The title of European Green Capital was handed over to Tallinn at the Green Capital opening ceremony by Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, and Éric Piolle, the Mayor of Grenoble, European Green Capital 2022.
"The title of the European Green Capital is a tribute to all of us, especially to our ancestors, who have coded into our genes and the surrounding cultural space the benefits of living in harmony with nature. Today, this title inspires us to shape a friendly and innovative Tallinn," said Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart in his speech.
When handing over the title of European Green Capital, The European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius recognized the positive development of Tallinn. „The title of the green capital has come home, because it was here in 2006 that the idea started. I am very happy to see that Tallinn is in its green capital program paying special importance to biodiversity and resilience. There are inspirational ideas and solutions here that are certainly useful to other cities as well,“ Mr. Sinkevičius said.
The artistic director of the opening ceremony was Mikk Jürjens. Renowned musicians Vaiko Eplik and Eliit, Puuluup, Andres Kõpper, JT Conception performed their music. Two pieces were specially created for the opening ceremony: "What color is Tallinn?" by Puuluup and "Lennart" by Andres Kõpper. The latter uses thoughts from President Lennat Meri’s speeches.
Humorous black-and-white silent films were also created for the opening ceremony, about how environmental issues have become an important concern of the city's citizens today. On stage, a 5th grade boy Uku Muinasmaa, a 11th grade boy Robin Marcus Luik and artist Marko Mäetamm drew pictures about how nature has changed over time.
16-year-old Liisa-Lotta Tõiste, the winner of the green capital speech contest "Biodiverse City", also gave a speech, asking what kind of city would a child, teenager, adult, or senior want to live in? „In a city where everyone can carry out their daily activities without depending on getting around by car. Where pedestrian areas and the possibility to move around with bikes or scooters is guaranteed for everybody. Where every person has the opportunity to drink clean tap water, sort garbage, eat at places that value local food and use as few single-use packaged products as possible," she answered.
More than 650 guests from Estonia and over 20 countries across Europe were present at the festive opening ceremony.
You can re-watch the opening ceremony at Tallinn – European Green Capital 2023 YouTube channel.
Tallinn's main topics for the European Green Capital 2023 year are biodiversity, climate, eco-innovation and sustainability. The program of the European Green Capital has exciting activities for all residents and guests of Tallinn, including more than 60 events.