Amsterdam is the European Capital of Innovation 2016

The European Commission awarded the title of European Capital of Innovation 2016 to Amsterdam for its holistic vision of innovation related to four areas of urban life: governance, economics, social inclusion and quality of life.

Amsterdam was chosen by a panel of independent experts in a close competition with eight more finalists that included much larger cities such as Berlin and Paris. The Netherlands had one more finalist with Eindhoven.

Europe's most innovative city

Amsterdam's 950.000 euro prize will be used to scale up and expand the city's efforts on innovation. Turin and Paris were selected as runners-up, winning second and third prizes respectively.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Amsterdam fully deserves to be our European Capital of Innovation for its holistic vision of innovation in and for the city.

But the competition was very tough and the outstanding achievements of the all nine shortlisted cities are an inspiration to others. They are shining examples of how cities can put innovation to work to improve the way people live and businesses work."

Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "This award is all about speeding up change: we must encourage cities and regions to tackle burning societal challenges by jumping on the innovation train and spreading bottom-up experiences.

I am proud to see that 12 European Committee of the Regions' members represent these nine finalists. We need pioneering cities and regions like the winner, Amsterdam, to lead the way."


The 2016 European Capital of Innovation award was launched in 2015 for cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants from EU member states and countries associated to Horizon 2020. 36 cities from 12 countries applied to this year's competition.

The winner and the finalists were selected by a jury of independent experts on the basis of new initiatives launched since January 1, 2012 and on the cities' ideas for developing innovation capacity in the future.

Nine finalists

The nine finalists were:
Amsterdam (NL) - for embracing a bottom-up approach based on smart growth, start-ups, livability and digital social innovation

Berlin (DE) - for performing as an urban living lab where innovative Information and Communication Technology solutions can be tested

Eindhoven (NL) - for combining digital technology with creativity in its world-leading urban smart lighting strategy

Glasgow (UK) - for its replicable innovation model based on partnerships across industry, science and communities

Milano (IT) - for enhancing social inclusion and alternative models in the delivery of public services to create more opportunities for employment

Oxford (UK) - for its vision to openly share the wealth of knowledge within its world-class innovation ecosystem

Paris (FR) - for its strategy based on open innovation, connectivity and ingenuity aiming at becoming a world hub for start-up

Torino (IT) - for its open innovation models supporting social innovation start-ups and creating new market opportunities for urban innovations

Vienna (AT) - for its innovation and ICT strategies based on a citizen-centred approach and long-term developments in economy, education, research and technology

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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