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Nine Sustainable Things You Will Notice In Malmö Written by on May 4, 2024

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 has been classified as a sustainable event by the organisation Greentime. Malmö’s organisational, social and ecological sustainability was assessed through 148 different requirements in order to get this certification. But what will Eurovision fans on the ground in Malmö notice about sustainable practice when they visit. Ben Robertson reports.

It has been well documented that the arrival of the Eurovision Song Contest in town can be a catalyst for encouraging a city to step up to the plate and raise its level further. In 2020, the preparations made by Rotterdam for their hosting sped up work on some regeneration of Rotterdam in and around the Rotterdam Ahoy venue. In 2023, Liverpool’s vibrant cultural programme in connection to the Eurovision Song Contest saw success both economically and with city pride, and has secured legacy funding from Arts Council England for further events in connection to Liverpool’s UNESCO music city status.

That begs the question, what is it that the Eurovision Song Contest motivates Malmö to focus on when the competition arrives. Sustainability was the choice, and while SVT’s four key words for the 2024 Song Contest are participate, rediscover, entertain and engagement, sustainability was tacked on as the fifth key word of this year’s Contest from the Malmö city perspective.

Karin Karlsson, Lead Project Manager for Malmö City at Eurovision 2024, has described sustainability as “a word that we have added and is important for us.”

“The ambition is that everything we use will be sustainable and could be reused by the city even after Eurovision is over.”

Veronika Hoffmann from the city of Malmö is sustainability co-ordinator at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. She has described the city as already being “a sustainable organisation at its core” but the drive to tie that in with the Song Contest, and to receive Greentime certification for the event, is a “stamp of quality that what we do actually works.”

But what does sustainable event planning actually look like on the ground? Before arriving in Malmö we spoke to Veronika Hoffmann in more detail to find out more about what Eurovision fans will witness when they come to Malmö.

Water, Water Everywhere

Access to water is available for all at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Tap water stations designed for easy filling up of your own water bottle will be available at several locations around the Eurovision Village and on Eurovision Street.

Tap water in Sweden is regarded as some of the best in the world, and the water in Malmö is sourced from lakes in southern Sweden before being treated ready for human consumption.

The Falafel Capital of Scandinavia

Sustainable food options are aplenty in Malmö. Not only is the city known for a multicultural plethora of food choices, there are several vegetarian, organic and vegan options around the city.

There are too many to list all of them, but the Malmö Visitor Guide for the Eurovision Song Contest lists plenty of different options. One shout out we will give in our searching is the Restaurant Spill. This is in the Hyllie district by the Malmö Arena and serves food that would otherwise go to waste, and will be open in the evening before each night of the Song Contest a short hop away.

However of all food options the one that Malmö is most famous for is the falafel. Predominately made of chickpeas, falafels are also a protein source with a low carbon footprint making it no surprise that they feature so heavily in the city’s cuisine. The love of falafel is so high in Malmö that the city has prepared a falafel map for all visitors to Eurovision.

We’ve also been tipped off that Eurovision Street, Friisgatan, has an intersection with Bergsgatan with is the part of Malmö’s city centre with the highest density of falafel destinations in town.

Skånetrafiken, Your New Best Friend

Getting around Malmö by public transport is a breeze, and also a great environmental choice. Public transport in and around the city includes emission-free buses and a local train network. While the Malmö Arena is in the out-of-town Hyllie district, it is served by a train station just a two minute walk away which will take people into the city centre in less than ten minutes.

Malmö City has negotiated with Skånetrafiken, the regional public transport network, reduced price tickets for Eurovision week. From Saturday May 4th until Sunday May 12th one can buy a transport ticket for just 350 SEK, which includes all Skånetrafiken buses and trains across the entire Skåne region. Those staying in Copenhagen can pay 700 SEK for a ticket that will include the fare for taking the train over the Öresund bridge as well as local transport on the Swedish side of the straight.

Buying these tickets takes place on the Skånetrafiken app.

