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European parks scoop record breaking number of Green Flag Awards

A record breaking number of public parks, gardens and green spaces across Europe have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award.

30 winners from eight countries were announced today, including; Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

The Green Flag Award is managed internationally by Keep Britain Tidy and a network of partners who deliver the program nationally. 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Award. Originating in England in 1996 – winners now fly Green Flag Award flags over more than 2,000 parks and green spaces in 16 countries around the world.

The Palmarium at Jardin des Plants (Botanic Garden), NantesI
Image 1: The Palmarium at Jardin des Plantes, Nantes

This year also marks the first that France has won Awards – all three in the City of Nantes: major tourist destination the Nantes Botanical Garden, intricate Japanese garden the Isle de Versailles and exhibition rose garden Parc Floral de la Beaujoire.

And another major world city to join the program was Istanbul, who achieved two awards for the former palace grounds; Yildiz Park and much loved neighbourhood green space; Goztepe 60th Year Park.

Judging underway at Goztepe 50 Year Park in Istanbul 
Image 2: Judging underway at Goztepe 60 Year Park in Istanbul

prof. Dr. Yasin Cagatay Seckin - Head of Department of Parks, Gardens and Green Areas in Istanbul said:

“Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is thrilled to achieve the Green Flag Award for the very first time. It gives us the endorsement that we are managing our parks and green spaces to an international standard. And our department, as “Green Istanbul”, is determined to protect and increase the value of our green spaces in the future for our residents.”

In the Netherlands – Máximapark in the City of Utrecht impressed the judges with the innovative ‘Parkberaad’ (Park Association) model – where municipal and community representatives get equal say in how the park is managed and developed. Award-winning urban design and landscape architecture West 8 were the winners of a design competition for the park in 1997. The park was been built in stages from 2007 onwards and spans many years of continuous involvement with stakeholders, municipality and community representatives.

The Vlinderhof in Maximapark Utrecht - designed by Piet Oudolf and planted by volunteers 
Image 3: The Vlinderhof - designed by Piet Oudolf as part of the overall landscape design by West 8.
Planted by volunteers from the community.

Noortje Voulon - Neighbourhood Advisor for Gemeente Utrecht said:

We are extremely proud of having received the Green Flag Award as one of the first parks in the Netherlands. We will continue to work together to maintain our high standards and make the Maximapark even more attractive for the community”

In Belgium, the program is managed by environmental charity Good Planet Belgium. Despite only being introduced to the country recently – winners continue to grow, reaching a total of eight this year from only one in 2018.

Anna Leonard – Green Flag Award co-ordinator for Good Planet Belgium said:

“It’s great to see more parks and green spaces in Belgium receiving international recognition and benefiting from the Award. The criteria really fit in with our agenda of tackling climate change, reducing environmental impact and working more closely with communities – and is why we think it’s so beneficial to park managers.”

This year two new unique and interesting sites from Portugal also joined the ranks:

Staff pose for a selfie during their judging visit at LIPOR Adventure Park and Eco-Trail 
Image 4: Staff pose for a selfie with judges during their assessment visit at LIPOR Adventure Park and Eco-Trail

The Porto Adventure Park and Eco-Trail, was created on a former landfill site of the city. The park was developed and is still managed and maintained by international municipal waste specialists LIPOR. The company welcomes more than fifty thousand visitors each year to explore and enjoy green space whilst learning about waste and recycling. In its first year it also won the Special Award for Innovation for its work on waste, recycling and the environment.

Jardim do Monte Latito in Guimaraes houses three famous national monuments: Guimarães Castle, the Church of St. Miguel and the Ducal Palace of the Bragança. The gardens form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Status afforded to the historic city centre since 2001.

The entrance to Jardim do Monte Latito is watched over by the statue of Afonso I of Portugal 
Image 5: The entrance to Jardim do Monte Latito is watched over by the statue of Afonso I of Portugal

Portugal was also recognised as the first country outside of the UK and Ireland to achieve Green Heritage Site Accreditation for Jardim do Passeio Alegre, managed by Porto City Municipality – who also won an Award for Parque da Cidade.

Green Heritage is an additional accreditation that reviews the treatment of the site’s historic features and their standards of conservation. It is supported in England by Historic England.

Green Heritage Site Accreditation logo

A full list of the winners and a global map can be found on the homepage of the Green Flag Award website:

Carl McClean - International Development Manager for the Green Flag Award said:

“Well done to everyone who has achieved a Green Flag Award this year. It’s testament to the hard work of the staff, management and volunteers who kept parks and green spaces going through challenging times and made them such important places every year – and especially so through the coronavirus pandemic.”


Earlier in the year Finland celebrated 11 winners, and the UK – where the Award program originated - an impressive 2,127.

Ireland are due to make their formal announcement of winners next week on the 17th November, and it is expected that when Australia and New Zealand announce later in the year the total number of global Green Flag Award winners will exceed 2,300.

The involvement of France brings the total number of countries where Green Flag Award is delivered to 16 – firmly establishing it as the most widely recognised accreditation programme for parks and green spaces in the world.


Current country figures are included below, some of which reflect last year’s figures where 2021 results are still to be announced:









2020 figure


























New Zealand


2020 figure






Republic of Ireland


2020 figure














United Arab Emirates




United Kingdom




United States of America












The Green Flag Award® is a non-profit international accreditation programme that recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces. Originating in England in 1996 - today the Green Flag Award proudly flies above more than 2,000 places in 16 countries around the world.

To find out more in general, or apply for an Award, whichever country you are based in; please feel free to explore our website and get in touch.

If you know of a park or a country not yet involved in the Green Flag Award that might be interested, please Contact Us