Towards greener cultural activities in cities

  • culture
  • environment

On July 18-20 34 participants from 14 cities and 8 European cultural organisations attended a EUROCITIES study visit in Leeuwarden, European Capital of Culture 2018. The visit focused on greening cultural events and on how culture drives innovation, socio-economic change and sustainability.

Participants shared knowledge and learned from a mix of on-site visits, interviews with local stakeholders and workshops with colleagues from all over Europe. The programme of Leeuwarden-European Capital of Culture 2018 successfully combines culture, ecology and social inclusion. Biodiversity, regional partnerships and innovation in festivals were at the forefront of the visit where participants were invited to visit the eco-friendly music festival Welcome to the Village where hundreds of students, musicians, artists, volunteers, designers, scientists and festival visitors are working on a better world and a completely circular festival for 2022.

A key initiative presented during the visit is Innofest, a regional organisation supported by Leeuwarden that uses festivals as living labs for innovation and helps start-ups to test their prototypes in festivals. So far it helped 70 entrepreneurs fine tune their new products, such as insect fries or new generation disposable glasses. The Innofest model can be expanded to other cities/festivals (more info:

When asked their main learning points from the study visit, participants responded:

-      The focus of ECoC 2018 around ‘Mienskip’ (the Frisian word for ‘community’ and the community and bottom up approach

-      The mix between activities taking place in the city and outside the city, including in nature

-      Innofest as a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation through festivals and festivals as test bed to test new products

-      The importance of the legacy of 2018

Link to study visit report

Link to blogpost from Catriona Patterson, participant from Edinburgh Festivals

Link to presentations

For more information, please contact:

EUROCITIES staff contact

Julie Herve