IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
July 4, 2022
Leipzig was chartered as a city in 1165, but its roots lie in the permanent settlement built by Slavic immigrants near the confluence of the Elster and Parthe rivers. By 800, it was known as 'Lipzk' (lipa = place by the linden trees). The name is apt, as Germany's fastest-growing city is still surrounded by parks, gardens and farmland, with abundant inner-city green spaces that include a forest!
Today, Leipzig is a hub of learning, culture, and international trade and transport, with a clear focus on an increasingly sustainable future. With a population of over 600,000 people, the city manages to somehow be lively, yet relaxed, with thriving traditions sitting alongside a forward-thinking, positive attitude.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
Smart and Sustainable Leipzig
Greener Ways to Get There
Leipzig/Halle airport is at Schkeuditzer Kreuz, just 18 km from Leipzig city centre, with direct flights to many major national and international cities, including Frankfurt, Istanbul, Munich, Paris and Vienna. But why not start your visit sustainably with eco-friendlier transport?
Leipzig Central Station, in the heart of the city, is the largest railway station in Europe by floor area and has an integrated shopping centre. Last year, it was ranked first in the European Railway Station Index compiled by Consumer Choice Center. The consumer protection organisation was impressed by the station's facilities and the high number of operators represented. The station's 23 tracks welcome EC, CityNightLine and DB night train connections, plus hourly ICE train services from several major German cities.
Just next door is the long-distance bus terminal, offering long-haul routes with Flixbus, RegioJet, Eurolines and Leo Express and integrated car rental facilities. There are hundreds of parking spaces at this combined transport hub, and public transport connections to take you to your final destination are right on its doorstep.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
A City of Sustainable Initiatives
Leipzig has so many sustainable initiatives that it has produced a free city map to make them easy to find! Wandelkarte Leipzig shows sustainable, social and forward-looking projects in and around Leipzig, which are also on the digital nationwide sustainability guide, 'Map of Tomorrow.'
Transport and Sustainable Urban Development
Urban Gardening and Greening
The allotment gardeners' association 'Dr. Schreber eV' was founded in Leipzig in 1864 and is the oldest allotment association in the world. Leipzig has 278 allotment garden sites with more than 39,000 plots, totalling 1,240 hectares. This forms nearly a third of Leipzig's 'green lungs,' and provides an ideal habitat for many small animals, insects and plants. Children's playgrounds at many of the sites make spending time at the allotment a family-friendly experience.
Also in Leipzig is Leipzig Grün, a communal gardening initiative that creates awareness around the benefits of urban gardening, and gets communities involved in the process from sowing to processing (and eating!) the harvest. Meanwhile, the Annelindes Garten non-profit organisation runs a community garden and is also restoring a market garden. It provides education and hands-on learning around food production, biodiversity and sustainable consumption, and acts as a platform for various sustainable initiatives including urban agriculture, recycling, urban beekeeping, composting, seasonal agriculture, cultural education, urban resilience and sustainable urban development.
North of Leipzig is KoLa Leipzig, a unique solidarity-based agriculture project that's already attracted over 1,500 members. Founded in 2021, it focuses on ecologically and socially responsible fruit and vegetable production for people from the Leipzig region. The cooperative prides itself on fair wages and the ecologically-friendly cultivation methods used on its 32 hectares of land. Members are involved in everything that happens on the farm and in the field. The farm is intended to be a place for encounters, exchange and education, making food production more tangible again for city-dwellers.
There are also schemes to encourage the improvement and enjoyment of green spaces. The Aktion Baumstarke Stadt campaign promotes donations and sponsorships for trees in public green spaces, giving citizens the chance to sponsor or plant a tree and dedicate it to something or someone they want to commemorate. Stiftung Bürger für Leipzig operates in a similar way, but rather than tree dedications, it organises the sponsorship and dedication of park benches.
Reducing Emissions and Protecting the Environment
SpinLab is an accelerator company that's certified climate-neutral, and it supports start-ups with the same goal. It takes on new companies that are developing concepts in the fields of eHealth, energy, and Smart City.
WERTvoll - VALU(E)able
This project brings together city, business and academic stakeholders to work on a cooperative land use strategy, which considers climate protection, biodiversity, water protection, value to the region, and working together in a more sustainable way.
