Cyclists in Leuven , Source: City of Leuven

Leuven and Elva named Best European City and Town for Sports in 2021

Leuven and Elva named Best European City and Town for Sports in 2021

After years of work, both local governments can rejoice at their newfound notoriety as sports hotspots in Europe

On 15 October, Leuven in Belgium was named with the prestigious title Best European City for Sport in 2021. The Best European Town for Sport, on the other hand, is Elva in Estonia.

These titles are handed out every year by Aces Europe, the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation. The prestigious awards are the result of years of development and investment into providing sports infrastructure with broad appeal.

Five years ago, Belgium's Antwerp was named the European Capital of Sport and saw a 10% increase in the number of people getting regular exercise, making the award a benefit to the health of the citizens.

Leuven – progressive sports city

According to Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, Leuven combines a progressive sports offer, with more classic facilities like pools and sports centres per inhabitant than any other Belgian city. At the same time, they put a heavy emphasis on sports cooperation and innovation via a beneficial collaboration with the local University, KU Leuven.

Johan Geleyns, the Alderman of Sports, explained that the award comes at a great time, as the city has been heavily investing in sports for years. He sees the future as particularly bright with the planned 54-million-euro investment into the sector.

Leuven can be proud of the highest portion of people doing sports activates at least once a week in Flanders – 54%. No less than 82% are satisfied with the sports facilities, and that puts it in second place in the province. The city hopes to use the momentum from the award to bring that number even higher.

Elva – the sportiest local government in Estonia

The town of Elva has a history of winning sports competitions, as in 2019 they were named the sportiest local government in Estonia. Now, they tried to grab that recognition on the European level and the authorities compiled an application book, outlining all the previous and future sports projects they are hosting.

Elva's deputy mayor Marika Saar explained that the town combines beautiful nature with a focused approach from the local government, which helps turn it into a popular place to do sports. 




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