Antwerp shortlisted for European Capital of Innovation award


Project to complete Antwerp Ring could earn the city €1 million

Winning innovation

Antwerp is in the running to be named European Capital of Innovation 2019, in a competition that pits it against Bristol, Espoo, Glasgow, Nantes, and Rotterdam. If it wins, the city will collect up to €1 million to scale-up local innovation activities.

The competition is run by the European Commission to recognise and support innovation in major European cities. In particular, it looks for projects that involve citizens and work to improve their lives.

Antwerp's bid centres on its project to complete the Antwerp Ring road. Known as the Oosterweel Link, this road project will also create new housing, schools and sport spaces, and improve flood detection, air quality, and mobility. The Commission commends Antwerp for the way it negotiated resistance to its initial plans and drew up new proposals with community groups.

“This nomination reinforces our international image as an innovative city," said Claude Marinower, city councillor for innovation. "In recent years Antwerp has grown into a real innovation hotspot. The fact that the European Commission also recognises this confirms that we must continue on the path we have taken and that we must sustain our ambition."

Antwerp was a finalist in last year's competition, but did not make it to the shortlist. Leuven made the cut, but was beaten to the prize by Athens.

Getting this far in this year's competition means Antwerp will already collect €100,000. Whether or not it has won the big prize will be announced by the European Commissioner for innovation in Brussels on 25 September.

Image courtesy Oosterweel project