Velenje (Slovenia)

With its 36,000 inhabitants, Velenje is the sixth largest city in Slovenia, located in the eastern part of the Šaleška Valley, at an altitude of 396 m above sea level. Surrounded by the rolling hills of the Paka River basin, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps to the west and the Pohorje to the east.

Even though the city is known for its rapid urbanization and industrialization driven by coal-lignite mining, the region has transformed into one of Slovenia's cleanest environments, focusing on lake-centric recreation and tourism as well as green transformation. The city's history has demonstrated the capacity for significant transformations. The Municipality of Velenje is one of the EU “100 climate-neutral and smart Mission cities” and holds the title of European Green Leaf 2024.

Slovenia has adopted the National Strategy for coal phase-out and restructuring of coal regions, setting 2033 as the goal year to stop the production of coal-powered electricity. At the local level, the city is facing several challenges, which need green energy alternatives and employment solutions for workers directly and indirectly connected to the mining industry. 


Sustainability focus: Sustainable Mobility

Since the introduction of free public passenger transport in 2008, the Municipality of Velenje has been actively engaged in transforming its urban mobility. By providing subsidies to public transport services in cooperation with our partners, our citizens can enjoy a free urban passenger transport service, known as “Lokalc”. It runs along five lines: red, yellow (circular in one direction), blue, green, orange and the Podkraj cemetery line, and counts 43 stops.

Recent accomplishments include the establishment of 30 km of cutting-edge cycling connections, strategically placed bicycle parking spots, service points, and a revamped Bicy automated bicycle rental system. User-friendly maps outlining cycling routes and conducted engaging campaigns under the slogan "My city, my choice!" enhance the user experience. These initiatives not only familiarize people with the cycling network but also reward them with practical prizes, making cycling both enjoyable and safer. Notably, this campaign received national recognition and award, further highlighting its impact and success. 

©Kavčnik Aleksander

Velenje's Bicy system, featuring 148 bikes (half electric), is accessible at no charge, requiring only a small annual registration fee (10€). This initiative aligns with Velenje’s dedication to affordable and sustainable urban mobility. Once registered, one may use the system every day of the week, only subject to a time limit of 14 hours per week.

©Matej Vranič

Enhancing sustainable tourism is also a priority in Velenje, where curated recreational routes are featured in the Savinjska2Go app and Bike map app. Tourists can now easily choose to rent sustainable modes of transportation from a range of packages and guided tours. Advancing the commitment to sustainable transportation involves endorsing initiatives such as the Štrekna Bus, a scenic 30-seat bus with a bicycle trailer that operates during the summer months. These enhanced public transport facilities contribute to a decrease in car traffic to the Upper Savinja Valley and the Logar Valley.

The Kamerat project was initiated in 2018 to enhance mobility for the elderly and mobility-impaired individuals, utilizing an environmentally friendly electric vehicle and volunteer assistance. This service, available for citizens aged 65 and over, mobility-impaired persons, and those lacking alternative transportation options, allows bookings three days in advance for doctor visits, cemetery trips, supermarket visits, and more. The initiative, a collaborative effort between the Municipality of Velenje and the Velenje Youth Centre, upholds values of intergenerational solidarity, promotes an active lifestyle, fosters integration, respects nature, and relies on Udarnik volunteers for transportation services.

The need to knows

  • 85% of the municipality is covered by nature, with 33% of the area falling under protected natural zones. Hence, Velenje is frequently referred to as the “City in the Park”.
  • More than 7000 trees in the urban city center and more than 544.000 m2 of green areas.
  • Two eco-remediation islands have been installed on Lake Velenje, each 50 m² in size, to enhance biodiversity and water purification.
  • In the period 2012-2021 3,5 mio passengers used the Lokalc bus service, around 400.000 people yearly.
  • Green guidelines are applied to municipal calls for co-financing activities and events, as well as green guidelines for large events
  • A strategy for mobilizing investment in the energy renovation of buildings for public buildings up to 2030 has been implemented.
  • The city has established the Energy Office, a cost-free initiative dedicated to energy consulting services for our citizens.
  • The Reuse Centre- founded in 2012 as a circular economy resource, collects items from residents at no cost and redistributes them to organizations and individuals for reuse - has redistributed 258 tons of goods in 10 years. 


What the city has to say

“In Velenje, we believe that sustainable practices are the foundation of a thriving community. Joining ICLEI aligns with our commitment to global cooperation and knowledge-sharing for a better future. Together, we contribute to a network that transcends boundaries, working towards a sustainable and resilient world.”


Peter Dermol, Mayor of the Municipality of Velenje

ICLEI and Velenje

The Municipality of Velenje joined as an ICLEI Member in January 2024. Velenje and ICLEI have collaborated through the KeepWarm project and PLASTICIRCLE initiative, as well as through the EC’s initiatives for coal regions in transition.