Ökolöwe (EcoLion) Leipzig
This environmental protection organisation was founded in 1989. The organisation launched Leipzig Environment Days, hosting a programme of digital and live events concerning environmental issues every year in June. One of their recent campaigns to reduce CO2 emissions is 'Stadtradeln in Leipzig', which encourages people to cycle rather than drive.
Nature Park House Bad Düben
The NaturparkHaus is only an hour's bus ride away from Leipzig's main station and is home to interactive multimedia exhibitions and events concerning the Dübener Heide nature park. It provides information and experiences on the themes of 'Wildlife Experience', 'Homeland and Nature' and 'Climate Change', as well as recommendations for nature excursions into the local region. The popular 30-kilometre-long Heide-Biber-Tour hiking trail starts right outside the door.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
The city produces leaflets so that everyone's clear on what to do with items they no longer want, and where and how to dispose, donate or recycle them. There are also projects and venues that encourage a circular, no-waste approach. These include Restlos, a place to donate or acquire items that can be upcycled, and KrimZkrams, which has an open workshop where you can repair or upcycle items with guidance from the volunteers and a shop where upcycled items can be purchased. The venue also runs sessions on sustainability, resource conservation and upcycling. Café Kaputt has a similar mission, helping citizens repair items, hosting workshops to teach manual skills and providing education about ecological and social responsibility.
There are also a growing number of initiatives providing permanent, weatherproof lockers in public places such as parks, where unwanted items can be exchanged. Verschenkekiste (Gift Box), people can donate their unwanted items, including food, to a free shop for others to purchase, rather than buying new—and it's not the only place ensuring excess food doesn't go to waste. Crowd-funded company Fairdoppelt (Doubling Fair) collects local bread that would otherwise go to waste and uses spice mixes to produce three varieties of handmade bread chips.
Your Sustainable Stay in Leipzig
A City of Green Spaces
Parks and green spaces account for one-third of the city's footprint. Here are just a few you shouldn't miss:
Auwald (floodplain forest)
Auwald is the largest inner-city forest area of its kind in Europe, and one of the continent's most extensive floodplain forests, sitting on the floodplain of the Elster, Pleiße and Luppe rivers. This beautiful and partially protected area offers a great diversity of flora and fauna. This includes magnificent hardwood trees and endangered species like the stunning Kingfisher, whose need for clean, species-rich water means that its presence is an excellent indicator of habitat health.
IMAGE: Tom Williger
Top Five Leipzig Parks
Johanna and Clara Zetkin Park: Johanna Park is just outside the city centre; this oasis has a picturesque pond, charming bridges, and good views of the city. The park leads directly into Clara Zetkin Park, which is particularly popular for its music pavilions and large playgrounds.
Rosental Park: A large park within the forest, bordered by the Zoo Leipzig, Elstermühlgraben (mill race) and Parthe river, with wonderful flowering gardens and a romantic atmosphere. A special mention must go to the observation tower colloquially referred to as Wackelturm (Wobbly Tower). It gets its name from the way the structure shakes as you climb the steps. But well worth it for the wonderful panoramic views of Leipzig that await at the top.
Wilhem Külz Park: Located between the Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Monument to the Battle of the Nations) and the Altes Messegelände (old trade fair grounds), it offers excellent views of the impressive monument, tree-lined avenues and a lovely ornamental pool.
Lene Voigt Park: Sitting on the site of a former train station in the east of Leipzig, this park is a green escape amongst towering industrial buildings, and a great space for recreation, bordered by playgrounds and sports grounds.
Palm Garden: Two kilometres west of the city centre and in walking distance of the football stadium, this is the ideal park for peace and quiet, with a fountain and ornate pavilion.
IMAGE: Tom Williger
Leipzig, City of Lakes
Leipzig has many lakes, including those in its 'New Lakeland Area' (Neuseenland). Whether you want to go swimming, surfing or sailing, or to enjoy wildlife on the water, this city has a lake to offer you. They're all easily reachable by bike—the closest is just 30 minutes' ride away—or by public transport.
At Lake Kulkwitz, classified as having "excellent bathing water quality", scuba diving is hugely popular, and it offers an underwater forest and practice park, and a sunken aircraft. For a range of water sports, beach volleyball and family fun, head to Lake Schladitz, with its Sport Resort and water fun park.
