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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 29 November 2012

Environment: European Green Capital 2013 – Nantes, France

At a ceremony in Brussels today, Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, takes over the title of European Green Capital from Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain. Nantes was awarded the title of European Green Capital 2013 following an intensive Europe-wide competition in 2010.

Commissioner Potočnik said: “I congratulate Nantes on receiving the title of European Green Capital 2013, a title that brings with it great responsibility. The Award recognizes environmental best practices, including in the areas of local contribution to sustainable transport and land use, green urban areas, water consumption, and the fight against global climate change,."

Nantes has many ‘green’ credentials that helped it win the title. For example:

  • Everyone in Nantes lives within 300 metres of a green area

  • There are 57 m² of green space per person

  • There are 100,000 trees in the city

  • 15 % of residents use public transport daily

  • Nantes has an ambitious Climate Action Plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 % per capita by 2020 compared to 2003

  • 60 % of the land area in Nantes is either agricultural or a green area

  • The city has four Natura 2000 sites and 33 natural zones of floral, faunal or ecological interest.

Nantes has also produced a travelling exhibition called Aéroflorale II. The exhibition, which will tour European cities throughout 2013, features a show called the "plant expedition", which will showcase Nantes' contribution to environmental best practices, and raise awareness of the European Green Capital Award, through biological experiments and discoveries. Brussels will welcome the Aéroflorale in May 2013.

Nantes has also devised an extensive calendar of events to share its experiences with the world and to celebrate the city’s achievements. The calendar includes the 5th World Forum on Human Rights entitled ‘Sustainable Development/Human Rights: a common struggle?’ (May 2013); the 10th Ecocity Conference (September 2013); and the third world meeting of Mexico’s pact-signing cities in the Ecocity Builders movement.


The European Green Capital Award is presented to a city in the vanguard of environmentally friendly urban living. A panel of experts assesses the cities on the basis of 12 environmental indicators, and then a jury evaluates them on their commitment to on-going and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, their communication actions and the extent to which they can act as a role model and promote best practice in other European cities. In addition to inspiring other cities, this increased profile will serve to enhance the winning city’s reputation and attractiveness as a destination for people to visit, work and live in.

Five cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since its inception in 2010. Stockholm won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg in 2011 and Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain in 2012; Nantes will pass the title to Copenhagen for 2014.

Nantes is located on the confluence of the Loire, Erdre and Sèvre rivers, 55 km from France’s Atlantic coast, and forms the core of the urban area of Greater Nantes. It is France’s sixth largest city with a metropolitan population of some 600,000 inhabitants and an urban area of 534.9 km².

For more information: / Twitter: @EU_GreenCapital

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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