Some Last Minute Glitter

The Visitors Guide for Eurovision 2024 has plenty of tips for those seeking sustainable fashion options around Malmö, including a map of all the hotspots for second hand purchases and reworked fashion pieces.

The City of Malmö events calendar for Eurovision includes numerous events in and around the city. One such event is a slow fashion market aimed at those looking for last minute glitter and glamour for their Eurovision party. Taking place inside the Eurovision Village on May 5th here you will find dresses, accessories and all the extra sparkle you need for your Eurovision experience, and doing so in a friendly way for the planet. There is also a remake corner of the market to add some much needed sparkle to your more drab garments, without needing to buy new.

Furthermore, almost all materials and fabrics used in the city branding is from pre-existing sources, and anything that has been bought has been in colour combinations and designs that the city can use again. Art projects including local schools and community groups has also been used to keep the impact of the Contest as close as possible.

600 Pairs of Helping Hands

Around 600 volunteers will be working in Malmö during Eurovision 2024, an increase on the 450 that Liverpool had last year. The volunteers speak between them 56 different languages and will be instantly recognisable by their shirts and jackets.

All of the cotton used in the volunteer’s clothing has been unbleached and are certified by Global Organic Textile Standard. The water bottles and windbreakers are using upcycled polyester and recycled metal to reduce the amount of new raw materials that organising this Eurovision Song Contest uses.

A Fairtrade City

Malmö was the first city in Sweden to be registered as a Fairtrade city, gaining the accolade in 2006. Fairtrade City designation means that Malmö City has a goal to increase the ethical consumption across the city area, as well as organise activities open to the public throughout the year to raise awareness of Fairtrade consumption.

From a practical perspective, it means that whenever Malmö city is responsible for events and activities, it means that all coffee and tea is guaranteed to be Fairtrade sourced. Furthermore, single-use products are avoided, meaning the city ensures that porcelain or reusable cups at all of their events.

Perfect to sit back and relax at fika time.

Watch Out For The Cyclists!

Malmö is a cycling city. 26 percent of journeys made in Malmö daily are made on bike, one percent more than those by public transport. The city has a superb cycling infrastructure meaning that many cycle lanes are separated from car traffic and the lack of steep hills around Skåne make cycling easy.

Bike rentals in Malmö are easy. There are bike rentals available at Malmö central station and at many hotels, as well as the Malmö by bike scheme with 1000 bikes stationed at 100 stations around the city costing 250 SEK for an entire year’s access! Maybe you will see some of this year’s artists pedalling around the city!

Malmö In Bloom

In time for Eurovision the city has planted 49,000 extra flower bulbs in and around Hyllie to brighten the area for Eurovision visitors. A 1000 square metre flower garden of tulips and camassia plants will be at Hyllie Vattenpark, with a 400 square metre roundabout in Hyllie has been decorated with flowers in a variety of colours including white, pink and apricot.

The plan is that after Eurovision these flower gardens will remain so they will be a vital nectar source for the local bee population to aid with pollination.

Eurovision Street

Friisgatan, Eurovision Street, has been designated as a summer street since 2017. Summer streets in Malmö exist normally from April to October, and designs with outdoor seating and prioritisation for pedestrians so people can enjoy the urban environment safely and more relaxed.

This year is the last year that Friisgatan will be a summer street. Over the winter the city plans to make the pedestrianisation of this street permanent. This makes the city more livable for its residents, helping its social sustainability.

Eurovision Street will be the lively route for Eurovision fans heading from Triangeln station, half way between Malmö Arena and Malmö Central Station, as they head to Eurovision Village to festivities there.

Friisgatan will be redesigned after Eurovision to become a pedestrian street all year round (Image: Malmö Stad)

As the Eurovision Song Contest passes through Malmö for the third time, the impact this megaevent will have on this city of just over 300,000 will be enormous. But the plan is that the impact and infrastructure needed for the competition will be small, and

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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