Photo: Elisabeth. Ellijoy Frengen/Foap/Visitnorway.com
Fjord Tours Articles / 7 Nov 2019

Oslo-European Green Capital 2019

For many years, Norway has been considered one of the greenest countries in the world. This is due to the fact that it takes on so many environmentally-friendly initiatives that are aimed at significantly reducing the country's carbon footprint.

Norway has recently been recognized on a global scale for their environmental friendliness by having the capital city of Oslo being awarded the title of European Green Capital of 2019. This award is given annually by the European Commission and signifies the greenest capital city in all of Europe.

This is a title that requires a city to take some tremendous efforts towards fighting climate change. Here are the many reasons why Oslo was awarded the title of the European Green Capital of 2019. 

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Photo: Elisabeth. Ellijoy Frengen/Foap/Visitnorway.com

Eliminating Gas Vehicles

For a city that is as populated as Oslo, traffic is one of the biggest factors harming the environment. After all, if even one-tenth of the almost 700,000 people that live in Oslo drive, then that is about 70,000 vehicles on the city streets every day.
If all of them, or even most of them, were gas-powered vehicles then this would be a ton of pollutants that are being pumped into the atmosphere every day of the week. Luckily, Oslo has been cracking down on traffic for quite some time now.

Photo: Electric bus - VisitOslo/Didrik Stenersen

One of the ways in which they have been doing this is by becoming a world leader in the sale of electric cars. In fact, the city now produces so many electric vehicles that it has also been awarded the title of Electric Vehicle Capital of the World, with about 30 percent of all the vehicles sold being electric. This alone results in only a small fraction of the fuel pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere every day.

However, the government of Oslo has gone even further than this in its efforts to cut down on traffic pollution. They have done this by starting an initiative called Bilfritt Byliv, which involves the closing of a significant portion of the city street parking and lowering daily traffic limits. These areas are instead replaced with space for bikes, walking paths, green lungs, benches, and other greener options. This has gone even further to ensure that the amount of traffic pollution being produced by the city is being reduced every year.

Photo: Viking Biking

Development of New Eco-Friendly Neighbourhoods

Improving existing structures to become more eco-friendly is a much more lengthy and costly process than building new ones. This can put a lot of cities in a bit of a conundrum because they cannot simply tear down everything and rebuild it without causing major disruptions. Thankfully, Oslo happens to also be one of the fastest-growing capitals in all of Europe, which means that it is already undergoing a lot of new construction. This gives them the opportunity to build structures that are more eco-friendly than ever before without causing any sort of major disruptions to the city's operations. 

A good example of this is the newly developed neighbourhood of Vulkan, which is located near the river Akerselva. The government has taken advantage of this opportunity and constructed a lot of buildings with extremely efficient solar water-heating systems, commercial buildings that are able to recycle energy used for large-scale refrigeration and elevator services, as well as a major supply of geothermal wells. This has resulted in the construction of one of the most eco-friendly neighbourhoods in the entire world.

There are also other areas like Tjuvholmen, which have constructed artificial reefs in order to help keep the local aquatic wildlife safe from ecosystem destruction.

Photo: Mathallen

Businesses Doing Their Part

One of the challenges that a lot of other cities are dealing with is the lack of cooperation from local businesses when it comes to fighting climate change. Since most of the efforts to do so would require a significant amount of money being spent right away to save money and significantly cut down on pollution in the long run, many businesses are not in a position or not willing to do so.

However, this is not the case for many Oslo businesses. The efforts of the private sector are a big part of why the city was able to capture the title of the European Green Capital of 2019. For example, the community of Losæter contains the city’s first urban farmer and one of the biggest community gardens in all of Norway.

Even the restaurant industry has taken large steps towards helping the cause of fighting climate change. A great example is the three Michelin star restaurant Maaemo, which only offers gourmet meals that use organic and local ingredients. This is able to help not only the city but the environment as well.

Photo: Vulcan Oslo / CH, www.visitnorway.com

Aggressive Climate Change Goals

Not only is Oslo taking steps to improve their pollution situation now, but they are also setting themselves up for significant changes in the near future as well. For example, the city has released its Climate Budget initiative, which uses a combination of 42 different measures throughout three sectors in order to hold the city accountable for its pollution. This is one of the main initiatives that they are using in order to complete their goal of getting their emissions levels down to only half of what they were in 1990 by the year 2020.

All of these reasons and more are why the city of Oslo managed to get awarded the title of the European Green Capital of 2019. Make sure that you give yourself the opportunity to see what the greenest capital city in all of Europe looks like by visiting Oslo on one of our tours

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Photo: CH - visitnorway.com