Located on the city's southern outskirts is Lake Cospuden, which is great for sailing fans, but if you need more adrenaline, Lake Markkleeberg offers white-water rafting, power rafting, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding and hydrospeeding, with white-water facilities that attract international competitions.
At Lake Störmthal, as well as water activities, you can visit the floating island with its beautiful art church and impressive 15-metre-high tower, which commemorates the villages that were lost when open-cast lignite mining was started there. Lake Zwenkau, one of Leipzig's largest lakes, also offers something beyond watersports. Relax and enjoy the lake from the deck of the passenger ship 'Santa Barbara' or visit Cape Zwenkau, where you can play beach volleyball and soccer or learn about the fossil finds and geology of the area.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
Exploring the City of Short Distances
One way to travel in the city is via the shortest subway in the world. The 5,279 metres long Leipzig City Tunnel route has four underground stations and a ground-level stop at each end, north and south. The tunnel itself connects the Central Station in the north to Bayerischer Bahnhof in the south of the city. This route connects the airport, fairgrounds of Leipziger Messe and the city centre with surrounding cities like Halle, Bitterfeld, Altenburg, Wurzen and Eilenburg, all the way to Hoyerswerda, Oschatz and Zwickau.
Another green option is the extensive tramway run by Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB), a company that's been using 100% green electricity since the beginning of 2018. The company's 13 tram lines, together with the company's 36 bus routes, form a comprehensive transport network in the city. LVB purchased 21 electric buses last year and continue to invest in more electric vehicles alongside fast charging facilities and an improved tram service. For those rare times when public transport doesn't cover your complete route, consider LVB's Flexa service, offering hybrid taxis to join journey legs together.
If you're planning to explore the city by public transport, the Leipzig Card or the Leipzig Regio Card is a must. The Leipzig Card offers free travel on all tram, bus, S-Bahn lines and commuter trains (RE, RB, MRB) in tariff zone 110 of the MDV, free or heavily discounted admission to selected museums and exhibitions, and significant discounts on city tours, events, shopping excursions, leisure centres and boat rental. The Classic and Premium Leipzig Regio Cards offer similar benefits, but allow you to venture further, offering free bus and train travel throughout the entire Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund (MDV) network.
You can find out more by visiting:
IMAGE: Alexander Weingarten
Hike or Bike Around Leipzig
Leipzig is a compact city, so walking and cycling can often take you where you need to go and there's also plenty to explore further afield.
Hike the impressive Kriebstein Dam and the lovely Kriebstein Castle, which oozes medieval charm, or to the Wermsdorf forest, passing numerous lakes and ponds to reach Albert Tower on the Collm peak, which offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape and landmarks. Numerous other hiking routes take you through areas of natural or historical interest.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
Leipzig is so cycle-friendly that it's been chosen to host Velo-city, the world cycling summit, in June 2023.
The European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) chose Leipzig in recognition of its sustainable urban development policies and its ongoing commitment to promoting cycling. The excellent network of cycle paths includes routes through the forest and along the city's attractive waterways. Leipzig truly is a cyclist's paradise.
If you're a keen cyclist, you might like to attempt the 84 km Leipzig-Elbe Bike Trail, to the city of Torgau, which passes picturesque villages, fields and churches to Schirmentitz. From here, you can easily join Germany's most famous cycle path, the Elbe Bike trail. There’s also the 135 km Green Ring Leipzig route, which passes through idyllic villages around Leipzig such as Großpötzschau (Rötha), Sittel (Pegau) or Großlehna (Markranstädt). It connects to other cycle routes such as the Elster, Elster-Saale , Parthe-Mulde, and the New Lakeland trails.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
For shorter rides, travel through beautiful orchards on the Obstland (fruitland) route or around the lakes on the New Lakeland trail. You can also explore the city's industrial history on the Coal-Steam-Light route or follow the famous Mulderadweg path through the floodplains to see the historic Buch Abbey and Mildenstein Castle.
Several companies offer bicycle rental, including Nextbike, a Leipzig-based market leader in station-based bike rental, operating in over 300 cities. Some also offer e-bikes, which are increasingly popular with Leipzig's visitors and citizens. There's a growing number of charging stations available, both at bike stations and at visitor attractions such as Leipzig Zoo and Leipzig Trade Fair.
