Moving Cities


“Moving Cities Map” is the first mapping exercise that provides in-depth research about 28 progressive solidarity cities and their strategies to welcome migrants and refugees in ten European countries. It examines 50 of their most inspiring and successful local approaches and gives an overview over all active European cities and their most progressive networks supporting solidarity-based migration policies.

The “Moving Cities Map” is actually designed from scratch, as a work in progress project in terms of data collection and networking. If your city is taking a progressive approach towards migration policy and is not yet represented on the map, we strongly invite you to add your city on our map.

Who stands behind Moving Cities?

The idea of the project was born in 2019 through a European networking process, involving approximately 20 civil society initiatives, which later formed the “From the Sea to the City consortium”. The project is implemented by Seebrücke with the support of the German foundations Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Tesseræ, amongst many others which are supporting the project. Find the whole list here.

What is the goal of the Moving Cities?

Cities and municipalities all over Europe show that another migration policy is not only possible, but that it is already happening. By researching, highlighting and connecting these municipal pioneers, their networks and the most successful local programmes, the “Moving Cities Map" aims at changing the European migration policy. Whilst the national and EU-led policy reforms have been in a deadlock for years, more than 700 hundred municipalities from Poland to Portugal are supporting a solidarity based migration policy and dozens of cities are walking the talk with innovative local solutions and welcoming policies.

What makes the Moving Cities unique?

Although cities have become increasingly vocal political actors in the European debate on migration and have formed several national and transnational networks for cooperation and knowledge exchange, an extensive and easily accessible mapping -focusing on strategies, key-factors and take-aways for municipalities and civil society- was missing until now.

Who is the audience of Moving Cities?

The site is intended as a tool for dedicated municipalities and civil society organisations seeking for inspiration and strategies to change their local migration policies. By providing information about real examples of alternative welcoming strategies, we are contributing to a transnational mutual learning process that leverages synergies between municipalities all over Europe. Our aim is to improve the capacity of individual municipalities to act locally, as well as to amplify the voices of cities and city-networks as political actors in the European debate on migration.

Why do you focus on cities?

All over Europe, city representatives and administrations are taking a stand against the highly restrictive migration policies of the nation states and the EU. Many cities have declared themselves places of sanctuary and safe harbours for people on the move. Cities in Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy have become active, particularly in connection with the blockade of civil sea rescue operations. With their various progressive approaches, many cities in Europe have become a testing ground for new policies of inclusion and participation and thereby the democratisation of urban society. Politicians, administrations and civil society organisations in cities not only have concrete experience in the coexistence of long-term residents and newcomers, but they are also a place for social experiments, for creative bottom-up processes and fruitful cooperation between civil society and city administrations.

What’s the role of civil society in this context?

Following the goal of strengthening cities as political actors in Europe and highlighting their work, we focused on local approaches that are officially supported by cities. However, we want to emphasize on the fact that most of the times civil society initiatives have been crucial in pushing cities towards a more progressive and solidarity-based migration policy. There are countless progressive and innovative initiatives organised by civil society all over Europe which are essential for the development of both local and European migration policies that we couldn’t include because of the particular focus of this project.

Why do you write about “inclusion” policies?

We decided to write about “inclusion” rather than “integration” policies and measures because for us the term “integration” can have some problematic connotations. Often “integration” goes hand in hand with the idea of assimilating migrants and refugees as a one-sided process of adaptation and integration into pre-existing and non-negotiable structures. With the term “inclusion” we want to emphasize on a process based on reciprocity and the possibility of active political participation. Nevertheless, we use the term integration when it is in the name or explicitly part of a concept of a local approach.