Sustainable Cities™


Copenhagen has won the European Commission’s prestigious European Green Capital award in recognition of the city’s efforts to combine sustainable solutions with growth and quality of life. The city’s efforts to persuade more people to cycle, to become CO2-neutral by 2025 and to act as a living laboratory for new green solutions are among the reasons for this recognition.

København er Europas grønne hovedstad 2014
Foto: Copenhagen Media Center, Kasper Thye

Ambitious cities

Cities play a vital role in terms of dealing with climate changes and other environmental problems both now and in the future. That is why every year the EU Commission gives theEuropean Green Capital award to a city, which is working consistently and ambitiously to become greener. As a result of the city's well-developed bicycle culture, clean harbour baths and continuous sustainable planning, this year Copenhagen beat 17 other European cities to win the prize.

The best solutions are shared

This recognition means that Copenhagen is now committed to being a green role model for cities throughout the world. That is why, under the heading of "Sharing Copenhagen", Copenhagen is inviting the rest of Europe to the Danish capital in 2014 in the hope of sharing, on an international level, the best solutions for how cities can help reduce CO2 emissions, solve traffic-related challenges, guarantee clean water for drinking and swimming or become resilient in the face of future weather conditions.  ­­­

Growth and green conversion

The development of the Danish capital is based on a belief that growth, green conversion and the best urban living in the world can go hand in hand.  In the competition, Copenhagen was assessed on the basis of 12 different focus areas, ranging from transportation and waste to biodiversity and climate. The city scored top marks in just about all areas.

Clean water for bathing, parks and natural areas increase the city's value and make it more desirable to live in. Today people can dive into Copenhagen Harbour, 96% of Copenhagen residents can reach a large green or blue area in less than 15 minutes, while new urban gardens are squeezing themselves into the city. Copenhagen has also initiated a historic, large-scale nature restoration project, and there are several beaches­ on the way.

Bikes and CO2

Every day people cycle 1.2 million km in Copenhagen, while thousands of people travel by bus, train, and underground or on foot. Copenhagen is in the midst of a historic expansion of its public trans­port system, and there has been massive investment in more cycle paths. All these ventures are part of the city's goal to be CO2-neutral by 2025. In 2011, four years earlier than planned, Copenhagen achieved its interim target of reducing the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, when compared to the 2005 level. Biomass, more wind turbines and environmentally­ friendly street lighting represent some of the initiatives, which led to this reduction.

København er Europas grønne hovedstad 2014_2

Åbningskonference. Foto: Ursula Bach

People first

In January the city's success was marked by a conference, at whichinternational experts and politicians clarified why Copenhagen was worthy of theEuropean Green Capital title. The conference highlighted quality of life and residents' opportunities to participate in urban living as the principal reasons for the award.

"Copenhagen has led the way with planning, which puts people first. One can clearly see this in the city today,"explained George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, during the conference.

The city's residents will also be involved in the capital's new title in the form of events for the people of Copenhagen, conferences, master classes and guided tours. Several companies, educational institutions, organisations and local forces have united with the City of Copenhagen to create this wide-ranging programme. ­

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 / By Maria Nørlyng Leal

Last updated Wednesday, June 18, 2014