If walking or cycling makes you thirsty, you may find one of the city's increasing number of fresh drinking water fountains close by, ensuring refreshment without the need to buy a plastic bottle! Citizens are regularly asked to vote on where new fountains should be sited.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
Leipzig by Car or Boat
If you do need a car, easy car-sharing and rental (including e-cars) is available through teilAuto, nextmove and cityflitzer. The network of electric charging stations is constantly expanding and there are already hundreds of charging stations in Leipzig so that you can hire an electric car with confidence.
You can also explore Leipzig via its many waterways. It's not nicknamed 'Little Venice' for nothing, and actually has more bridges than Italy's famous canal city: a grand total of 457!
Hire a canoe or paddleboard or tretboot for a less strenuous riverboat tour. Explore the beauty of Leipzig from the Karl-Heine-Canal, with its 15 bridges, and discover the city's charming harbour and beaches.
Plan Your Journey
Not sure of the best or cheapest way to make your journey? Just turn to the LeipzigMOVE app, which shows you all your options—bus, train, taxi, bike, and car sharing—in one place, allowing you to compare prices and book tickets. For a small monthly fee, LeipzigMOVE+ saves you 50% on the purchase of short-distance, extra and single tickets.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
A City of Culture and Art
Leipzig has been viewed as a major cultural hub for centuries, but sustainable forward-thinking has crept into this area of city life too. Disused industrial buildings have been given a new lease of life as centres for arts and culture.
Spinnerei was once the largest cotton spinning mill in Europe, but today it's home to over 100 artists' studios and eleven galleries and exhibition spaces, forming the centre of the Leipzig art scene. It also houses a cinema and several theatres! Sustainable initiatives here include PV panels that power EV charging stations. Tapetenwerk, a former wallpaper factory, is now a space for creating, co-working and exhibiting, used by artists, designers and handicraft markers, while Kunstkraftwerk, a former heating plant, has been transformed into a centre for digital and contemporary art and culture, featuring spectacular 360° immersive audiovisual projections, art exhibitions, live music events and digital and multimedia shows. Furthermore, the Panometer Leipzig, formerly a gas storage building dating back to 1910, has been hosting 360° panoramas erected by the artist Yadegar Asisi since 2003, with the size of the building ensuring that it's a completely immersive experience.
Urban gardening in the form of allotments isn't new in this region, and the German Allotment Gardener's Museum documents 200 years of allotment gardening, a practice
that began in 1814 when Pastor H. F. Chr. Schröder divided pastoral land into parcels and leased them to gardeners.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
Judged to be the second-best zoo in Europe by zoo expert Anthony Sheridan, Zoo Leipzig is committed to species conservation. It is involved in nearly 80 breeding programmes worldwide, including cranes, crocodiles, tigers and wolves. Thanks to the zoo's reintroduction projects, the eagle owl, little owl, Przewalski's horse and sable antelope have been reintroduced to their original habitats.
However, it also offers a fantastic day out, with themed areas, a boat trip through the Gondwanaland tropical hall, and an area where you can meet and stroke some of the zoo's tamer inhabitants, and plenty of places to eat and drink. There are also exciting children's playgrounds, including the Bärenburg playground, with its three-headed dragon. Bears were once kept in this area; the historic building is listed, and you can take a tour of the old indoor bear enclosures and learn how the zoo's animal husbandry practices have changed.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
Wildpark Leipzig is a beautiful 42-hectare forest space that is home to around 250 wild animals and 25 animal species from Central Europe, with playgrounds, numerous walking and cycle trails, and two restaurants.
Bürgerbahnhof Plagwitz is a multi-purpose, child-friendly activity space developed on the site of an old loading station, with green space, herb gardens, a beehive, bike and game rental, a construction playground, a scout area, neighbourhood gardens and an orchard. There's also a café named 'Heiter bis Wolkig', which is run by locals. It's a great place to sit and relax or listen to local DJs.
Spielplatz Clara Zetkin Park has extensive play areas, including slides, climbing towers, swings, crawling tubes, roundabouts and sandpits, all surrounded by trees and meadows. In summertime, the water games are hugely popular with children of all ages.
Parkeisenbahn at Lake Auensee is a 1.9-kilometre miniature railway that stretches around Lake Auensee, operated by youthful volunteers. The main station offers a snack bar, and there are three other stops on the rail route, allowing you to explore other areas around the lake.
