haven't missed that news? Nor should you miss the fantastic programme of activities and events that is on offer - not only in Umeå itself, but throughout the entire region. Check out what's going on in the folder entitled "Västerbotten on the way to 2014".
The year as a European Capital of Culture doesn't just affect Umeå - it creates a sense of involvement throughout the entire region. The official opening of Umeå's year as a European Capital of Culture is created with a wide array of activities gathered under the heading "Future Flows Through Us". As a foretaste of what is to come, the Norrland Opera is involving the entire region in the collaborative River Stories project, with a number of kick-offs that culminate in Umeå on 30 January-1 February.
Ammarnäs sees the start of a ten-day long reindeer ride that will follow the old Sami migration routes to the winter settlements in the Umeå area.
The artist Nicolai Dunger, together with Sami musicians, will follow the reindeer ride on skis. The artists will make a number of stops along the way to perform concerts and will otherwise be overnighting in tents or tipis, where a hearty sing-a-long awaits those who have found their way to the overnight locations.
A steam locomotive will be departing from Storuman with destination Umeå, and the public passengers will get to rub shoulders with a number of cultural practitioners, including artists from the FRAMEST vocal ensemble from Riga. The locomotive will be stopping in Storuman, Lycksele, Vindeln, Vännäs and Umeå.
From Norrbotten, Mari Boine and the Norrbotten Big Band will take the E4 towards the south, starting their tour in Jukkasjärvi, with concerts in Luleå, Piteå, Skellefteå and Umeå.
The Botniabanan railway line will be running from Sundsvall to Umeå. Things kick off in Sundsvall with a mini-festival in the spirit of celebration of Umeå as a European Capital of Culture. The opening ceremony will feature Karin Rhenqvist's work "Där korpen vitnar" ("Where the raven pales") about the witch trials of the 1600s, with Ulrika Bodén and the Nordic Chamber Ensemble.
A Wasaline ferry will be sailing from the port of Vasa and will feature BRO (Bothnia Rhythm Orchestra), a newly-established big band in the region. The journey starts in Vasa, with a concert on the ferry and Umeå as the final destination.