Covenant of Mayors celebrates 10th anniversary

Covenant of Mayors celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018, and with the 2020 milestone coming closer, the Covenant Ceremony and Investment Forum in Brussels were perfect occasions for to reinforce the ideas behind this organization.

Since 2008, the Covenant of Mayors Ceremony is a political event that gathers the Covenant of Mayors Community. It is used to showcase how local governments develop integrated climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, transport or lighting, make greater use of renewable energy, and brace for climate hazards.

At the ceremony in Brussels, mayors explored how those achievements can be scaled up to help meet or exceed the EU energy and climate objectives. This was a perfect opportunity to network with EU decision makers and relevant stakeholders taking part in the world’s largest energy and climate initiative of its kind.

Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy congratulated all participants on their involvement in this process and stated that “more than 1000 local governments have already committed to the Covenant 2030 targets”.

Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence emphasized the importance of this gathering, noting that “over 600 European mayors came to Brussels to discuss the transition towards climate change and resilient cities.” He reiterated: “Our cities can shape entire communities”.

CEO of Climate – KIC, Kirsten Dunlop reminded everyone that “the decisions that cities take now will lock us into an unsustainable future, or will create the demands for the necessary innovations which can solve climate challenges.”

The meeting in Brussels had several sessions and side-events, some of which tackled the most pressing issues that we face today. In the Committee of the Regions participants discussed energy efficiency with Bertrand Piccard (Solar Impulse) which included speed dating with innovators; building on local climate and energy for transformative EU action; smart cities – from stories to implementation; making climate adaptation a profitable investment for the cities. Below you can watch the recording from the side event on Smart Cities:

The Most Beautiful Tiles of Lisbon

Whether you look up or down, left or right, you will see the tiles. Colorful azulejos -traditional ceramic tiles – decorate walls of Lisbon. Sometimes they depict insightful scenes from daily life. Original azulejos introduced by the Moors in the 8th century were cut into simple geometric shapes and predominantly blue and white. With time colorful azulejos became fashionable.

Below are some of the most beautiful azulejos that we stumbled upon in Lisbon.

Europe’s Most Sociable City

Have you hared of the Social Cities Index? It measures the world’s most sociable cities. The Social Cities Index is a study on global sociability created by Hostelworld and Foresight Factory.

They researched ‘sociability’ based on ten distinct categories such as the frequency with
which people socialize, openness and the ‘propensity to party.’ The study analyzed the social behaviour and attitudes of more than 12,000 residents from 39 major cities in 28 countries.

European and North American cities topped the list. Below is the selection of the most sociable European cities.

19. Berlin (Germany)

Residents of Berlin have a lot of trust in one another. Berlin ranked second in ‘the trust in friends’ category.

18. Milan (Italy)

Milan ranked first in the ‘openness to others’ category. It means that people from Milan are open-minded. A large number of residents surveyed feel that engaging in the authentic culture, along with partying, are the most important things to do while traveling.

16. Helsinki (Finland)

Helsinki ranked the second in terms of the value they ‘place on socializing.’ Face-to-face interactions with friends preferred activities.

15. Warsaw (Poland)

Warsaw ranked third in terms of how much they enjoy entertaining at home.

13. Paris (France)

Parisians also enjoy in-person interactions. Paris ranked third for the value its residents ‘place on socializing.’

10. Dublin (Ireland)

Social and friendly vibe of the city, places Dublin on the top 10 list of Most Sociable Cities Overall.

Source: Pixabay

9. Hamburg (Germany)

Hamburg took third place in the ‘openness to others’ category. Its residents are fun, open, tolerant, and trusting.

8. Rome (Italy)

Rome also ranked high in the ‘openness to others’ category.

Source: Pixabay

7. Madrid (Spain)

Madrid residents like to party; the city ranked first in the “propensity to party” category, which means that residents are prone to finding any excuse to celebrate life.

Source: Pixabay

6. Copenhagen (Denmark)

Copenhageners also value socializing; they like to entertain friends at home. Copenhagen also scored high in the ‘tolerance’ category.

2. Stockholm (Sweden)

Stockholm scored second. It has the most liberal residents in the world. Locals are the second most frequent users of social media, and are very community-minded.

Source: Pixabay

1. Gothenburg (Sweden)

Gothenburg is the most sociable city in Europe and in the world. Thus, I am putting it on Europolitans bucket-list for 2018.


