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Brussels, 15 April 2011

Environment: All aboard Hamburg's Train of Ideas

Hamburg, European Green Capital 2011, has taken to the tracks with a rolling exhibition on sustainable living. EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Hamburg's Mayor Olaf Scholz set the wheels in motion for the six-month tour of 18 European cities at the train's launch today. The novel approach to sharing best practice aims to demonstrate to thousands of European citizens how cities can be both attractive and sustainable in the future.

Commissioner Potočnik said: “The Train of Ideas is a wonderful expression of European values. The European Green Capital Award is all about sharing. If we want our cities to change for the better then we cannot keep all the good ideas to ourselves. Hamburg has much to teach other cities. It has shown that economic growth and environmental protection are not conflicting issues. I encourage as many Europeans as possible to visit this exhibition when it pulls in to their cities.”

The Train of Ideas

The Train of Ideas was a deciding factor in the decision to select Hamburg as the 2011 European Green Capital. The exhibition, entitled “Visions for the Cities of the Future", focuses on the challenges of designing European cities that are sustainable, environmentally-friendly and attractive to live in. With more than 70 exhibits and 26 touch screens, the exhibition will present best practices from Hamburg and feature exemplary projects from other European cities. Oslo, for example, will teach Europe how to light its streets intelligently, Vienna will present its “ÖkoKauf” programme, encouraging environmentally-friendly consumption habits and Copenhagen will present Nordhavnen, a  model district for sustainable building practices and cycling.

The exhibition presents the topics of “Urban Development and Living”, “Mobility”, “Energy and Climate Protection”, “Nature and Urban Green”, “Resource Protection and Business” and “Consumption” in an interactive way. Visitors get to see the city from various perspectives, including personal, local, regional and global points of view.

Train timetable

15 to 21 April: Hamburg

26 to 29 April: Copenhagen

01 to 4 May: Malmö

06 to 10 May: Göteborg

12 to 15 May: Oslo

20 to 22 May: Zurich

24 to 27 May: Munich

31 to 4 May: Warsaw

07 to 10 June: Riga

12 to 14 June: Tallinn

20 to 22 June: Vienna

25 to 29 June: Barcelona

02 to 4 July: Marseilles

07 to 10 July: Nantes


01 to 4 Sept: Paris

07 to 13 Sept: Brussels

15 to 19 Sept: Amsterdam

21 to 25 Sept: Antwerp

29 Sept to 22 Oct: Hamburg

Hamburg – winner 2011

Hamburg was chosen as the European Green Capital 2011 from 35 applicants. The city, which is home to 1.8 million people and boasts very good air quality, was singled out for its energy-saving measures. The city has introduced extremely ambitious climate protection goals such as reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by the year 2050.

Measures introduced include a cost-efficiency benchmark for energy-saving measures in public buildings, with programmes for lighting, boilers and refrigerator replacement. Over 200,000 conventional lamps in more than 400 public buildings have been replaced, saving energy and €3.4 million per year, and in recent years €18 million has been spent replacing over 600 boiler systems with modern condensing boilers.

Hamburg has an excellent integrated waste management system with high levels of source separation of individual materials and energy recovery. The city has also made good progress in reducing water consumption and leaks. Innovative pilot schemes are helping to reduce the amount of water used in public toilets.

The city has 11 657km of bus routes and 10 426 stops. Almost 100% of Hamburg's citizens have public transport within 300 metres. Hamburg is impressively green in comparison to most cities of similar size, with over 16.7% of the urban area given over to forests, recreation and green spaces.

The European Green Capital Award

The European Green Capital Award (EGCA) recognises and rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy and the quality of life in cities. The EGCA is given each year to a city, not necessarily a capital, which is leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living and which can act as a role-model to inspire other cities. Vitoria-Gasteiz will be European Green Capital in 2012 and the title will pass to Nantes in 2013. Applications for the 2014 award will open in June 2011.

Further details

Read more about the European Green Capital Award on

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