Bilbao, Province of Biscay, Basque Country, Spain

Democracy and urban renewal | Location | Districts | Economy | Banking | Port | Mining and ironworks | Tourist Industry | Stock exchange | Higher education

🇪🇸 Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country as a whole. It is also the largest city proper in northern Spain. Bilbao is the tenth largest city in Spain, and lies at the core of The Bilbao metropolitan area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in northern Spain. Bilbao is also the main urban area in what is defined as the Greater Basque region.

Bilbao is located in the north-central part of Spain, some 16 km (10 mi) south of the Bay of Biscay, where the economic social development is located, where the estuary of Bilbao is formed. Its main urban core is surrounded by two small mountain ranges with an average elevation of 400 metres (1,300 ft). Its climate is shaped by the Bay of Biscay low-pressure systems and mild air, moderating summer temperatures by Iberian standards, with low sunshine and high rainfall. The annual temperature range is low for its latitude.

After its foundation in the early 14th century by Diego López V de Haro, head of the powerful Haro family, Bilbao was one of the commercial hubs of the Basque Country that enjoyed significant importance in the Crown of Castile. This was due to its thriving port activity based on the export of wool and iron commodities extracted from the Biscayan quarries to all over Europe. Throughout the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Bilbao experienced heavy industrialisation, making it the centre of the second-most industrialised region of Spain, behind Barcelona. At the same time an extraordinary population explosion prompted the annexation of several adjacent municipalities. Nowadays, Bilbao is a vigorous service city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalisation process, started by the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, and continued by infrastructure investments, such as the airport terminal, the rapid transit system, the tram line, the Azkuna Zentroa, and the currently under development Abandoibarra and Zorrozaurre renewal projects.

Bilbao is also home to football team Athletic Club, a significant symbol for Basque nationalism due to its promotion of only Basque players and being one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history.

On 19 May 2010, the city of Bilbao was recognised with the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, awarded by the city state of Singapore, in collaboration with the Swedish Nobel Academy. Considered the Nobel Prize for urbanism, it was handed out on 29 June 2010. On 7 January 2013, its mayor, Iñaki Azkuna, received the 2012 World Mayor Prize awarded every two years by the British foundation The City Mayors Foundation, in recognition of the urban transformation experienced by the Biscayan capital since the 1990s. On 8 November 2017, Bilbao was chosen the Best European City 2018 at The Urbanism Awards 2018, awarded by the international organisation The Academy of Urbanism.

Democracy and urban renewal After the end of Francoist Spain and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, in a process known in Spain as the transition, Bilbao was able to hold democratic elections again. This time Basque nationalists rose to power. With the approval of the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country in 1979, Vitoria-Gasteiz was elected the seat of the government and therefore the de facto capital of the Basque Autonomous Community, although Bilbao was larger and more powerful economically. In the 1980s, several factors such as labor demands and the arrival of cheap labor from abroad led to a devastating industrial crisis.

On 26 August 1983 during the celebration of the local festivities known as Aste Nagusia, the estuary overflowed up to five metres in some areas due to the continuous raining, killing two people and causing important destructions in the city's infrastructure, with a total economic cost that reached 60,000 million pesetas (around 360 million Euro)

Since the mid-1990s, Bilbao has been in a process of deindustrialization and transition to a service economy, supported by investment in infrastructure and urban renewal, starting with the opening of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum (the so-called Guggenheim effect), and continuing with the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, Santiago Calatrava's Zubizuri, the metro network by Norman Foster, the tram, the Iberdrola Tower and the Zorrozaurre development plan, among others. Many officially supported associations such as Bilbao Metrópoli-30 and Bilbao Ría 2000 were created to monitor these projects.

Location Bilbao is located near the northern edge of the Iberian Peninsula, about 16 km (10 mi) from the Bay of Biscay. It covers an area of 40.65 square km (15.70 sq mi), of which 17.35 square km (6.70 sq mi) are urban and the remaining 23.30 square km (9.00 sq mi) consist of the surrounding mountains. The official average altitude is 19 metres (62 ft), although there are measurements between 6 metres (20 ft) and 32 metres (105 ft). It is also the core of the comarca of Greater Bilbao. It is surrounded by the municipalities of Derio, Etxebarri, Galdakao, Loiu, Sondika, and Zamudio to the north; Arrigorriaga and Basauri to the west; Alonsotegi to the south; and Barakaldo and Erandio to the east.

