In a remarkable achievement, Vilnius has been crowned the European Green Capital for 2025, triumphing over notable contenders like Portugal’s Guimarães and Austria’s Graz in the final held in Tallinn. The European Commission’s Green Capital Awards bestowed this prestigious title upon Vilnius, acknowledging its exemplary efforts in environmental sustainability and urban development.
Valdas Benkunskas, Mayor of Vilnius, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This award is a significant recognition of our city’s dedication to sustainable progress. Our vision is to transform Vilnius into a completely climate-neutral city by 2030. Each year, our focus sharpens on nurturing biodiversity, climate mitigation, sustainable mobility, and efficient urban management. We are committed to an open, innovative, and experimental approach to our city’s development.”
Mayor Benkunskas emphasized the critical importance of energy independence for the city. “We are resolute in our commitment to shift towards renewable energy sources and reduce dependency on fossil fuels,” he affirmed.
The evaluation for the Green Capital title considers seven vital aspects that contribute to urban quality of life—air and water quality, waste management, circular economy development, noise levels, biodiversity promotion, and climate change adaptation. A panel of independent experts plays a pivotal role in determining the deserving Green Capital.
Being designated as a Green Capital is not only a prestigious honour but also international recognition for cities striving to create a better environment for both nature and people. It serves as a global platform to share policies, experiences, and set examples for other cities, attracting investments, and enabling access to EU environmental funds. The Green Capital is awarded €600,000 in funding for EU-wide events.
Additionally, Treviso in Italy and Viladekans in Spain are recognized as European Green Leaf Winners, focusing on sustainability for cities with populations between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.
Since 2010, the European Commission has been conducting the European Green Capital elections, stemming from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by fifteen European cities, encouraging urban development towards a more environmentally friendly and healthier future. Stockholm set the precedent as the first European Green Capital in the last decade. Following Tallinn this year, Valencia is slated to be the European Green Capital in 2024. These Green Capitals join the Green Capital Network—a community of 36 cities—to collectively pursue ambitious ideas for urban improvement.