The creation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) was a result of the hard work and cooperation of a great many people, and it took resolve, strength, and vision to make it a reality. We feel exceptionally proud to see something that started as a daring idea in the depths of a socioeconomic crisis not only become a reality but exceed our most optimistic predictions. The SNFCC is the international, environmentally sustainable public space for expression, culture, and recreation that all of us at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) envisioned—then delivered to the Greek state and the public in 2017, for every single visitor to enjoy.

The creation of the SNFCC was initiated by SNF and executed with an exclusive grant from the Foundation—our largest single grant to date, and the cornerstone of the more than $750 million in support SNF has allocated to the project in total. It includes the facilities of the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO), as well as the 40-acre Stavros Niarchos Park. Designed by architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), the SNFCC is the first public-private partnership of its kind in Greece. Upon its completion, we delivered the SNFCC to the Greek state and the public on February 23, 2017, announcing our commitment to continue actively supporting the SNFCC for five years, from 2017 to 2022.

From the inception of the idea for the creation of the SNFCC through the cultural institution’s fifth anniversary, SNF gave a total of $739 million toward the project through several grants. This amount primarily went to the construction of the SNFCC but also supported operational and programming costs for its first five years, following the commitment SNF made during delivery of the SNFCC to the Greek state. In addition, SNF’s support has gone to programs for the development of the SNFCC and to infrastructure projects beyond the original design. In February 2022, upon the successful completion of one cycle of support, we renewed our support for the SNFCC with a new $11.2 million grant to cover operating and programming costs for another year. 

During these first five years, in addition to the grant supporting operations and the implementation of more than 16,000 open events, we have also made grants to support additional infrastructure projects at the SNFCC in full, including for the creation of the dancing Fountains in the Canal, whose choreographies captivate thousands of visitors; the Dome at the Labyrinth, which hosts events and performances; and the Delta restaurant, an international gastronomic destination with a focus on sustainability. At the same time, we have supported 11 cycles of a paid internship program that has given more than 900 young people the opportunity to enrich their skills and enhance their job prospects, to help address the high rate of youth unemployment in Greece as part of the SNF Recharging the Youth initiative. During this time, the SNFCC’s daily programming has been enriched with a plethora of sports and entertainment activities through a valuable collaboration with the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress. With SNF’s support, the SNFCC has developed major partnerships with more than 40 Greek and international institutions, such as the Barça Foundation, the Perimeter Institute, the Takis Foundation, and the George Zongolopoulos Foundation, as well as a recent collaboration with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center (SNF-LC) Agora Initiative. The SNFCC has earned a place on the global map as a modern landmark, hosting high-caliber events such as a speech by President Barack Obama in November 2016 and the EuroMED7 Summit of the heads of state and government of European countries on the Mediterranean in September 2021.

Once a year, we return to the SNFCC for SNF Nostos, a free and open event for all that celebrates art, culture, learning, and the joy of being together.

Brief historical background – The inception of the idea

The idea for the SNFCC originated in 1998, with SNF’s decision to support the construction of new facilities for the NLG and the GNO. From these disparate plans and with the opportunities offered by the site allocated for the project in the Municipality of Kallithea came an exciting opportunity for a cultural, educational, and environmental “Triple Project,” which would include the new NLG and GNO facilities, as well as the creation of a major urban green space, Stavros Niarchos Park.

Browse a detailed timeline of milestones in the SNFCC’s progress.

The SNFCC as a model of environmental sustainability

The SNFCC is one of the world’s most sustainable building complexes of its size. In November 2016, the SNFCC achieved the highest and most stringent international standard for sustainable design and construction—the Platinum LEED—for its innovative architecture and green technology. The platinum LEED certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Learn more about sustainability at the SNFCC.

The success of the SNFCC in numbers (2017 – 2021)

- 20 million visits
- More than 16,000 events
- More than 900 participants in 11 cycles of the paid internship program
- 110,000 participants in guided tours
- More than 340,000 student visits
- 37 different fountain choreographies

 Find here the SNFCC Annual Reports.