Each year a European city hosts the European Green Capital honour as mark of its outstanding environmental credentials. And since 2010 one special city has been chosen to host a year of specials events and festivals.
In total there are 12 separate areas of evaluation criteria a city must pass in order to be chosen as a European Green Capital, including issues such as air quality, biodiversity and commitment to climate.
European Green Capitals 2010 to 2014
2010 – Stockholm, Sweden – Often dubbed the ‘Venice of the North’, Stockholm was chosen as the very first host of the Green Capital award in 2010. This is thanks to initiatives around cleaner water, phasing out fossil fuel use and introducing education programmes. Visitors to Stockholm can expect a vibrant modern and diverse city and a friendly welcome.
2011 – Hamburg, Germany – Germany’s second city has a clearly defined green vision and radical climate protection goals. Visitors can expect a very outdoors-orientated city as the infrastructure is very much based around cycling and public transport. With its strong maritime heritage – Hamburg after all is the second biggest container port in the Europe – visitors can expect a dynamic, multicultural city. In terms of culture and history, Hamburg is a serious rival to Munich and Berlin.
2012 – Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain – Tucked away in northern Spain’s Basque Country is the small city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Home to some 240,000 people, the city just fits the criteria to host the Green Capital accolade (cities must have 200,000 plus residents). Vitoria-Gasteiz has a dedicated green belt and a very high concentration of green areas – in fact nobody lives more than 300m from a green space. Visitors can expect an authentic travel experience where English is not widely spoken. The best way to get around is by hiring a bike to explore the local monuments and sights.
2013 – Nantes, France – The sixth largest city in France is dubbed the ‘Green Wonder of France’. The city has developed its transport infrastructure with a strong focus on public transport and a cycle network, in order to host the European Green Capital 2013. Travellers to Nantes in western France, on the beautiful Loire River, can expect rich history and fascinating architecture. Nantes is also the birthplace of author Jules Verne, who wrote many science fiction novels.
2014 – Copenhagen, Denmark – The capital city of Denmark has been chosen to host the European Green Capital 2014. With a commitment to eco-technologies and an aim to be carbon neutral by 2025, Copenhagen wears its green credentials with pride. And 35% of residents biked to work or school in 2010 – with that figure predicted to be at 50 % by 2015! Copenhagen is compact and easily explored on foot or by bike. Visitors are treated to a lively café culture, a thriving Jazz scene and of course that Little Mermaid statue!
2015 – Four cities have been shortlisted to host the prestigious European Green Capital 2015 award. Bristol in the west of England, Brussels the capital of Belgium, Glasgow in Scotland and Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia await the announcement.