Bilbao ́s entrepreneurial tradition and its experience along to its willingness to innovate and improve constantly, make of Bilbao a reliable city, in which the efficiency and legal safety of its institutions are an identity mark.
The change to a city of services has gone hand-in-hand with the creation and restoration of innovative amenities, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and designed to stage major events such as congresses, large-scale trade fairs and cultural activities. The most outstanding of these is the Guggenheim Museum, widely seen as symbolising the transformation of Bilbao, but the city would not be the same without the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall or the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC).
The Euskalduna Conference Centre, designed to stage over 1,000 events per year, was conceived by its architects, Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios, as a vessel under permanent construction standing in a dock on the site of the former Euskalduna shipyard. In 2001, the Conference Centre was awarded the Enric Miralles Prize at the 6th Biennial of Spanish Architecture.
The BEC, the leading exhibition centre of the Atlantic Arc, has 150,000 m2 of column-free exhibition space distributed between 6 halls, and a further 18.000 m2 to stage conventions.
But the transformation doesn’t stop there. The Library of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, the restored Campos Elíseos Theatre, the Conservatory of Music and the Miribilla Sports Complex can all be added to the list of new facilities providing arts and leisure services to the people of Bilbao. In this respect, pride of place goes to the Alhóndiga Bilbao, a historic building restored from a wine and spirits warehouse to a centre of reference for urban culture and new trends and converted into a multi- disciplinary space open to all residents and geared towards knowledge, well-being and entertainment.
And finally, to put Bilbao even more on the tourist map, the Getxo Cruise Ship Terminal of the Bilbao Port Authorities is a new point of entry for tourists arriving by sea.