Bilbao is a welcoming, cosmopolitan, open, lively, elegant and modern city that combines the features of a unique cultural heritage with a new aesthetic in which the avant-garde shares the streets with art to create a new, balanced and remarkable urban landscape. Today Bilbao is an internationally recognised urban landmark because the strength of its innovative transformation is based on the respect and integration of its industrial past. The icon of this metamorphosis is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with its impressive architecture, the work of Frank Gehry.
Cities change, evolve, transform. This is what has happened to Bilbao, a clear example of urban conversion. The capital of Bizkaia has been reborn from its ashes in every sense: it has ceased to be a grey city dedicated to industry and has been transformed into a cosmopolitan city of design.
During the 19th and 20th centuries Bilbao grew around industry, – principally the iron and steel industry- and shipbuilding. It became one of the most important ports in Europe, a point of connection with major European cities, and from where products such as crude and refined petroleum were transported, as well as raw materials such as iron ore and coal.
In 1973 came an economic crisis that seriously affected industry: in order to relaunch the economy – both in the capital and throughout the territory, improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and revitalise the city as a service centre, an enormous rehabilitation plan was devised.
The strategic plan for the rehabilitation of the town centre and the urban development plans have turned the city into a model of reference in other countries. The success is due to the regeneration that has taken place in recent years and the recovery of industrial land in areas such as Olabeaga and Zorrozaure (a project by the prestigious architect Zaha Hadid).
Following its resurgence and transformation, Bilbao has become an international city of reference for cultural, commercial and business tourism.
It is therefore a source of pride for this city to host the AMICE Congress dedicated to the art of transformation, the concept that has successfully guided the axis of action for this city over the last 30 years. Life, culture, sport, knowledge, gastronomy and innovation go hand-in-hand with the values of its friendly, supportive and enterprising inhabitants.