Bilbao is located on the Basque threshold, the range between the larger Cantabrian Mountains and the Pyrenees. The soil is predominantly composed of mesozoic materials (limestone, sandstone, and marl) sedimented over a primitive paleozoic base. The relief of the province is dominated by NW-SE and WNW-ESE oriented folds. The main fold is the anticline of Bilbao which runs from the municipality of Elorrio to Galdames. Inside Bilbao there are two secondary folds, one in the north-east, composed of Mounts Artxanda, Avril, Banderas, Pikota, San Bernabé, and Cabras; and other in the south, composed of Mounts Kobetas, Restaleku, Pagasarri and Arraiz. The highest point in the municipality is Mount Ganeta, of 689 metres (2,260 ft), followed by Mount Pagasarri, of 673 metres (2,208 ft), both on the border with Alonsotegi.

Districts The municipality is divided into eight districts (Basque: barrutia) which are further subdivided into 34 neighbourhoods (Basque: auzoa). Most of the districts and neighbourhoods were former independent municipalities and elizates that were eventually annexed into the city. Originally, the city of Bilbao comprised the Old Town and some houses on the left side of the estuary, today known as Bilbao la Vieja. The first expansion included the annexation of the elizate of Begoña and the river side of Uribarri. In the 19th century the merge of Abando into the city brought along small neighbourhoods of farm houses and hamlets that were clustered close to the former municipality's town hall and the Mount Cobetas, such as Errekalde and Basurto. Starting in the 20th century it started annexing the elizates on the right bank of the river, including Begoña and Deusto. In the decade of 1960 as an effort to stop the increasing problem of slums, new neighbourhoods were created from the ground up, among them Otxarkoaga and Txurdinaga, which were joined together as a new district, Otxarkoaga-Txurdinaga in the decade of 1990.

Economy The Bilbao metropolitan area comprises about 47% of the total population of the Basque autonomous community, out of which a 15% is registered in the municipality of Bilbao. The comarca of Greater Bilbao, in which the city occupies a central position, has a GDP per capita of €30,860, higher than the Spanish and European Union averages. The Bilbao metropolitan area has a nominal GDP amounting to $36,9 billion. Bilbao has been the economic centre of the Basque autonomous community since the original establishment of the Consulate of the Sea in the city in the 16th century, mostly thanks to the commerce in Castilian products on the town's port. It was in the 19th century when the city experimented its biggest economic development, mainly based on the exploitation of the nearby iron mines and siderurgy, both of which promoted maritime traffic and port activity and eventually the development of a very important shipbuilding industry.

Banking Banking became an important sector with the establishment of the Bank of Bilbao (Spanish: Banco de Bilbao) in 1857 and the Bank of Biscay (Spanish: Banco de Vizcaya) in 1901. These two entities merged in 1988 creating the BBV, which finally merged with Argentaria bank in 1999, creating the current multinational corporation, the BBVA. The savings banks that were established locally, the Municipal Savings Bank of Bilbao (Spanish: Caja de Ahorros Municipal de Bilbao) in 1907 and the Provincial Savings Bank of Biscay (Spanish: Caja de Ahorros Provincial de Vizcaya) in 1921, would merge in 1990 to form the Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa (BBK), which would marge again in 2012 with other Basque financial entities (Kutxa and Caja Vital Kutxa) to form Kutxabank. There is also the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Bilbao and the Stock Exchange Market of Bilbao, founded in 1890.

Port The historical port was located in what is today an area called the Arenal, a few steps from the old city, until the late 19th century. In 1902, an exterior port was built at the mouth of the estuary, in the coastal municipality of Santurtzi. Further extensions to the outer port, which became called "the super-port", led to the final move of the city portuary facilities in the 1970s, finally replacing the docks in the centre of the city, with the exception of those located in the neighbourhood of Zorrotza, still active.

The port of Bilbao is a first-class commercial port and is among the top five of Spain. Over 200 regular maritime services link Bilbao with 500 ports worldwide. At the close of 2009 cargo movements amounted to 31.6 million tonnes, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries being the main markets. In the first semester of 2008, it received over 67,000 passengers and 2,770 ships. This activity contributed 419 million euros to the Basque GDP and maintains almost 10,000 jobs.

Mining and ironworks Iron is the main and most abundant raw material found in Biscay, and its extraction has been legally regulated since 1526. Mining was the main primary activity in Bilbao and the minerals, of great quality, were exported to all over Europe. It was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that an ironworks industry was developed, benefiting from the resources and the city's good communication links. In the 20th century, both Spanish and European capitals imported around 90% of the iron from Biscay. Although World War I made Bilbao one of the main ironworks powers, a subsequent crisis prompted a decline in the activity.

Tourist Industry The first notion of Bilbao as a tourist destination came with the inauguration of the railway between Bilbao and the coastal neighbourhood of Las Arenas, in the municipality of Getxo in 1872. The connection made Bilbao a minor beach destination.

