Crown Prince Haakon, Queen Sonja and several other senior guests from home and abroad were in place when Oslo was officially opened as Europe’s environmental capital.
The Norwegian capital has tried three times previously to secure the award, and despite fierce competition from twelve other European cities, they finally succeeded in 2019.
On Friday, it was set for the official opening ceremony, which will kick off at least 350 environmental events in the city during the coming year. A clearly proud and satisfied environmental politician, Lan Marie Berg of
Miljøpartiet De Grønne (MDG) was among the speakers.
“We are the first generation to see the effect of global warming. We are also the last generation who can solve the problem. We can’t let anyone else take over this problem. We have to solve it ourselves” she said.
“My hope is now that Oslo can export its climate solutions to other major cities around the world. This is how small Oslo can change the whole world” the environmental worker
The official title of the European Green Capital Award was presented by the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella. Lisbon’s Mayor, Fernando Medina, who had to see his city beaten at the finish line by Oslo, was in place with Hubert Bruls, the mayor of last year’s winning city, Nijmegen.
Friday’s solemn ceremony in Oslo City Hall is one of several expensive events, and the Oslo City Council has been criticised for spending too much money on being an environmental capital. The total price tag is planned to be
NOK 118 million, but this also includes money to strengthen the teaching on the environment and climate in the Oslo schools, and a new app that will make it easier for people to make green choices in everyday life.
Oslo City Councillor, Raymond Johansen, has dismissed the money criticism as ‘populist’.
“Instead, they get concrete suggestions on which points in the program they want to cut. Are there measures aimed at kindergartens, districts or the business community? he
asked rhetorically when he got the question last year.
Bus and toll stations
The election of the European environmental capital is done by the EU Commission, and the first city was Stockholm in 2010. Also Bristol and Copenhagen have been environmental
Oslo won the award thanks to extensive focus on public transport, cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, source separation, and other environmental measures. EU Commissioner, Vella, told NRK news that the prize was well deserved.
“Oslo deserved to win. They have dreamed, worked and made plans for this, and they succeeded. First and foremost, they won
because they put the citizens’ interests first, which is the very idea behind the prize” he said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today