Lisbon was officially awarded as European Green Capital on June 21st 2018.

In the award title competition, Ghent lost narrowly from Lisbon. The European Green Capital Award 2020 was officially awarded to the Portuguese capital on Thursday 21 June 2018. Ghent ends as an honorable finalist and congratulates Lisbon with the title.

European Green Capital Award

Since 2010 the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) has been awarded annually by the European Commission and is significantly comparable to the title of European Capital of Culture. The sustainability award is given to a European city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, who are fully committed to the environment, social and economic sustainability. With this title, Europe wants to reward and stimulate the efforts that cities make.

Ghent had to compete against other nominees, Lisbon (Portugal) and Lahti (Finland), for the award. A jury of international experts assessed cities on their efforts on twelve different sustainable themes such as green, climate, biodiversity, air quality, mobility, waste, energy, and so on.

Ghent, worthy finalist with ambitious policy on climate and environment

Even though Ghent did not become the Green Capital in 2020, the jury was nevertheless impressed by Ghent’s efforts on climate (CO2-reduction and climate adaptation), waste, mobility and energy and its ambitious and well thought through climate plan with practical actions.

Special praise went to the growth of renewable energy in Ghent, with exemplifying projects such as borehole thermal energy storage in Wintercircus and the Ghentian heating revolution. In Ghent’s harbour, a Clean Tech cluster provides the exchange of heat between companies. The jury found the cooperative and public-private collaborations in renewable energy to be inspirational for other cities, for example the reuse of waste (Zawent) in the project Oude Dokken or the ‘Buurzame Stroom’ project in the district of Dampoort.

Admiration was also expressed for the creation of green zones around the city and the green axes that connect nature and citizens through a cycling network with bridges. The degree of recycling in Gent was seen by the jury as one of the highest in Europe. Furthermore the jury was impressed that many start-ups in Ghent focus on sustainability.

Also thanks to Ghentians and bottom up initiatives

Ghent’s dossier was also found to be strong thanks to many sustainable bottom up initiatives. Initiatives like Burgerbudget, Sustainable district projects, Climate projects, neighbourhood vegetable gardens and collective energy renovations were praised as innovative. In these projects Ghent proves that citizen participation and co-creation are not hollow ideas.