Sticker Safari Leipzig is an app created by Leipzig-based company Droid Solutions as part of the innovation competition 'Smart City Challenge Leipzig 2021'. It allows families to go on a digital scavenger hunt, searching the city for animals that have escaped Leipzig Zoo and learning about Leipzig through quizzes, texts, audio, pictures and augmented reality.
IMAGE: Tom Williger
Unique and Sustainable Accommodation in Leipzig and Leipzig Region
Selected Hotels and Motels
Garden Eden Hostel
This unique Art-Hostel in the Lindenau district has a mix of ensuite rooms, non-ensuite rooms and dormitories, and each room has been designed by a different local artist. There's also
a beautiful garden cultivated by the owners.
This idyllically located and historically rich boutique hotel in Leipzig city centre is a truly unique play to stay. There is no spa, no minibar or even a gym. But what it lacks in mod cons, it makes up for in natural and sustainable charm and a delicious regional breakfast!
At PHILIPPUS Leipzig, inclusion is lived as a core principle and the focus is very much on diversity. Here, people with and without impairments work together on an equal footing. The hotel's unique concept breathes new life into a historic church complex and offers the very best of German transformative progress and hospitality.
Hotel Michaelis (GreenSign Level 3)
The Hotel Michaelis is a beautifully restored 19th-century building just south of the city centre, with a restaurant and apartments also on the site. The group is dedicated to social and ecological sustainability, and the support of charitable and environmental projects.
Regionality, seasonality, resource conservation and the reduction of the use of plastic is key, and the hotel uses green electricity.
The IntercityHotel Leipzig is conveniently located close to the main station. It holds the environmental ISO14001 certification and provides 166 comfortable hotel rooms. It offers a free public transport ticket for every guest, and a safe home—thanks to six beehives on its roof—to 180,000 bees. Guests can enjoy the organic honey at breakfast and buy a jar to take home.
Meisterzimmer at Spinnerei
The Spinnerei offers four very stylish, well-lit, spacious and uniquely decorated accommodation units, with kitchen facilities and workspace. The Meisterzimmer (master rooms) are located directly in the former cotton mill area with its great industrial architecture.
Motel One Leipzig
The Motel One group has three hotels in Leipzig's city centre, all offering stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi. Motel One has been following its sustainability programme, 'One Planet, One Future,' since 2015. This comprehensively covers environmental and social sustainability goals, benefitting visitors and employees, and the group's non-profit One Foundation is committed to promoting and funding social and societal equal opportunities.
IMAGE: Kurbetriebsgesellschaft Dübener Heide mbH
Camping and Alternative Accommodation
If you're looking for something different than a hotel, Leipzig offers a great variety of other options.
There are plenty of campsites for tents or campervans around Leipzig, many of which are near the city's beautiful lakes. At Camp David resort on Lake Schladitz, you can sleep in your own tent or hire one of the resort's large and luxurious tent-houses.
Or why not stay at the beautiful Marienthal Monastery in Sornzig? Built in 1241, it was a Cistercian monastery for 300 years. The rooms in this lovely building offer scenic views of the monastery gardens and the woodland beyond. Stunning views are also guaranteed if you stay in one of the tree houses at the Tree House Hotel at the Kriebstein Dam. Reached via stairs or a footbridge, each charming tree house is unique, and sits between 3-20 metres above the ground.
To get even closer to the outdoors, you can sleep in a wooden barrel on the beach at Bad Düben or in a beach basket—basically a bed in a basket with a waterproof foldable canopy! – at Lake Störmthal. You can also stay in a shepherd's wagon at the Wyhra Story Farm Museum, or in a circus wagon at the Forest House near Thümmlitzwald.
IMAGE: Szymon Nitka - Znajkraj
Sustainable Gastronomy in Leipzig
Leipzig's markets are a great place to buy locally-produced foods and there are 15 weekly markets across the city. The most popular is the market in the city centre's market square, held every Tuesday and Friday.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Then try Sornziger Wilden's jams, made from rare wild fruit varieties such as rowan berries, or delicious handmade chocolates from the Goethe Chocolaterie and the Chocolaterie Praetsch. Of course, you can't come to Leipzig and not eat a sweet pastry, so try the Leipziger Lerche (Leipzig lark cake), which has been produced by the Kleinert bakery for over 70 years. This delicious pie pastry was created after the official ban on the hunting of songbirds in 1876.
