Middelfart, a Danish city on the island of Funen, is the 2022 European Destination of Excellence. The European Destination of Excellence initiative is a competition aimed at rewarding and recognizing smaller European destinations that are sustainable tourism pioneers in paving the way for a greener future in tourism. Destinations from across Europe apply to be awarded the title of European Destination of Excellence and are selected based on their efforts and projects that directly impact a more sustainable and climate-friendly tourism experience. Middelfart may be a smaller destination that you might not have heard of yet, but it is a role model for putting the climate at the heart of any decision-making process and intends to make an enormous impact.
As a sustainable pioneer, Middelfart excels in creating a tourism experience that places the environment first. Surrounded by the beautiful Little Belt Nature Park, Middelfart is obliged to the natural fauna and flora that visitors and residents enjoy on a near-daily basis. The Little Belt Nature Park encloses the headland on which Middelfart is situated and the waterways that pass by the city. Here visitors can hike along the coast or venture onto the water and try to catch a glimpse of the world’s densest population of porpoises.
The Little Belt Nature Park is, as Mayor Johannes Lundsfryd Jensen puts it, “worth fighting for,” and that is precisely what this sustainable pioneer is doing. By integrating sustainable thinking into all economic, political, and cultural decisions, Middelfart is putting climate protection into action while delivering a unique tourism experience.
Beyond the natural beauty of the Little Belt, Middelfart offers an array of sustainably planned and organized activities for visitors to enjoy. For those more daring, you can go above and beyond while taking a tour 65 meters off the ground on the Old Little Belt Bridge and take in the breathtaking views of the nature park.
A major highlight of Middelfart’s journey as a constant role model and sustainable tourism pioneer is the annual Peoples Climate Festival. Every year over 15,000 people gather in Middelfart to change the world by participating in workshops, learning new sustainability methods, and coming together to act locally and think globally. In Middelfart, the future of European tourism is being made greener, more sustainable, and more cooperative with residents, visitors, flora, and fauna.
As a part of this year’s upcoming Peoples Climate Festival, Middelfart is planning to launch “Climate in Space” in collaboration with Danish artist Bjørn Vidø. This project will see a recording of interviews, music, and speeches that will be transmitted into space via satellite to use art as a unifying force for climate change. It will also share from a controlled ascent to play to display the festival from a growing distance, thereby creating what psychologists call “The overview effect”. Middelfart is showing the world how we can communicate climate change and sustainability.
Middelfart is a metropolis of effective climate change, a capital of sustainability, and a pioneer for changing the world. It is the perfect destination to see what being a sustainable tourism pioneer means, what it offers, and how tourism can be a part of the solution.
Best Practices from the 2022 EDEN competition online now!
The report “Best Practices from the 2022 EDEN Competition”, the go-to guide to sustainable tourism in the European Union, is available online. The collection of best practices has been derived from the applications the cities submitted to the 2022 European Destination of Excellence competition. The report highlights the most innovative projects, ideas, and initiatives in sustainable tourism. It aims to raise awareness about sustainable tourism tools, initiatives, and projects, sharing the best practices in tourism implemented by smaller destinations and strengthening peer-to-peer learning and innovative development of tourism.