Socially, as well as economically, industrially and culturally, the Basque Country is unique. Balanced social and economic development, the pursuit of excellence, transformation processes in cities, business internationalisation and firm commitment to innovation, placing it among the best in the world, make the Basque Country one of the most attractive places to live and to invest.
Euskadi is the region with the highest quality of life in Spain, according to an OECD report, which measures variables, such as healthcare, education, employment, income, safety, environment, citizen participation, access to services and housing. It has an extensive healthcare system that covers the requirements of citizens through the Basque Health Service-Osakidetza, a public service dependent on the Basque Government, as well as private centres. In the Basque Education System, schooling is compulsory from age 6 and free from 3 to 16 years old. Euskadi has the lowest dropout rate (7.7%) for young people between 18 and 24 years old. As regards safety, it is one of the safest regions in Europe, with a rate of 39 crimes per 1,000 population, compared to 45 in Spain and the EU 28 average of 56.
Culture reaches all corners of the Basque Country through various first rate festivals, such as the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Jazz Festivals in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Getxo and San Sebastian and the Bilbao Opera Season.
Tradition and innovation merge in an amalgam of shapes and colours. Getting to know the Basque Country provides an insight into the Basque people. It is a way of life, a character and an understanding that combines history and modernity, audacity and nobleness, fun and hard work.
BCC, Basque Culinary Center, is the first Gastronomy University in the world, a research and innovation centre into food and cuisine, firmly committed to ensuring the continuity of cuisine as a centre for innovation in the future, in addition to generating high-level knowledge and training for qualified professionals.
Rioja Alavesa, a unique region. Reds and ochres colour this land, its wines and its villages. Traditional wineries and others designed by famous architects can be visited. Twelve thousand hectares of vineyards offer wines from a denomination of origin recognised as one of the best in the world Bodega Marqués de Riscal
Basque mountains and valleys, with quintessential villages scattered throughout, reflect the thousand-year-old history and traditions still kept alive, an incomparable backdrop highlighted by every shade of
green and life going on all around. The Basque Coast with its 250 km of beaches, estuaries, salt marshes, cliffs and fishing villages, reflecting nature which is abrupt yet generous, with a living and intensely blue sea; a coast where flysch is the highlight, an incredible formation with millions of years of geological history.
The Basque Country has obtained the best overall assessment by the WWF in 2016 for its development of management plans for protected areas in the Natura network. With 59 spaces included in this Network, the percentage of protected areas covers up to 23% of the Basque Country.
On many occasions, the Basque people have made their leisure time an extension of their work. For this reason, all types of rural sports in the Basque Country are related with a trade or with the traditional tasks of the farmhouses. Furthermore, traditional sports, such as pelota (Jai-Alai), rowing and cycling occupy a privileged place in the annual sporting calendar, alongside more international sports, such as football, basketball, golf and surfing.
From the most ancient artistic expressions to the most avant-garde museums, the Basque Country has priceless treasures, giving it a unique personality. It boasts themed museums related to the region’s economic development, such as the Railway Museum and the Mining Museum; others of international prestige, such as San Telmo and Fine Arts, as well as museums that have put Bilbao on the world map of museums, namely the Guggenheim, Balenciaga and Artium.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the most ambitious cultural projects of the 20th century. Its doors opened in 1997 and it became the forerunner for the transformation of the whole city. It is the symbol of the new Bilbao. Its permanent collection essentially consists of works by the most prominent artists of the past four decades and is supplemented by works on loan from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and special programmes sponsored by the Foundation.
Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum is devoted to the famous designer from Getaria, considered to be a genius of international haute couture. The museum consists of two buildings: the 19th century Aldamar Palace, which is home to the temporary exhibitions and the documentation centre; and the new annex. The Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum collection consists of around 1,600 items and is not only the largest collection of Balenciaga creations in the world but also the most representative.
Artium is a museum and centre for cultural activities, devoted to the collection, production, dissemination, research and diffusion of contemporary art, educating in contemporary culture and fostering the development of experiences through present-day creation. Through the experience of present-day art and culture, Artium develops the critical awareness of society and projects an image of a contemporary Alava and Vitoria-Gasteiz committed to art and culture.