5 reasons why Ghent is one of Europe’s most sustainable cities

Ask any Belgian what Belgium’s most sustainable city is, and plenty of people will answer Ghent. But what are the reasons for that? We point out five of them, not only arguing why it’s at the forefront of Belgium’s innovation, even why Ghent is one of Europe’s most sustainable cities.

The “Circulation Plan”

Last year Ghent adopted a whole new so-called “circulation plan”. A very ambitious plan that has to reduce car traffic in its city center. Implementation happened gradually, with plenty of roads becoming car-free or car-limited. Of course, this didn’t happen without a lot of protest, such as is always the case when cars are targeted. But the city persisted, and first results already show the benefits on air pollution. Where other cities fail to get to the implementation of its plans, Ghent has showed the way to go.

Sustainable food projects

If you “are what you eat”, in Ghent you are sustainable. Plenty of the initiatives in Ghent are targeted at making the food scene more sustainable. Grocery stores such as BE o Versmarkt, Ayuno, Vers and Moor & Moor aim to make local and organic food accessible and affordable. Plenty of other initiatives, such as Boeren & Buren also work on direct sales between farmers and consumers. The shops of Ohne aim to put zero waste food shopping in the picture. And loads of eateries and bars are focused on products with a story, coming from the region and harvested in sustainable ways.

Community initiatives

From Thursday Veggieday by Ghent’s NGO Eva, to Repair Caf├ęs, or the newly launched Zomer zonder Vliegen – Summer without flying-. If there is something that makes Ghent’s sustainable scene really alive, it’s the amount of initiatives taken by citizens and organizations of all kinds. The citizens of Ghent actively take part in building a sustainable city, a great advantage to go forward. From innovative food systems, to sharing or repairing tools and sustainable mobility, as to community initiatives, Ghent is definitely one of Europe’s most sustainable cities.

Vegan and vegetarian Ghent

As to amount of fully vegan and vegetarian eateries per amount of citizens, Ghent is in the top 10 of European cities. But also in regular eateries, veggie options are always omnipresent. Awareness campaigns such as Thursday Veggieday or Dagen Zonder Vlees – Days without meat – did had their effect. It makes that plant power is what drives plenty of the citizens here.

Sustainable fashion

Ghent might not be leading that far ahead yet when it comes to sustainable fashion, but it’s growing steadily. Shops such as Supergoods, Kiddybips or Fair Eco Fashion are entirely focused on providing a sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly alternative. Since fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, that’s a major importance.

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Good Goal is an independent guide to sustainable places in Ghent and various other European cities. We visit every place ourselves and only list the most innovative ones. Our guide is made so that everyone can easily find the sustainable options, those that benefit local people, sustainable innovators and that show you the authentic and local Ghent. To keep yourself updated, please like our Facebookpage