Try the savoury treats from certified bread maker Ricardo Fischer or the Eilenburg Truffle Hunters, or baked goods from Seidel's monastery bakery, which became the first bakery in Central Germany to be certified as a 'SlowBaking Bakery' in 2009. This means using only natural, locally-produced ingredients and long-term and pre-dough processing techniques.
For meat and dairy eaters, smoked Wermsdorf fish is a must, and you should also try speciality cheeses from the Bennewitz dairy farm, or goat's milk and meat products from Caprinenhof.
If you like to see where your food is coming from, take a guided 'cross-field' tour, visiting the historical sites of Sornzig (including the monastery garden where the fruits for the Sornziger Wilde products are grown), enjoy a picnic with local foods and then visit Caprinenhof, where you can meet a shepherd, his goats, and his shepherd dog Kalle.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
Fela's motto is, "Good food, good people." The restaurant uses high quality, seasonal and unusual ingredients and offers a good range of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
The friendly Frieda restaurant has recently been awarded a Michelin star for the second year running and its first Michelin Green Star for its sustainable practices. Local and seasonal produce is used, with vegetables supplied by the restaurant's own farm, and there's a complete alternative vegetarian menu to enjoy alongside the restaurant's standard offering.
Macis is all about natural, organic food, carefully cooked, with no additives or preservatives. Enjoy a relaxed meal in the restaurant, where handcrafted and recycled materials feature heavily in the décor, or drop into the market hall for
fast but natural food. The company also runs an organic supermarket, bakery,
The focus is on local, high-quality produce. Chef Torsten Hempel visits the city centre market every Tuesday and Friday to purchase the best the region has to offer and believes "Quality is not a luxury, but the basis."
Everything on Zest's imaginative menu is free from animal products, and freshly cooked or prepared in the kitchen. The homemade lemonades and unusual juices like cucumber and spinach add a novel and tasty twist.
IMAGE: Tom Williger
At this café, "drinking coffee" is seen as a real cause for celebration. This modern coffee house near St. Thomas' Church is run by a dedicated team of passionate coffee lovers and is the perfect place to wind down and take a moment to enjoy the lively atmosphere of Leipzig's city centre. The single-origin raw coffee is freshly roasted in the Brühbar speciality roastery in Leipzig according to Scandinavian principles.
At Café Mule, which adjoins the open bakery where its products are made, dough is given time to rest and rise, and everything is natural. Flour is sourced from a local miller who grinds flour from local grain in the traditional way, and no artificial additives are used to make the bakery's delicious sourdough bread, cakes and pastries.
This café uses regional ingredients where possible, and although meat dishes are available, there is a strong focus on vegetarian and vegan breakfasts and lunches, and special vegan dinners are sometimes served in the evenings.
At this ice cream parlour, ice-creams and sorbets are handmade on the premises from high-quality ingredients, and vegan versions (and drinks) are available.
Sustainability is key here, where the motto is: "Life is too short for bad coffee." There's an emphasis on local ingredients and handmade dishes, and the coffee is produced by the in-house roaster; you can even have a custom roast made.
Tonis handmade organic ice cream
TONIS ice cream is handmade, regionally produced, and certified organic. No artificial flavourings or colourings are used, and ingredients are purchased from local producers wherever possible.
A vegan snack bar offering a wide range of dishes, including vegan kebabs, currywurst, burger, organic fries, steak and gyros.
A café housed in a green circus caravan, serving delicious, organic, vegetarian and vegan cakes and savouries. Perfect if you forgot to pack your picnic.
IMAGE: Leipziger Messe
The Perfect City for Your Green Meeting or Convention
Leipzig has successfully hosted many major sustainable conferences, including the annual convention of the Eurocities network at the KONGRESSHALLE (Congress Hall) at Leipzig Zoo in 2021, Ökofete, central Germany's largest environmental fair, in the Clara Zetkin Park in 2021, and the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3), focusing on 'Resilience & Sustainability", in 2019 at Leipziger Messe (Leipzig Trade Fair). The city—with its own wealth of experience to share in creating and maintaining lakes and waterways —will host the World Canals Conference at the KONGRESSHALLE in June 2022.
