Leuven European Capital of Innovation 2020

Leuven has won the 2020 European Capital of Innovation award!

The European Commission bestows this prestigious award on the city that best exploits innovation to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Leuven thus wins €1 million for its ground-breaking collaboration model, beating cities such as Vienna, Valencia and Milan in the finals and joining a select club of cities including Barcelona, Amsterdam and Paris.

Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of the City of Leuven rightfully claims:

“The iCapital award is a symbol of hope for a better shared future, especially in these challenging times. Our mission is to lead the way towards a just, sustainable and prosperous future. ‘Innovate for the better and for all’ is our motto.”

- Mayor Mohamed Ridouani

The iCapital jury unanimously chose Leuven as the European Capital of Innovation, praising Leuven's approach to inspiring governance models, in which residents, businesses, organisations and knowledge institutions work together to improve the quality of life through innovation.

An example?

Just a few days after the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, the city was the first to launch a platform ‘Leuven Helpt’, bringing together people needing help with volunteers offering help. More than 300 cities in Belgium and other countries, such as Italy and New-Zealand adopted the platform in the following weeks.

Announcement of the winner with Mayor Mohamed Ridouani

Meanwhile, the world-renowned Rega Institute in Leuven is at the forefront of the global race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, as it has already successfully done for Zika and polio.

Leuven is a future laboratory for Europe. We are a city of students, researchers, entrepreneurs and residents spanning 163 different nationalities. Our model of radical cooperation and engaged leadership certainly is a blueprint for other European cities,” mayor Ridouani concludes.