Saturday, January 6, 2024





The European Tree of the Year is an annual contest held to find the most 'loveable tree' in Europe and has been running since 2011. The contest selects a tree from participating countries (now 16 in number) by public vote. Most countries hold a national poll to select their entrant for each year. The winner is announced at an awards ceremony held in the EU Parliament, Brussels.

Below are the European Tree of the Year 2023 results, working from the lowest number of votes to the greatest number, with the stories about the nominated trees. The trees’ stories below are the commentaries from the European Tree of the Year nominations, being the text provided by the nominators.

Since 2015, there has been a promotional tree tour visiting many candidate trees during the voting month of February. Media PR events, and community, child led, art contests take place for each tree, with the winning art works being displayed at the awards ceremony.

In more recent years, a #TreesInNeed blog[2] has been promoted by the contest organisers to highlight the plight of numerous trees across Europe under threat of destruction.


No 16

Country: Republic of Croatia

Tree: The Oak from Drežnica Field

Species: English Oak

Age: 250 years

Votes: 4814

The Tree’s Story:

The magical forest

This tree doesn’t have a name. It is one of the many ancient oak trees in the karst Drežnica field in Croatia. The 440 m altitude makes this forest special: in spring or fall, as if by magic the field becomes a lake and only the tips of the highest oaks, such as this one, remain visible. Thanks to its endemic species, the Drežnica field is part of Natura 2000 but the planned retention (under litigation) means longer cycles of flooding and danger for this tree, the forest and the whole ecosystem.

No 15

Country: Belgium

Tree: The Brown Cherry Pear of Klerken

Species: Common Pear

Age: 102 years

Votes: 4823

The Tree’s Story:

Cultural identity of the village of Klerken

The tree has contributed to Klerken's cultural identity. For many years, this village organised a perelaarommegang, a procession around the fruit of the tree. After 20 years of standstill, this will be organised again in August 2023 by the vzw perenstoet klerken,the organisation that submitted the tree. Throughout history, the pears have been an important symbol for the village, so a street was also named after the tradition: the Perelaarommegang.

No 14

Country: Bulgaria

Tree: Plane Tree

Species: Oriental Plane

Age: 1054 years

Votes: 5814

The Tree’s Story:

The oldest tree in the Varna region

Thе tree is the oldest in Varna region. Its origin dates back to the period of the First Bulgarian Empire (7th-11th c.).Czech archaeologists and naturalists the Škorpil brothers, who made a significant contribution to the exploration of Bulgarian history and nature in the post-Ottoman period, mention it in their records. Its trunk has suffered fire damage,yet its crown turns beautifully green every spring. Legend has it that its energy heals all ailments. This makes it a favorite place for the locals.

No 13

Country: Estonia

Tree: The Purple Beech of Reigi

Species: Eusopean Beech

Age: 120 years

Votes: 5875

The Tree’s Story:

Driver for creative spirit

On a small and serene Estonian island, Hiiumaa, in the Baltic Sea, a rare red-leaved beech grows, a resilient exceptional finding in harsh Nordic conditions. 120 years ago, this tree was set in the garden of the pastorate of the Reigi Church by a pastor in honor of the birth of his son.

Once upon a time it was a centre of community life; church bells rang and the tavern buzzed, providing content for several novels, films and even an opera. Nowadays, tranquility mixes with the vitality of the Reigi beech, waiting for guests.

No 12

Country: Latvia

Tree: Seja Oak

Species: Common Oak

Age: 500 years

Votes: 6005

The Tree’s Story:

Five centuries of memory

The 500-year-old oak tree holds memories of the people who lived in Sēja Manor, of historical events, and of the strongest winds. Its roots run deep not only in our land, but also in people's hearts. Every year at the summer solstice, local people gather at the foot of the oak to make a flower ornament in its honour and celebrate the shortest summer night with songs. Is it a special magic that draws people to the Sēja Oak? No. Besides the grandeur of the oak, it possesses an unusual serenity that we all long for.

No 11

Country: Czech Republic

Tree: The Pear Tree in Drasov

Species: Common Pear

Age: 300 years

Votes: 6664

The Tree’s Story:

A Beautiful Solitary Tree

Near the municipality of Drásov stands a pear tree - it's beauty is known all around and its resilience is breathtaking. The tree is a true hero as it grows only 25 metres from the uranium mine that was opened at the end of the 1950s and the excavated tailings were deposited on a heap near the tree. Fortunately, the mining did not last long and the edge of the heap stopped only 20 metres from the tree. It is incredible that the pear tree withstood these hard times and the locals can still enjoy its beauty and juicy fruit.

No 10

Country: Hungary

Tree: The Bridge Plane Tree

Species: Oriental Plane

Age: 230-250 years

Votes: 7342

The Tree’s Story:

The symbol of willpower and the will to live.

This 230-250 year old sycamore tree can be found in the historical garden of Tata. It was still young when it fell over, due to the wet soil and other natural forces, so it has been growing on the ground, leaning over Lake Cseke for more than 200 years. Yet every spring, it turns green and brings happiness to the hearts of the visitors of the landscape garden. It is more than a tree, it is a sign, a symbol. A symbol of willpower and the will to live. A message: "Never give up!"

No 9

Country: The Netherlands

Tree: The Marquis Oak

Species: Common Oak

Age: 220 years

Votes: 8616

The Tree’s Story:

Patriarch of an endangered forest

It’s the classic dilemma of the modern age: nature vs. mobility. I am the patriarch of my forest, 30 metres tall, planted around 1800 by the marquis of the Amelisweerd estate. Many have enjoyed my presence since then. But how about the future? My existence is threatened by the expansion of highway A27, 800 other trees face the same fate. Many alternatives have been presented, all have been rejected, despite numerous protests. I consider myself a symbol of resistance against global tree felling, but how much longer do I have?

(By the way, this is in Utrecht, where my dad was born and grew up).


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