Cities are increasingly using cultural events to improve their image, stimulate urban development and attract visitors and investment. As part of its event-led regeneration strategy, Rotterdam staged the 'Cultural Capital of Europe' event in 2001. The aims were to attract visitors and to stimulate cultural consumption among residents, while positioning Rotterdam as a cultural destination. Over 2000 questionnaire responses by resident and non-resident visitors to the Cultural Capital event were used to evaluate the image effects of the event. In depth interviews were also undertaken with policy-makers and cultural managers, to permit evaluation of survey findings in the context of richer qualitative material. The image of the city as a cultural destination did improve in 2001, but the physical and tangible elements of the city's image (modern architecture, water) and its character as the working city of the Netherlands continued to dominate.