Vilnius announced winner of the European Green City award

The European Commission announced last week the winner of its Green Capital 2025 award, which went to the city of Vilnius in Lithuania. This prize rewards capital cities that promote innovation and sustainable development, and is part of the EU’s mission to encourage transition towards a greener and healthier living environment.

Vilnius will be awarded a financial prize of €600,000 for this victory, and will serve as a role model for other cities throughout Europe. The second category of this prize for smaller cities was awarded to Viladecans in Spain and Treviso in Italy. 

Between 70 and 80% of Europeans live in urban areas, so it is clear that cities play a crucial role in the continent’s environmental and economic transformation towards a sustainable, cleaner future.

Lithuania is a European leader in sustainability, with the country recently topping emerging Europe in this Climate Change Performance Index, and Vilnius being distinguished as Europe’s healthiest capital city for its air quality and its high standard of green spaces available to residents.

Vilnius was distinguished as Europe’s healthiest capital city

Vilnius has the mission to become a climate-neutral smart city by 2030, and is in that respect part of many EU initiatives for sustainable cities. It is also a signatory of the Green City Accord, a movement of European mayors committed to improving the quality of life of their residents and accelerating the implementation of relevant EU environmental laws.

Vilinius is committed to addressing five areas of environmental management: air, water, nature and biodiversity, circular economy and waste, and noise. The city aims to actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the use of renewable energy sources, and renovating heating infrastructure to avoid energy waste.

Green spaces play a particularly central place in Vilnius’ sustainability strategy. This is because it goes towards a variety of targets, from the happiness of residents to clean air and water, to biodiversity preservation. In Vilnius, over 46% of the surface area is composed of green spaces, compared to London’s 18%

In Vilnius, over 46% of the surface area is composed of green spaces, compared to London’s 18%

The city is part of the Green Wave Initiative, which aims to plant millions of trees, shrubs, and vines across Europe. Vilnius also invests in renovating and reforming public parks, and establishing healthy natural meadows, composed of local wild flowers and plants. 

To combat noise and environmental pollution, Vilnius encourages sustainable transportation in the form of bicycles, and took the decision of replacing fireworks with lasers, light performances, or even drones to continue to celebrate, but sustainably.

Vilnius’ sustainability strategy also relies heavily on technology and innovation, and more specifically on the Internet of Things, i.e. connected devices. The city for instance uses virtual reality for simulations, as well as an app for citizens to engage in all relevant areas of city management.

Photo by Dan-Marian-Stefan Doroghi on Unsplash