Derry in Northern Ireland has beaten off competition from Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield to be named the UK’s first City of Culture in 2013.

The initiative has been created following the success of Liverpool becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The UK City of Culture will devise a programme of events and projects which reflects its identity, showcases its culture and raises its profile, opening the door to increased private investment and regeneration, according to the Government-backed scheme. 

Derry was awarded the title on the recommendation of an independent advisory panel.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey said: “This is a truly great moment for Derry/Londonderry. The panel were unanimous in their recommendation because of their compelling cultural programme, the way it seeks to address the city’s past and the enthusiasm and commitment of the city and its supporters.”

Advisory panel chairman Professor Phil Redmond said: “The programme suggested was impressive, as were the plans for community engagement, economic investment and the development of digital technology.

“It was also the way all these elements had been woven together through a strong and compelling narrative about the city and its people. And if culture cannot be used to help promote harmony, tolerance, hope and aspiration; if it cannot be used to help people understand their past, inform their present and help shape their future – then what role does it have?

“I have no doubt that Derry/Londonderry will follow Liverpool and show what impact, what step change, a year in the media spotlight can bring about.”