European Capital of Innovation 2020

Since 2020, Leuven can call itself European Capital of Innovation. The prestigious award from the European Commission rewards the city that makes the best use of innovation to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. In addition to the title itself, Leuven received 1 million euros. Together with Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate, the city of Leuven submitted a dossier to the European Commission for the European Capital of Innovation Award.

In 2020, the iCapital jury unanimously chose Leuven as Innovation Capital. The European Commission praised the way in which Leuven sets up inspiring governance models in which residents, companies, organizations and knowledge institutions are committed to help shape the future.

The European Commission awards this prize to the city that has shown optimal application of innovation in improving the quality of life for its citizens and in creating new and ground-breaking solutions to public challenges. The winner receives 1 million euros.

The city of Leuven applied for the award in close collaboration with Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate. Joining other candidates such as Valencia, Vienna and Milan in the finals, Leuven has now been awarded this prestigious title. World-renowned cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris are former winners.

Why is Leuven the new European Capital of Innovation?

The city of Leuven has established a unique symbiosis of empathy in leadership and structural collaboration between citizens, knowledge institutions and local organisations. In this way, the city has always adhered to its aspiration to create a brighter future, for itself and far beyond. This constant and durable awareness of the value of cooperation has now been recognized and awarded by the European Commission.

A wide array of public challenges are being tackled by Leuven and its ground-breaking network of collaborations: climate issues and global warming, culture, high quality and low-threshold education and care …

Leuven insists on creating optimal opportunities and a fruitful framework for all its citizens and stakeholders. It has generated a unique and fertile soil for creativity and innovation.

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Innovate for the better, and for all

"Our innovation model goes beyond technological progress. Together with residents, organizations, companies and knowledge institutions, we work every day to create a better future, for Leuven and far beyond. This way of deep cooperation is now being rewarded by Europe. By reconnecting the many different forces in our city over and over again, tomorrow's solutions will first take shape here. It is our task to take the lead on the road to a just, sustainable and prosperous future, with and for everyone," says a proud mayor Mohamed Ridouani.

Leuven is the sixth European and only Belgian city to bear the title of 'European Capital of Innovation'.

More info

The brochure 'We are Leuven, European capital of innovation' explains what innovation actually means and how we can all benefit from it.

Listen to the podcast 'How Leuven became European Capital of Innovation', where Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, director of Leuven 2030 Katrien Rycken and director of Leuven MindGate Johan Merlevede will tell you all about what those innovations are, and how Leuven exactly earned this award.