Edinburgh is Europe's new capital of cool. So suggests The Observer:
Heavily reliant on banking and public sector jobs, Edinburgh had seemed badly placed to withstand the recession, but while the economy teeters, the city is busily securing its place as Europe's capital of culture and is increasingly a magnet for tourists. Last week it was announced that the much-hyped new film from Disney-Pixar will have its European premiere at the usually lacklustre Edinburgh film festival. Brave will bring stars to the city and introduce a generation of children to the romance of Scotland, albeit with a Brigadoon-style approach to reality.Yeah well. It will not remain the capital of cool unless they do something about all the roadworks which are imposing gridlock on city centre traffic. And it's not just the trams; the end-year financial freedom means that roads are being dug up right, left and centre.
The past eight months have seen two major openings: the refurbished National Museum of Scotland, which won enthusiastic reviews, 1.5 million visits in its first six months and a shortlisting last week for the Art Fund Prize; and close on its heels, an impressively expanded Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The portrait gallery's senior photography curator, Duncan Forbes, said the city had been transforming itself. "It may be the independence debate but there's a real interest in our history, arts and culture at the moment. Galleries are free, which is key, and certainly the coming of the parliament impacted on confidence, but I think there's a new wave of thinking that's ahead of politics, a sign of cultural confidence."