The opening ceremony of Guimarães 2012 took place on 21 January, with the participation of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho and the Mayor of Guimarães António Magalhães. The festivities started with a major theatrical and multimedia open-air show across the city. The programme for the year focuses on the history of the city as well as on underlining more contemporary and innovative cultural themes.
Guimarães 2012, expected to act as a catalyst for the social, economic and urban transformation of the city, carries the following mission statement:
Through solid community involvement, to generate vibrant creative energy in Guimarães, contributing to the city’s urban, social and economic renewal, consolidating its cultural offering and resources, and creating a new dynamic and broader cultural landscape in the people’s memory and aspirations thereby changing how they see the world.