Smart Cities: Gothenburg, Sweden

A global leader in workable green solutions, Gothenburg puts sustainability into practice for the public good.

Innovation drives Gothenburg, Sweden’s forward-thinking second city. Named No. 1 for sustainability and innovation in the 2017 Global Sustainability Index of world cities, Gothenburg rapidly is rolling towards a low carbon economy. Low-emission zones for heavy vehicles, cars fueled by renewable biogas, and waste-fueled heat and power plants are but a few of the city’s globally advanced green solutions.

Helping power Gothenburg’s innovation engine are homegrown brands, such as Volvo, founded in Gothenburg in 1927 and a world leader in safety and sustainability. Volvo’s DriveMe, the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project on public roads, began rolling out in Gothenburg in 2017. Emission-free Volvo buses glide along Route 55 in ElectriCity, the sustainable transport demonstration project and launching pad for startups like Nxplore, a location-based mobile app showing passengers what’s available at upcoming bus stops. Experience the Gothenburg green life by taking a Route 55 electric bus between the city’s innovation epicenters: Lindholmen Science Park and Johanneberg Science Park.

Sustainable Sustenance

Gothenburg boasts a bounty of Krav-certified restaurants. The coveted Krav label ensures food production is economically, organically, and socially sustainable. At Krav-certified Taverna Averna sustainability is top of mind and on top of the building—a rooftop garden supplies organic vegetables for many house recipes. Urban farming at Gothia Tower’s gourmet Upper House includes beehives, producing honey and honeycombs for the restaurant’s breakfast, dessert, and cocktail menus. Tuesday to Saturday, make a pilgrimage to Gabriel at Gothenburg’s Neo-gothic Feskekôrka, or “fish church,” for sustainably harvested local seafood: Think large and meaty Swedish oysters or fried herring with mashed potatoes and lingonberry.

Designed for Comfort

Artsy Avalon, Sweden’s first Feng Shui-certified hotel, combines a sleek and minimal Scandinavian aesthetic with splashes of color and original Swedish art, such as photography, paintings, murals. May to September, plunge into the free-hanging end of the glass rooftop pool for submerged views of the city below. Bask in the sumptuously rich Old World-surroundings—like silk and velvet textiles, plush couches, and lavishly patterned wallpaper—at Hotel Pigalle, a 19th-century Parisian-inspired luxury oasis housed in an 18th-century building. Three central Gothenburg Scandic properties—Crown, Europa, and No. 25—meet stringent Nordic Swan Ecolabel standards for environmental, climate, and sustainability practices.

<p>Buses cruise through Gothenburg, along one of the canals.</p>

Buses cruise through Gothenburg, along one of the canals.

Photograph by Brad Smith | Isi Photos

Ride and Roll

Get a behind-the-scenes view under the hood and into the ground-breaking technologies of the latest Volvo Cars, (such as the new XC60, named 2018 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year) at the Volvo Cars Visitor Centre in Torslanda. Roll through the production process on a factory tour. See classic Volvos and a life-size Volvo XC90 built with LEGO bricks at the Volvo Museum. Learn about the innovative safety features powering Volvo Vision 2020, which states that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020. Continue the transportation theme by renting a bike for a city-to-sea ride on the Säröbanan rail trail.

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Buy Local

Stock up on fashionably functional Swedish wardrobe essentials like jeans, chinos, T-shirts, and jackets from family owned Dr. Denim, the breakout apparel brand founded by two Gothenburg brothers in 2004. Stroll the cobbled streets of hip-and-historic Haga to score retro Scandinavian home furnishings, fabrics, jewelry and other vintage finds at antique stores such as Bebop Antik and Fåfängans Antik. While you’re in the neighborhood, pop into Bräutigams, a Gothenburg confectionery tradition since 1870, for a box of artisanal chocolates, marzipan, pralines, truffles, or other handmade sweets.

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