IMAGE: Leipziger Messe
Planning Your Sustainable Business Event in Leipzig
Venues and Catering
The Leipziger Messe Corporate Group hosts around 270 congresses every year and runs two of Leipzig's key venues, The Congress Center Leipzig (CCL) and the KONGRESSHALLE at Zoo Leipzig. It also runs subsidiaries within the convention sector to provide a complete event service. They include fairgourmet Catering and FAIRNET, which supplies construction elements and equipment for trade stands and exhibition halls. Leipziger Messe was the first German trade fair company to be certified according to Green Globe standards, and in 2021, it received the Green Globe seal for the eleventh time in a row, recognising its adherence to internationally recognised social, ecological and economic sustainability criteria.
The Congress Center Leipzig
Congress Center Leipzig (CCL) is part of the Leipziger Messe Trade Fair Exhibition and Convention Centre, offering customised support and event-related services of any size. There are 23 halls and rooms, some of which can be combined, including Exhibition Hall 2 (accommodating up to 5,500 people) and the Glass Hall (accommodating up to 4,500 people).
The KONGRESSHALLE – Congress Hall at Zoo Leipzig
Within walking distance of the city centre, the KONGRESSHALLE is a modern, well-equipped conference centre in a historic building, offering 15 halls and rooms plus foyers and lounges for groups anywhere from 10 to 1,200 participants.
Fairgourmet uses local products wherever it can, and most of the importers it uses are within 100 km. It also favours organic ingredients, and all the coffee it serves is certified organic. Sustainability goes beyond the food itself and extends to serving. Whenever possible, reusable tableware is used. For take-away-offers, cutlery is made of cellulose, and dishes for snacks and soups are made of a sugarcane-based material. The use of innovative materials, which can be destructive, is another factor that makes any meeting and event green.
Other sustainable venues include:
KUBUS at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, with seven rooms and a total capacity for 450 people, is EMAS-certified.
The QUARTERBACK Immobilien ARENA, offering the arena to accommodate 12,300 people and the Backstage Club, which accommodates 300. The Arena is home to millions of honeybees.
Zoo Leipzig, with 8 meeting and event spaces and a total capacity for 15,000 people (and, of course, the added attraction of the animals!), and is certified with the coveted EMAS label.
The Westin Leipzig
The Westin was the first hotel in Saxony to be recognised as a Certified Green Hotel and has an ETIC Gold certification. Just a short distance from the central station, it has a 4,000 sqm event area with more than 50 conference rooms and the latest conference technology.
IMAGE: Porsche Leipzig GmbH
The Porsche Leipzig automobile plant offers a novel and visually striking event venue with meeting rooms, lounges, a gallery, and a 500-seater auditorium space. Porsche is committed to making its operations more sustainable. The plant uses innovative energy-saving technologies, and its rooftop photovoltaic installation generates up to 800,000 kWh of electricity annually.
The natural landscape around the plant is home to 27 wild horses, 75 aurochs and 3 million honeybees living in 50 hives, and a tree-planting programme for 1,100 new trees is currently underway.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
Leipzig's Sustainable Strategies for the Future
So, what is Leipzig's vision for an even more sustainable future? One thing is certain: it's a shared future. 'Leipzig weiter denken' (Thinking Leipzig Further) is an initiative to gather citizens' ideas on sustainable urban development in various ways and to ensure citizens are enabled to work with politicians and scientists to find solutions. Opinions gathered in the 'Leipzig 2030: On the way to a sustainable city' project were used to inform INSEK, the- Integrated Urban Development Concept for Leipzig 2030.
Urban Development Concept
The aim of this Urban Development Concept is for Leipzig to be a progressive, competitive European city where all residents feel welcome, development is inclusive, disadvantages are reduced and the economy thrives, creating more long-term employment. This concept links to both the Smart City Leipzig initiative and the New Leipzig Charta (New Urban Agenda).
Smart City Leipzig
The Smart City Leipzig initiative leads a continuous, comprehensive innovation process including both digital transformation and non-technical objectives to improve society. It also holds the Smart City Challenge Leipzig innovation competition, in which founders, start-ups, students and established companies are invited to find innovative digital solutions for given municipal and civil society issues. Three solutions are selected for each issue, and the creators are given funding and the opportunity to develop their ideas further with the city administration. The best of the three concepts is then tested and implemented in practice.
