The Estonian capital of Tallinn has been named European green capital of the year 2023.
Seeing off competition from the Polish city of Krakow, Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia, and Helsingborg in Sweden, the Estonian city won the accolade — and a cheque for €600,000 — for its programme of free public transport, wasteland reconversion, and green ambassadorship. The city’s sustainability plan, Tallinn 2030, aims to reduce local emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2030 by imposing strict efficiency requirements on buildings, the reuse of rainwater, and pushing for alternative energy sources.
“For us, a green capital means that Tallinn is inviting, comfortable, and clean — a city of the future,” said Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, who accepted the award in the 2021 European green capital — the Finnish city of Lahti. He added that the idea of applying for the title first came to the city administration 15 years ago, and revealed that the city had already applied for the prize twice.
Previous Green Capitals include Stockholm, Hamburg, Oslo, and Lisbon, and the award is given by the European Commission to cities deemed “resilient” as well as environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.