Launched in September 2021, the new European Bauhaus promotes sustainable innovation and the marriage of beauty and everyday life. Projects and calls are aimed at everyone, especially young people. Budget for 2021-2022: 85 million euros


Culture, creativity and talent. All this to accompany the transformation for the better of the lives of European citizens and societies. An ambitious mission of the new European Bauhaus was launched on 15 September 2021 by the European Commission. In a communication, the European executive has defined this initiative, which includes a series of policy actions and funding possibilities. The project aims to accelerate the transformation of various economic sectors, such as construction and textiles, ensuring access to circular and less carbon-intensive goods for all citizens. Thus, the new European Bauhaus is fully part of the European Green Deal and adds a cultural and creative dimension to it, demonstrating how sustainable innovation can offer concrete and positive experiences for our daily lives. The EU programmes for the period 2021-2022 will allocate funds of around €85 million to finance the new European Bauhaus projects. Many other EU programmes will integrate the new European Bauhaus as a contextual or priority element, without a specific predefined budget. predefined budget.

Funding will come from various EU programmes, including the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation (in particular the Horizon Europe missions), the Life programme for the environment and climate action, and the European Regional Development Fund. In addition, the Commission will invite the Member States to consider the core values of the new European Bauhaus in their strategies for territorial and socio-economic development and to use the relevant components of their recovery and resilience plans and cohesion policy programmes to build a better future for all.

What’s cooking now

In early 2022, the Commission announced three calls to make the new European Bauhaus (Neb) reality on the ground. The support is aimed specifically at citizens, cities and municipalities to help them root the New European Bauhaus project in their communities. The first and second calls, launched by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), focus on activities involving citizens and the co-creation of public spaces with their involvement. The EIT’s Community Citizen Engagement Call invites citizens to identify challenges related to the new European Bauhaus for their cities and to collaborate in co-creating solutions. Projects will help citizens adopt more sustainable habits, develop innovative products, services or solutions, and help community members to be agents of change.

The call “Co-Creation of Public Space” will support projects aiming to find innovative solutions drawing on the themes of the new European Bauhaus. The projects invite local actors to be bearers of inspiration, beauty and sustainability through their ideas to redesign public spaces in cities, and urban and rural areas by creating new transformative solutions. The deadline for the two EIT calls is 29 May 2022 at 23:59. The third and final call, “Support to New European Bauhaus Local Initiatives“, provides technical assistance to small and medium-sized municipalities that lack the capacity or expertise to turn their Neb projects into reality. It consists of 20 conceptual projects that, based on the territory and selected under the call, will benefit from targeted field support provided by a team of interdisciplinary experts to define concepts along the lines of the New European Bauhaus and Green Deal objectives. Cohesion policy support is therefore intended to contribute to the introduction of a place-based approach to the Neb initiatives at the regional and local level and to involve public authorities in the Member States in the initiation of further New European Bauhaus projects at the national level. The knowledge and lessons learned during this process will feed into a “toolbox” for other municipalities and the general public interested in developing new projects on the ground or replicating existing New European Bauhaus projects.

The European Regional Development Fund finances technical assistance to municipalities; this can take the form of targeted methodological, technical, regulatory, financial and socio-economic advice provided by the team of field experts to support the further development of conceptual projects by municipalities, as well as a “toolbox” for future project holders. The deadline for applications expires on 23 May 2022 at 5 pm. “Citizens are the main drivers of the transition towards more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive lifestyles and places,” commented Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel. “The two calls published by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology support their full commitment to the development of innovative and collaborative models for local initiatives by offering them tailor-made opportunities. The new European Bauhaus is made by every citizen, for every citizen,” she explained.
“Cohesion policy is ideally placed to help municipalities in urban centres of up to 100,000 inhabitants to develop New European Bauhaus projects by involving local communities,” stressed Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira. “With this first call dedicated to the Neb in the framework of the Cohesion Policy we offer the technical capacity needed for high-value, multidisciplinary projects that bring sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness to the local population, hoping to inspire many more such projects in the future,” she continued.

Previous steps

We mentioned that the Commission’s communication on the establishment of the new European Bauhaus is from last September, but already in January 2021, the co-design phase of the new European Bauhaus was launched to identify and reflect on aesthetic, sustainable and inclusive solutions for living spaces and help realise the European Green Deal. In this first phase, all participants were invited to contribute to a dialogue aimed at rethinking the way we live together. Collective creation was essential and was subject to evaluation and review, evolving also in the light of the first concrete results. The first edition of the New European Bauhaus Awards wanted to celebrate these achievements by awarding prizes in ten categories, from ‘products and lifestyles’ to ‘rethought places to meet and share’. The category dedicated to the ‘rising stars of the new European Bauhaus, reserved for young people under the age of 30, aimed to support and encourage the younger generation to continue developing new ideas and challenging concepts. Then, at the beginning of the year, the Commission opened the application period for the 2022 edition of the New European Bauhaus Awards. The 2022 edition aims to bring to the fore new inspiring examples of the transformations the initiative intends to bring about in lives, the spaces in which they take place and the experiences that characterise them. Like the first edition of the New European Bauhaus Awards, the 2022 edition aims to reward young talents, their ideas and projects for sustainability, inclusivity and aesthetics aimed at bringing the European Green Deal closer to people and communities.
Nominations closed on 28 February but were open to candidates of all backgrounds and nationalities as long as their concepts, ideas and projects were developed or physically based in the EU. The awards will be given to projects and ideas that contribute to beautiful, sustainable and inclusive places, in four categories: reconnecting with nature; regaining a sense of belonging; prioritising the places and people who need it most; and stimulating long-term integrated life-cycle thinking in industrial ecosystems. The categories reflect the four thematic axes of transformation envisaged by the new European Bauhaus, and contributions will be assessed about the three core values of the initiative: sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion. The Commission wanted to encourage applications from all Member States and from around the world, provided the projects are located and the ideas implemented in the European Union. For each of the categories, there are two parallel sections: the ‘New European Bauhaus Awards’, for existing examples completed within the last two years; and the ‘Rising Stars of the New European Bauhaus’, for ideas and concepts submitted by young creatives aged 30 and under.
In addition to the 16 prizes awarded by the jury (one winner and one runner-up in each category and section), two additional winners will be selected from the most deserving entries by a public vote, making a total of 18 winners. Each will receive a cash prize of up to €30,000 and a communication package to help them further develop and promote their initiatives.

The comments

“The new European Bauhaus combines the grand vision of the European Green Deal with tangible change on the ground,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “A change that improves our daily lives and is tangible and experienceable by people: in buildings, in public spaces, but also fashion or furniture. The new European Bauhaus aims to create a new lifestyle in tune with sustainability and design excellence: a lifestyle that needs less carbon and is inclusive and accessible to all,” he stressed. “By bridging science and innovation on the one hand and art and culture on the other, and by taking a holistic approach, the new European Bauhaus will create solutions that are not only sustainable and innovative but also accessible, economically viable and life-enhancing for all of us,” stressed Commissioner Gabriel. Finally, Commissioner Ferreira stressed that “thanks to its transdisciplinary and participatory approach, the new European Bauhaus strengthens the role of local and regional communities, industries, innovators and creative minds, working together to improve our quality of life. Cohesion policy will turn new ideas into action at the local level.

So, the door has been opened and many calls have been launched: it’s up to the creative genius of Europeans, and others, to come forward.


Giulia Torbidoni – TNC

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