Study Tour

San Sebastián Age-Friendly City

26.02.2019 – 01.03.2019

As foreseen in the regulation of the 2nd edition of the Good Practices on Active and Healthy Ageing Awards of the Portuguese central Region, the Center’s Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDRC) provided the winners of the 2018 edition a study tour to the age-friendly ecosystem in the city of San Sebastian (Spain) which has been organised and implemented by Javier Ganzarain, Co-Founder of AFEdemy.

The aim of the study tour was to present the various award-winning promoters the local and regional age-friendly projects and good practices for gaining closer acquaintance of such innovative professional interventions.


In San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque), 23% of the population is over 65 years old, and, therefore, ageing is a strategic issue. Since 2010 it is one of the first 10 cities in the world to be part of the WHO network and the first in Spain. In 2011 it also signed the Dublin Declaration. In 2015 it presented its action plan with 134 activities that pretend among other objectives to promote the empowerment of older citizens to influence local policies. “Donostia Lagunkoia” is today a city strategy that seeks to build collectively, and from different perspectives and approaches, responses to the challenges and opportunities posed by the ageing of the population to build a Donostia for all ages.


On this study tour, and after an introduction to the theme of Age-Friendly Environments, the programme presented regional and local age-friendly innovative initiatives and the stakeholders who have actively participated in these:

  • The San Sebastian City Council presented the city’s age-friendly strategy “Donosti Lagunkoia”. Also different stakeholders participating in the strategy presented their testimonies.
  • The Department of Employment and Social Policies of the Government of the Basque Country who has promoted the regional initiative “Euskadi Lagunkoia”, friendly in English. Its objective is to promote the participation of the older people and citizens, in general, to improve Basque neighbourhoods and environments.
  • The Official College of Pharmacists from the province of Gipuzkoa presented the initiative “Age-Friendly Pharmacies”.  In 2016, San Sebastián was the first city of the world with such pharmacies.
  • The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa presented its own strategy on healthy ageing “Adinberri”, which was launched in November 2018.
  • The site visits include a visit to the Foundation Matia, whose institute has drawn up “Euskadi Lagunkoia”, the age-friendly initiative of the Basque Country.  Matia also collaborated in the preparation of the Basque Strategy of Active Ageing 2015-2020 and, as a concrete example, in the area of commerce, has developed a “Age-Friendly Guide for establishments. Trade and Restoration”.
  • The programme also included a visit to the Tecnalia Research and Innovation Center, a reference in the field of research in the European Union, and is also very active in the field of age-friendly environments .


The San Sebastian Age-Friendly City Study Tour has been organised by AFEdemy with a very strong support from the Head of Transversality of the area of Citizen Participation and Coordinator of the City Plan “Donostia Lagunkoia of San Sebastián City Council”.

Other contributing partners were:

  • Fomento from the San Sebastian City Council
  • Fundación Adinberri
  • Leycolan S.A.L.
  • The Official College of Pharmacists from the province of Gipuzkoa
  • Matia Foundation
  • Tecnalia Research and Innovation Center