European visitors thoughts on Dundee

Dundee’s size, drive to action, independent bakeries and cafes, dynamism and world class exhibitions are just some of the many surprises which visitors new to the city recently highlighted.

As we featured earlier this year, Dundee was selected as a case study in a European project, Culture for Cities and Regions for best practice in creative industries. This case study can be found here.

Along with this positive recognition, Dundee was also selected as one of only 15 cities that people from other cities across Europe could visit on a three day peer-learning exchange visit.

The delegation of 20 people from 10 European cities and regions came to Dundee from Bologna (Italy), Brno (Czech Republic), Colchester (United Kingdom), Granollers (Spain), Jutland (Denmark), Lidingö (Sweden), Linkoping (Sweden), Piraeus (Greece), Wallonia (Belgium) and Warsaw (Poland). The visitors included policy-makers, politicians and civil servants who support the development and implementation of creative economy and cultural policies.


Over the three-day study visit from 11-13th Nov 2015, the group took part in site visits, talks, workshops and attended some of the city’s cultural events, including NEoN activities, Pecha Kucha Night and Make/Share; and saw exhibitions at DCA and Hannah Maclure Centre. They got the chance to meet representatives from creative businesses and a range of organisations who support the creative industries in the city*. Dundee City Council and Creative Dundee joined forces to co-ordinate and host the visit.

A full study report is being written up by the visitors about the content of the trip, which will be shared publicly soon. Until then, we thought it would be valuable to share the group’s final thoughts about what surprised them most about visiting Dundee. A photo album of the trip can be viewed here and slides from the trip, found here.


What surprised you about Dundee? Responses:

  • The city centre, all near, and all a mix of new creative spaces and heritage.
  • The dynamism and the collaboration between city, local authority and Creative Dundee.
  • The passion and energy.
  • Incorporating creative sector in the city development and planning.
  • Your work with culture networking outside and within the municipality.
  • Participation appears very open and accessible, e.g. print makers studio is open to 9pm at DCA and very cheap.
  • A very strong cultural and artistic town.
  • Social female impact till today.
  • The Dundee Partnership.
  • World class art exhibitions and architects.
  • Design – computer games – didn’t know these strategies were here. Success in organising.
  • The entrepreneurship.
  • International atmosphere and openness (met creatives from Hong Kong, Iraq, US, Canada – many living here, but fewer Europeans?).
  • Very strong network among the different creative individuals/institutions in Dundee.
  • People love working in the city… ‘I came for a 3 year contract and I’m here 15 years later’.
  • The diversity old and new culture in a mix.
  • Big drive to action.
  • Bottom up approach, DIY approach. Diversity of actions and initiatives. Dundee does a lot with few resources (thanks to its people).
  • All the little bakeries/cafes and their own printed cups etc – identity, pride, tradition very strong, people very chatty and friendly.
  • Private initiatives/enterprises which think and work beyond their job boundaries – linking to others/working in partnership.
  • The jute history.
  • That the strategy, economic resources (except riverside reform) and organisation is really similar to our city of Granollers.

P1080381To find out more about the Culture for Cities and Regions project and read all 70 case studies from across Europe, visit: and find them on social media: #cultureforcitiesregions

* Representatives included Dundee City Council, Creative Dundee, Dundee Waterfront, District 10, Dundee Rep, Leisure and Culture Dundee, Dundee Literary Festivals, Abertay University, Tayscreen, UNESCO City of Design Dundee, University of Dundee, Scottish Dance Theatre, V&A Dundee, Dundee Comic School, Dundee MakerSpace, NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Fleet Collective, Creative Scotland and Directorate-General for Education and Culture.