Kaunas bid under the slogan "ConTEMPOrary Capital", an allusion to the city's identity as Lithuania's temporary capital during the interwar period.
Its main competitor, the port city of Klaipėda, which teamed up with the resorts of Nėringa and Palanga for the project, presented itself as a meeting place and a changing and vibrant city.
Kaunas and Klaipėda were short-listed from among six Lithuanian cities and towns that had submitted their bids.
One city in two EU countries each are designated as the European Capital of Culture every year. Lithuania and Luxembourg will be the host countries in 2022.