Stockholm voted EU’s first Green Capital

easterfivelittleQuality public parklands and progressive environmental policies have seen Stockholm selected as the first ever Green Capital of the European Union.

“The environment here is good, it’s beautiful, it’s clean,” said Stockholm resident Anna Elig during an interview with The Local. “All the moms and dads who are on parental leave go out for walks around the city … This wouldn’t work in Paris,” she added as she strolled down one of the city’s many riverfront walkways.

Around 40 percent of the inner-city Swedish capital is comprised of green spaces, and Stockholm’s position on the Baltic Sea archipelago was also seen as a benefit for the launch of the European Commission’s Green Capital initiative.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said political scientist and environmental institution head Katarina Eckerberg. “Stockholm has a highly developed environmental policy, and any foreigner who comes here is probably surprised that we can benefit from nature as much as we do in the very centre of town”.

Sweden has long been at the forefront of environmental activism, with the country proud of its natural living ethos.

“Maybe it’s because (Sweden) is so sparsely populated and many of us have summer cottages, that Swedes have such a high regard for the environment,” said Gustaf Landahl, head of the capital’s environment and planning department.

Stockholm’s recent green efforts have focussed on reducing the effect of heating and road transport on the environment, which together make up 43 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions.

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