May 22th 2024 | 5:03


Bilbao will transform the bullring into a library and sociocultural sports center

Mairenis Gomez

April 15, 2024 | 2:32 p.m.

The initiative seeks to adapt the historic square to offer new meeting and cultural spaces

In recent years, we have witnessed a significant change in the cultural preferences and habits of the citizens of Bilbao and, more broadly, of the entire Basque community. According to the 2021-2022 Cultural Habits and Practices Survey carried out by the Ministry of Culture, an overwhelming majority of the population has expressed disinterest in bullfighting, with a scant 0,6% attendance at such events. This Monday, the Franz Weber Foundation has launched a bold proposal, transforming the emblematic Bilbao bullring in a vibrant sociocultural and sports center. This project would not only respond to current cultural interests, but would also preserve and revalue the city's architectural heritage, offering new spaces for reading, sports and social interaction.

Relevance of the proposal to the local community

The Franz Weber Foundation's initiative suggests converting the plaza into a multi-use venue that includes a library and sports facilities, eliminating the need to hold bullfights. Given the venue's 15,000-person capacity, this transformation would not only attract large numbers of visitors, but would also offer an inclusive and accessible space for cultural and sporting events. In addition, the project has the potential to attract both public investments, through the 1% cultural amount that the Ministry of Culture assigns annually, and private investments, which could generate new economic dynamism in the region.

Impact on heritage preservation and funding opportunities

Furthermore, the architectural design of the bullring has indisputable heritage value. By adapting this space for new uses, you would not only be preserving its structure but also giving it a new purpose that reflects the values and the social evolution of our time. The proposal also mentions the possibility of requesting funds from the cultural 1%, which could finance a significant part of the project. Additionally, opening up to private investments, through the creation of commercial or accommodation spaces, could ensure the long-term financial and functional sustainability of the center.

The architectural design of the bullring has an indisputable heritage value.

A cultural change in tune with the new generations

Ultimately, The transformation of the bullring into a sociocultural and sports center represents a unique opportunity for Bilbao to lead a cultural change in tune with new generations and global trends in the use of urban spaces. It is imperative that as a community we support initiatives that promote culture, sports and education, thus fostering a more inclusive and diverse society. I invite all citizens, as well as public and private institutions, to join this collaborative effort that will not only revitalize an architectural icon, but will also enrich the cultural and social life of Bilbao.

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