Essen has won the European Green Capital Award for 2017.
The EU Commission chose the German city for its “exemplary” practices in protecting and enhancing nature and biodiversity.
Essen’s efforts to reduce water consumption with multi-functional green areas which are used for rainwater management, flood prevention and groundwater recharge “caught the attention of the jury”, stated the Commission.
It added the city’s target to prevent rainwater entering the combined sewer network in at least 15% of the area served by those sewers “especially impressed” the jury.
Essen competed with three other shortlisted cities: ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Umeå in Sweden.
Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “Essen has used the lessons from its industrial past to build an environmentally sound future. They have applied the principle of working with nature and reaped spectacular results.
“We have a great deal to learn from Essen’s green infrastructure and indeed from its ambitious plans for the future.”
Bristol won the European Green Capital Award for this year and Ljubljana in Slovenia for 2016.