5x Sustainable cities in Europe

When it comes to sustainability, the world is working its way to a (much needed) tipping point. There’s more attention for sustainable innovations and more people are realizing its importance. This way, we can be kind to ourselves and to the earth. Getting curious about what this ‘green’ life is like? We’ve selected five sustainable cities in Europe where you can experience sustainability yourself! 

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon has been declared as the Green Capital of Europe in 2020. To be eligible for this title, you must meet a number of criteria. One of those is that the city must be prepared to take even more responsibilities when it comes to sustainable development and environmental policy. To prove this, 20,000 new trees have already been planted in various districts in Lisbon. In addition, there are lots of activities around environmental themes this year, such as exhibitions and even an eco-video festival. 

Lisbon has many parks in the city to prevent pollution, with Parque Florestal de Monsanto as the perfect example. This park, with an area of 10 square kilometres, is also known as "the lungs of Lisbon". It’s a beautiful park that has a lot to offer. There are mountain bike trails, fitness equipment and a climbing wall, as well as playgrounds and terraces where you can sit down and relax. 

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm was declared as Europe's first Green Capital in 2010. The air filtration in the city is extremely good, as about 10 percent of the city consists of parks and water. In addition, cars are kept out of the street as much as possible, there’s lots space for bicycles and new residential areas are realized as sustainably as possible. Public transport runs on biogas and green energy.

The eco-district Hammarby Sjöstad, is one of the greenest places in Stockholm. This entire neighborhood has been developed with the focus on sustainability. For example, the buildings are made of reusable or renewable materials, such as wood and concrete. On the roads, the focus is on walking and cycling, and the district is equipped with an underground waste processing system for various waste flows. The heat that is released during the processing of the waste is used for warming up the houses for example. You probably won’t find it much more sustainable than this!

Zurich, Switzerland
This Swiss city has been sustainable since the 1990s. A project that has been running since 1991,  is the construction of green roofs. This means that the city has made it compulsory that flat roofs, which are not used as roof terraces, are made green by covering them with grass and plants. In addition, Zurich aims to halve (!) the energy consumption of its inhabitants and to use only sustainable energy that is produced in a reusable manner. The city also has an excellent public transport network. You might think that this does not have an impact directly, but because the public transport works perfectly, many Zurich inhabitants leave their cars at home to travel by train or bus. 

Besides the fact that the train station is in full use, it’s also one of the biggest sights in the city. Zurich's Hauptbahnhof (1871) has an underground shopping center with more than 200 shops. This shopping center is very popular among tourists and locals. In addition, the government decided that shops in public areas (such as the station) may also be open on Sundays. So you can visit every day of the week! 

London, England
The English capital still has a long way to go, but it’s actively working towards sustainability. The city expects to have more than 10 million inhabitants in 2030, which means that a higher capacity of public transport is needed. If no action is taken in this area, air quality will deteriorate further. London wants to counter this and tries to have all buses with only one level run electrically from next year on. In addition, the government  is focused on improving air quality, which is why they want half the city to be covered with parks and water by 2050. Cars are then discouraged in these places too. 

If you want to know more about all these sustainable developments, then The Insider London's Cutting Edge Green Tour might be something to you. This organization offers several walks through London that are completely focused on sustainability. You will discover London's green scene: see what initiatives have taken place in the city and learn why London is a leader in green transport. See London from a different, innovative perspective; the tour even won awards for innovation!

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
The Dutch city Nijmegen was declared as the Green Capital of Europe in 2018, but the city has been working on sustainable mobility and fossil-free energy for much longer. E-hubs, for example. E-hubs are places in the city where you can take an electric shared car. You can charge it there as well. Besides that, the city now has more cycle paths, environmental zones, windmills and solar panels. Also, a parking lot has been transformed into a park. In addition, Nijmegen now has water taps so people can fill their own drinking bottles and the waste bins are decorated so that they stand out even more to encourage people to use it more actively. Both useful and cheerful!

Another thing that is remarkable about Nijmegen, is that the people in the city are very involved. For example, 'Green Challenges' took place every month of 2018, in line with the title they received at the time. For such a challenge, a group of inhabitants organized something around a certain theme. For example, school squares were made greener and a sustainability café was set up. This sustainability café still organizes debate evenings that you can attend!


We’re curious to hear more about your favorite sustainable city. Let us know through Instagram.

Marina van Hooft

Hi! My name is Marina and I’m 20 years old. Besides my Creative Business studies, I’m a freelance writer. My greatest passion is writing, and besides that I love good music, traveling and photography. I prefer to do that last thing at a beautiful destination across the border, obviously ;). From me you’ll mainly read blogs about beautiful travel destinations, travel tips and lifestyle. 

@marinavanhooft 

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Marina van Hooft

Hi! My name is Marina and I’m 20 years old. Besides my Creative Business studies, I’m a freelance writer. My greatest passion is writing, and besides that I love good music, traveling and photography. I prefer to do that last thing at a beautiful destination across the border, obviously ;). From me you’ll mainly read blogs about beautiful travel destinations, travel tips and lifestyle. 

@marinavanhooft