IMAGE: Andreas Schmidt
New Leipzig Charta
The New Leipzig Charta, adopted in 2020, is subtitled 'transformative power of cities for the common good'. It calls for cities to have a more substantial role in decision making at both national and EU level and to receive adequate financial means to deal with new and essential competencies. It also sets out a framework for ideal urban development: the 'design of a resilient city' that’s fair, green and productive, achieved by using digitalisation, participation, and co-operation between all stakeholders and levels of governance.
Leipzig’s Mobility Strategy 2030 sets out how the city aims to provide more safe, sustainable, reliable and affordable mobility, while addressing the needs of public transport, motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. As regards cycling and walking, it focuses on increasing road safety and expanding the infrastructure, while the goal for public transport is to expand the network and increase the demand-oriented transport offer. An accompanying implementation framework plan details the timetable of specific actions to achieve these goals, and a planned expansion of the tram network will be key to improving public transport.
The Straßenbahn (Tram) Leipzig 2035 plan will deliver nine new lines, extra tracks at the main station and other vital points, more passing tracks, more passenger shelters at tram stops, improved infrastructure, and both new and expanded park-and-ride and bike-and-ride facilities.
The Promenade Ring, Leipzig’s inner city ring road, is set to become a symbol of the city’s transformation to more sustainable mobility. The road, which carries four to six lanes of traffic around the city centre, will see some lanes converted to bicycle lanes, while some sections will be entirely closed to everyone except cyclists and pedestrians.
Leipzig is also part of the EU Smart City project ‘Triangulum’, which is also concerned with developing concepts for more sustainable, efficient, technologically advanced, future-proof and socially inclusive cities. As part of the project, innovative measures for a sustainable energy supply will be developed and tested in new and existing neighbourhoods in Leipzig by 2024.
IMAGE: Philipp Kirschner
City Vision Leipzig 2050
Looking even further into the future, City Vision Leipzig 2050, which has been updated this year, looks at the city’s aspirations for the year in which it should achieve carbon-neutrality, and what this new, greener city will look like in terms of housing, mobility, urban society, energy and digitalisation. It is a vision of a smart city where everything is much more connected by smart thinking, meaning nothing is wasted. For example, it imagines a comprehensive and optimised energy management system producing large amounts of data, which is processed in underground data centres—from which the water heat generated is taken and used productively.
Sustainable Development and Climate Protection
In July 2020, the City of Leipzig set up the 'Sustainable Development and Climate Protection' department. This department has centralised the management of the City’s sustainability and climate actions. It’s taken responsibility for developing the energy and climate protection concept in the INSEK 2030 and updating the Energy and Climate Protection Programme (EKSP) 2030 into the Leipzig Climate Protection and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (Leipzig Climate Plan).
The department also raises awareness of, and very much shapes, the City’s sustainability actions and those of external partners (e.g., the city's climate protection fund), and coordinates committee work (e.g., the Sustainable Leipzig Forum, Sustainable Leipzig Advisory Council, INSEK working group).
IMAGE: Dieter Grundmann
A City that Shines Brightly
Leipzig may not be one of the EU's Lighthouse Cities, but it is a chosen Follower City, and burns brightly all by itself. Its existing infrastructure made it ideal to be one of the ten German venues chosen to host the UEFA Euro 2024. Sustainability will be a guiding theme of the tournament; there will be no new stadiums built, 50,000 trees will be planted in every host city, and most of the energy requirements will be met by renewable energy.
But Leipzig shines most brightly at its own annual Festival of Lights. Every year on the 9th October, Leipzig commemorates the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 with the Festival of Lights, organised by Leipzig Tourism and Marketing (LTM). The aim is to make this event increasingly sustainable, and in 2021, it featured the art project ‘Ring’, which was designed with recycled materials. This was a 3-metre high dynamically illuminated rotunda that visitors could walk through. It was covered on the inside with 450 reflecting balloons that reflected both the light of the video production and the visitors.
The candle is the primary symbol of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, but candles aren’t usually sustainable. So, for the last two years, LTM has worked with the Natürlicht start-up, which provides candles made entirely from natural, raw, regional materials. They contain no aluminium, plastics or paraffin oil, and can be recycled after use.
This eco-friendly change perfectly symbolises what Leipzig is all about: upholding its traditions and its history while working to ensure a more sustainable future. And in that arena, Leipzig burns very brightly indeed.
Discover what makes Leipzig a sustainability frontrunner and the perfect destination for your next eco-conscious holiday or event by visiting:
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