Photo Diary: Wintertime in Cracow

Kraków (Cracow) is the second largest cities in Poland. It is also one of the oldest ones. This city, situated on the Wisła (Vistula) river, has been one of the leading centers of academic, cultural, and artistic life in Poland for centuries. As such, it is a must see for urban travelers, architecture lovers, or history buffs.

  • Throughout the history, Kraków was the capital of numerous Polish states, entities and regions. Today it is the capital of the Małopolska (Lesser Poland) region.
  • Before the World War II Kraków had a large Jewish population. During the war its Jewish population was forced into a walled zone, known as Kraków Ghetto.
  • Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest surviving universities in the world, was founded in Kraków in 1364.
  • Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, was born in the nearby town of Wadowice. He moved to Kraków for his studies where he lived and worked until he was elected the Pope in 1978.
  • In 2000, Kraków was the European Capital of Culture.
  • Entire Old Town of Kraków is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

We recommend going to Kraków during summer months; however, if you are prone to cold, Kraków is magical during winter months too. All you have to do is to bring your warm clothes and to sip a hot glass of mulled wine every now and then. For now, enjoy the photo diary below.

Kraków’s Rynek (Main Square) is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) and Kościół Mariacki (Saint Mary’s Church) are the focal points of the square.  On every hour, a trumpet signal – Hejnał mariacki – is being played from one of the Saint Mary’s towers;  the tune abruptly stops to commemorate the famous trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while alerting the city about the imminent attack. The town hall has not survived to the present day.

Mały Rynek (Little Main Square) is another jewel of the city. It is located right behind Saint Mary’s Church.

Wawel is a fortified complex erected atop a rock on the left bank of the Vistula river. It consists of many buildings and fortifications – the best known are the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral.

At the foothill by the river there is Smok Wawelski (Wawel dragon), a mythical beast who ate virgins…

Have you ever been to Kraków, let us know what you liked the most. If not, have we sparked your curiosity?

Photo Diary: Canal Saint Martin

Some time ago we shared with you our impressions of Canal Saint Martin, a gentrifying, 19th century waterway in Paris. Canal Saint Martin is known as a great summer hangout located in picturesque 10th and 19 arrondissements.

Below we share our moments from our last visit in Paris during a hot October day. As you can see, Canal Saint Martin looked totally different but equally charming when we visited the second time.

Flanders: Reading Between the Lines

Belgium gathers some of the greatest artists that create the most impressive public art. From giant murals to interesting structures, Belgian public is actively engaged in an active dialogue in public spaces where public art is located.

This ten meter-high church – Doorkijkkerk, or Reading Between the Lines – made of 100 layers of steel palettes is located in Belgian province of Limburg. It represents a church when looked at from the right angle. This see-through chapel merges landscape, heritage, and religion in an art installation that is 90 percent air.

Reading Between the Lines was part of the Z-OUT project by Z33, which aimed to bring art into public spaces. Creators are young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh.

Photo Diary: Monschau in Summer

The town of Monschau is located in the narrow valley of the Rur river on the border of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Monschau was historically known for its cloth-mills, today popular mainly with tourists. Picturesque, narrow streets have remained nearly unchanged for more than hundreds of years. Perfect location for a weekend getaway and for overindulging in cuteness.

Below you will find my favorite selection of images that showcase Monschau during a summer day.

Best of Paris: Canal Saint Martin

Canal Saint Martin has been on our Paris bucket list for some time already. Recently my Parisian colleague confirmed that this gentrifying, 19th century waterway  is a great summer hangout.

Namely, in recent years, this shabby-chic area in northeastern Paris started drawing trendy crowds. Iron-footbridges, cosy restaurants, cute shops, and interesting architecture make for a picturesque district in 10th and 19 arrondissements. Once a working class neighborhood, the area is quickly changing into a picturesque and trendy neighborhood as young Parisians move in because of cheaper rents.

On Sundays and public holidays, the quays along the canal are closed off to traffic. We went there on a weekend of August 15th, which is a long weekend in France, and we had the canal to ourselves. Many cafes, boutiques and stores were closed; nevertheless, we loved experiencing empty Paris. However, rumor has it that  on a warm spring or summer evening Canal Saint Martin buzzes with locals who bring their own booze and sit somewhere along the canal. Just along the canal, Bassin de la Villette buzzed with summer outdoor activities. Have a look at the video below.