The real tourist surge though would come much later with the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. Thereafter tourist arrivals registered a continued upward trend, reaching over 932,000 visitors in 2018. The trend was exponential considering that in 1995, Bilbao only counted 25,000 tourists. Bilbao also hosts 31% of the total Basque Country visitors, being the top destination of this autonomous community, outranking San Sebastián. The majority of tourists are domestic visitors, coming from Madrid and Catalonia. International travellers are predominantly French, crossing the border just to the east. The others arrive from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Tourism generates about 300 million euros yearly for the Biscayan GDP. Bilbao also draws business tourism, having been equipped with facilities like the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, and the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, in nearby Barakaldo.

Stock exchange Plans to create a stock exchange market in Bilbao began in the early 19th century, even though it would not be realized until 21 July 1890. Bilbao's institution is one of the country's four regional stock exchanges, joining Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia as Spain's commercial centres. It is owned by Bolsas y Mercados Españoles. The Bilbao Stock Exchange is considered a secondary market.

Higher education Two universities are seated in Bilbao. The older is the University of Deusto, founded by the Society of Jesus in 1886. It took its name from the then independent municipality of Deusto, annexed to Bilbao in 1925. It was the only higher education institute in the borough until the establishment in 1968 of the University of Bilbao, later to become the University of the Basque Country in 1980. This public university, which has a presence in the three provinces of the autonomous community, has its main Biscayan campus in the municipality of Leioa, although the Technical and Business faculties are based in Bilbao. Since 2014, Mondragon University has also a presence in the city through the innovation and entrepreneurial centre Bilbao Innovation Factory. In 2015, the offer of higher education in the city was expanded with the foundation of Dantzerti, the Higher School of Dramatic Arts and Dance of the Basque Country.

Bilbao, Province of Biscay, Basque Country, Spain 
<b>Bilbao, Province of Biscay, Basque Country, Spain</b>
Image: Adobe Stock Noradoa #219320004

Bilbao is rated Gamma - by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.

Bilbao was ranked #1175 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Bilbao has a population of over 345,141 people. Bilbao also forms the centre of the wider Bilbao metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,137,191 people. It is also a part of the larger Greater Bilbao area. Bilbao is the #256 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.0195 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores. Bilbao is ranked #217 for startups with a score of 1.821.

To set up a UBI Lab for Bilbao see: Twitter:

Bilbao is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for Design see:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Bilbao has links with:

🇫🇷 Bordeaux, France 🇦🇷 Buenos Aires, Argentina 🇫🇷 Cenon, France 🇧🇪 Liège, Belgium 🇨🇴 Medellín, Colombia 🇮🇹 Milan, Italy 🇲🇽 Monterrey, Mexico 🇺🇸 Pittsburgh, USA 🇨🇳 Qingdao, China 🇦🇷 Rosario, Argentina 🇯🇵 Sendai, Japan 🇮🇩 Surakarta, Indonesia 🇬🇪 Tbilisi, Georgia
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GaWC | Hipster Index | Nomad | StartupBlink

Antipodal to Bilbao is: 177.076,-43.264

Locations Near: Bilbao -2.92384,43.264

🇪🇸 Baracaldo -2.983,43.283 d: 5.3  

🇪🇸 Barakaldo -2.986,43.297 d: 6.2  

🇪🇸 Getxo -3,43.333 d: 9.9  

🇪🇸 Durango -2.627,43.172 d: 26.2  

🇪🇸 Vitoria Gasteiz -2.683,42.85 d: 50  

🇪🇸 Vitoria-Gasteiz -2.684,42.842 d: 50.8  

🇪🇸 Vitoria -2.684,42.842 d: 50.8  

🇪🇸 Laredo -3.412,43.412 d: 42.8  

🇪🇸 Miranda de Ebro -2.933,42.683 d: 64.6  

🇪🇸 Zarauz -2.167,43.283 d: 61.3  

Antipodal to: Bilbao 177.076,-43.264

🇳🇿 Masterton 175.664,-40.95 d: 19732.6  

🇳🇿 Upper Hutt 175.05,-41.133 d: 19725.3  

🇳🇿 Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19726.3  

🇳🇿 Lower Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19726.3  

🇳🇿 Wellington 174.767,-41.283 d: 19724.2  

🇳🇿 Porirua 174.84,-41.131 d: 19714.8  

🇳🇿 Palmerston North 175.61,-40.357 d: 19669.8  

🇳🇿 Hastings 176.843,-39.645 d: 19612.2  

🇳🇿 Napier 176.9,-39.505 d: 19596.8  

🇳🇿 Whanganui 175.05,-39.932 d: 19608.1  

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