Kiel is the Winner of the German Sustainability Award 2021

The year 2021 is all about sustainability for Kiel: the state capital Kiel has won the prize for the most sustainable German major city in 2021.

The city of Kiel is committed to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Cities and municipalities play a prominent role in the implementation of the SDGs. Our commitment to sustainability bears the motto: "For Kiel and the world: think globally, start locally". The jury honors the city of Kiel for its outstanding commitment in the areas of climate protection, resource conservation and social justice with the German Sustainability Award 2021. In the category of large cities, Kiel won in the finals against the cities Munich and Stuttgart.

Our understanding of sustainability includes working on sustainable development with global and local responsibility, together with all citizens as well as with the focus on mobility and climate protection.

Kiel has been a climate protection city since 1996, and was the first German state capital to declare a climate emergency along with the intention to become climate neutral before 2050. For this purpose, in accordance with the climate protection strategy "Masterplan 100 % Klimaschutz", a gas-fired combined heat and power plant, which can be heated green gas in the future, with a CO2 saving of 70 percent was put into operation and an energy efficiency network for companies was founded. With the "Blue Port" project, Kiel is pursuing the ambitious goal of becoming the most ecological port in Europe.

Coastal power plant. Photo: Stadtwerke Kiel.

Besides that, Kiel wants to develop from a car-friendly to a people-friendly city. This includes the development of a route-bound public transport system, the consistent expansion of cycle routes and cycle paths, and an attractive, green public space that is accessible to all Kiel residents.

The city of Kiel takes global responsibility. Despite our commitment for climate and marine protection, Kiel is also a "safe haven" for refugees and has taken in an above-average number of young people with a refugee background. The city relies on prevention chains, which is intended to open up new perspectives for school dropouts.

There are also close cooperations with the Tanzanian partner Moshi District in the reconstruction of a municipal tree nursery into an environmental centre, as well as with the Turkish town of Hatay in the Syrian-Turkish border region, where a school for Syrian refugee children could be built thanks to the great civic commitment of the people of Kiel.

The award of the German Sustainability Award 2021 in the category of large cities confirms that we are on the right track and spurs us on to move forward. But it is also clear that we are still at the beginning of this exciting journey towards becoming a truly sustainable city. 

Especially in these times when we are facing challenges with the pandemic and climate change, we are excited to share our understanding of sustainability and we are also looking forward to exchange your sustainability stories with you!



Frauke Wiprich (frauke.wiprich(at)
City of Kiel
Head of International Affairs and Sustainability

Lisa Eglhofer (lisa.eglhofer(at)
City of Kiel
Project Coordinator for Sustainability