Profile and activities

Bilbao, with more than 350,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Bizkaia and the economic, social and cultural center of the Basque Country. The deep crisis experienced in the 80s struck the pillars on which its economy was based: steel, metallurgy and shipbuilding. After that, the city had to reinvent itself to overcome the decline of an obsolete industrial system, high unemployment, environmental and urban degradation, the processes of migration and the emergence of social exclusion problems.

The economic rigor and the good planning and managing of local politics, along with public-private partnerships have made this transformation possible and object of numerous awards worldwide, among them the first prize at the Venice Biennale of Waterfront cities and the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.

But the city can not stay there, and after the process undertaken to move from the industrial to the postindustrial city, Bilbao now undertakes a second revolution which will enable us to address the challenges facing cities. Unprecedented challenges, which are linked to compete internationally and interact with other cities, to preserve the environment, to channel citizen participation in a society increasingly diverse and plural and to ensure social cohesion. In short, moving towards a knowledge city in which we favor from the local perspective a better quality of life for each and every one of the people residing in the city.

8.5% of the Bilbao population is of foreign origin. This percentage, located below the state average, lead us to manage an increasingly diverse and intercultural Bilbao. Bilbao seeks its competitive development at the opening of the city, both in relation to place it in the global economy, as evaluated in terms of social and economic opportunity that bring new ideas, cultures and ways of understanding life offering a new reality. It also means emulating other cities that have developed successful strategies with a creative diversity management. Bilbao City Council through the design and implementation of the Municipal Plan for the Management of Diversity BI-OPEN (2011-2013), contributes to the construction of an educational city in values of coexistence and open to diversity with the overall objective of encourage integration, social cohesion and coexistence in diversity.

Integration requires work to achieve one of the fundamental values for the competitive and sustainable development of the city, openness, understood as a positive attitude towards other ideas and cultures, to different ways of being and doing things, ultimately , acceptance of change, to promote multiculturalism.

To be able to work with the affective component of prejudiced attitudes towards immigration and foreigners, our proposal is as follows: by stimulating reflection and debate and communicating information via peer networks and opinion leaders (people who have credibility for the general population), we hope to curb rumours and stereotypes and undermine the cognitive foundations of prejudiced attitudes, offering information that generates cognitive dissonance and alters its affective component, bringing it closer to the reality of the data and taking it further away from its association with false negative stereotypes of immigration and foreigners. Our idea is to build an accumulative "snowball".

Throughout 2013, Bilbao City Council put this methodology into practise to combat negative stereotypes associated with foreign immigration in the Rekalde district in Bilbao (the "Be Inclusive Bilbao Project”)

Other Resources

In 2013, Bilbao did a pilot experience in a local Youth Center inviting young people to fight against stereotypes and prejudices via several comic workshops. This initiative will be replicate to all Youth Centers during the Bilbao’s C4i antirumours campaign.

 Comic workshop for youths (Spanish with English subtitles)



C4i Bilbao visit

headline Bilbao, Spain 16 April 2014
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C4i Bilbao visit

Last Wednesday, the 16th of April, within the framework of the project Communication for
integration – C4i, the Area of Equality, Cooperation and Citizenship of the Bilbao Council
welcomed the following two guests from the European Commission: Gemma Pyniol, the
Project Director, and Kseniya Khovanova-Rubicondo, expert in project evaluation. The purpose
of the visit was to analyse the comprehensive anti-rumour strategy that the Area will develop
within the framework of the C4i project in 2014-2015, promoted by the Council of Europe and
with funding from the European Commission.

This strategy consists of interventions in Rekalde and Deusto based on the identification of
existing rumours regarding immigrant populations and the preparation of meaningful
arguments to effectively combat them. While in Rekalde, work along the lines of the antirumour
strategy initiated in 2013 will continue, enhancing youth initiatives by organising antirumour
agent training sessions aimed at sports teaching staff; in Deusto, using the "snowball"
methodology, the best "informative agents" and "multiplier agents" will be sought out and
encouraged to join the project.

As well as training and awareness-raising sessions aimed at local residents and youth, the
project also considers mass media, Municipal youth centres and civil service staff at Public
Institutions as key groups for intervention.

The visit concluded with a presentation by the Social Entity Gazteleku of their experience in
Rekalde, during which a video was projected of anti-rumour dynamics with local youth that
deal with existing rumours regarding foreign immigrant populations in 2013 within the
framework of the Be Inclusive project.

general information

Bilbao on the map


Web app on migration in the city