Rotterdam named world's top sustainable city in 2023 index

Rotterdam named world's top sustainable city in 2023 index

ROTTERDAM, 24 May 2023 – A new development in the world of sustainable travel has put Rotterdam at the forefront. The city has been identified as the leading global destination in the 2023 City Index for Mindful Travellers, curated by travel search engine KAYAK.

Kayak City Index

In the aim of aiding travellers in making informed and sustainable choices, KAYAK's City Index for Mindful Travellers has been published as an interactive guide. The index facilitates the consideration of sustainability aspects when planning a journey. This guide includes factors such as airport CO2 accreditation, local transport options, and air quality.

The index comprises popular city destinations worldwide and has analysed 167 cities in 63 countries based on 28 factors. This comprehensive evaluation allows travellers to make more informed decisions about their trips. Furthermore, the results of the Index can be personalised and filtered according to the factors travellers deem most important.

Why Rotterdam and Amsterdam lead the pack

Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Graz form the top three cities in KAYAK's index. Rotterdam achieved a perfect score of 100, marking it as the prime destination for sustainable travellers. This recognition is attributed to the city's advanced CO2 management system at the airport, certified by the Airport Carbon Accreditation, a significant number of affordably priced accommodations qualified by's Sustainable Travel programme, and the city's efficient public transport and impressive network of cycle paths.

Amsterdam, with a score of 93, secured the second position. The city is renowned for its bike-friendly nature and car-free streets, along with good options for environmentally friendly rental cars and ample EV charging points. Graz in Austria is the third-ranked city, scoring 91 thanks largely to its excellent train system, numerous EV charging points, and a car-free UNESCO World Heritage city centre.

Acknowledging the achievement

Peer Bueller, Chief Financial Officer at KAYAK, expressed his admiration for the Netherlands' performance in this international ranking. He stated, “It is impressive to see the Netherlands emerge as a leader in this international ranking. We perform well amid fierce competition across Europe. This achievement is the result of years of effort by the Netherlands to promote responsible travel. Travellers can now reap the benefits when exploring Dutch cities”.

The complete top 10 list

According to KAYAK's City Index for Mindful Travellers, the top 10 cities are:

  1. Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Graz, Austria
  4. Trondheim, Norway
  5. Munich, Germany
  6. Helsinki, Finland
  7. Stockholm, Sweden
  8. Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Gothenburg, Sweden
  10. Vienna, Austria.

Sustainable travel beyond Europe

While the Netherlands and Europe are performing exceptionally in the rankings, it does not imply that the rest of the world should be overlooked by conscious travellers. Several notable mentions across regions include Vancouver in Canada, commended for its air quality; Tokyo in Japan for its local markets, theatres, and art galleries, often accessible only on foot or by designated cycling paths; Santiago in Chile, recognised for the largest drop in flight prices in the off-season and excellent CO2 management at the airport; and Tunis in Tunisia, leading in the Middle East and Africa, offering many close-knit markets for second-hand goods, thereby immersing travellers in local culture while supporting the local economy.

Directions to Rotterdam

For those interested in visiting and experiencing the sustainable city of Rotterdam first-hand, the city is conveniently located and easily accessible from various parts of the Netherlands and Europe. Rotterdam's advanced public transportation system, including trains, trams, and buses, makes it easy to navigate the city. The city is also known for its extensive cycling paths, perfect for those who prefer to explore on two wheels.

The city's general area is marked by its modern architecture, bustling port, and numerous green spaces, offering a unique blend of urban development and sustainability. Rotterdam is home to the world-renowned Erasmus University and several museums, including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal, adding to the cultural richness of the area.

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