An open platform for public sector transformation
The Lithuanian capital Vilnius has always been at the forefront when it comes to innovative solutions, resourcefulness and creativity. Unexpected solutions during the pandemic that turned Vilnius into a huge open-air café and streamlined the vaccination process inspired other cities in Lithuania and abroad to look for ways to stay in close touch with their citizens. ‘PORTAL’, another initiative born in Vilnius during the pandemic, connected two European cities Vilnius and Lublin.
Sharing and caring for a brighter future
Vilnius is a strong believer in open data. The city council offers free access to financial, procurement, real estate, transport and other data to all. And it’s not just for curious citizens! Tech developers are encouraged to help create smarter urban solutions using all the swathes of available. This collaborative approach helps the city rapidly grow in such areas as financial technology, IT, biotechnology, electronics and optical systems.
And the ripple effect is already visible. Trafi, a global mobility problem-solver that grew out of Vilnius’ open data, has built one of the world’s largest urban transport platforms, used by the residents of Berlin, Munich, Prague, Zurich, and other cities, and offering solutions which have been adopted by such companies as Google and Lyft.
A playground for innovators
In 2021 Vilnius has been ranked among the top-25 Global Cities of the Future for the first time ever by fDi Intelligence, a specialist division of The Financial Times that ranks cities based on a number of foreign direct investment indicators. Having evaluated the recent foreign investment attracted to the city, various economic indicators and overall business development, Lithuania’s capital was ranked 24th alongside cities like Singapore, London, Dubai, Amsterdam and New York.
The capital has a vibrant startup community with more than 20 business hubs, accelerators and pre-accelerators, in addition to regulatory sandboxes. Companies like Revolut and Transfergo have set up their offices in Vilnius, recognising the value of this environment.
A city for talented people
The city offers a strong talent base for tech companies and startups. There are 21,000 professionals employed in the ICT sector in the Vilnius region and over 6,000 more work in R&D. With a talent pool that has the highest ICT literacy of any in the EU, along with almost 100% English proficiency among young professionals, Vilnius offers what modern businesses need. The city is one of the youngest European capitals, with more than 50 % of residents under the age of 40.
Maintaining proper work-life balance is key, and for that reason in Lithuania, a four-day workweek is becoming increasingly more common. And not just private companies are choosing that employment model, with Vilnius-based public sector companies also opting for a healthier work-life balance.
Thinking outside-the-box, even in times of crisis
Vilnius approached the COVID-19 crisis with creativity, turning empty eateries into fashion displays with mannequins occupying the tables and the city itself into one big open-air café. As soon as the city issued its invitation, more than 400 restaurants, cafés and bars came forward to set up tables outside. Cities in other countries followed this positive example.
Vilnius has built a virtual bridge for those who are tired of pandemic travel restrictions and longing to meet new people from near and faraway countries. A futuristic-looking ‘PORTAL’ has been installed next to Vilnius Train Station, allowing anyone who uses it to make contact in real time with inhabitants of the Polish city of Lublin. A similar PORTAL has been installed in Lublin’s central square.
The PORTAL resembles a virtual circular door and has a large screen and cameras, thanks to which live images can be transmitted between the two cities via the Internet. The project has been five years in the making. PORTAL is supposed to serve as a visual bridge and new wave community accelerator that brings people of different cultures together and encourages them to rethink the meaning of unity.
Co-creating Vilnius’ 700th anniversary
Vilnius will celebrate its 700th anniversary in 2023 with all kinds of events and festivities characteristic of the youthful and creative capital city known for its bold ideas. Both residents and guests will have the chance to co-author a unique film about the city, revive a 17th-century opera with the help of artificial intelligence, participate in various performances, learn what Vilnius Poker is, and discover many other exciting activities and business opportunities. Be the first to know what awaits you at www.700vilnius.lt
Vilnius has warmly embraced Ukrainians fleeing the war. Many Ukrainian war refugees have found shelter in the Lithuanian capital, residents of Vilnius have welcomed them into their homes, and the city authorities have come up with numerous initiatives to make the transition and settlement in Vilnius smooth.
On 13-15 May Vilnius organized Ukrainian Days Festival. The event aimed to introduce Lithuanians to Ukrainian culture and help Ukrainians get to know the Lithuanian capital better.
In total, more than 100 different free educational events, concerts, excursions, and entertainment events for children took place during the three-day festival.
The name of the event, Vilniushyvanka, was inspired by the traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt called vyshyvanka, which even has its own international day celebrated on May 19.