European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Tilos

Europe’s friendliest island?


Tilos won the EU Sustainable Energy Award 2017 with its renewable energy-based battery station and smart microgrid, sending a very strong message that alternative, community-level schemes that foster energy storage are becoming a viable reality and a way to address energy security for islands.

But the 800-strong community might also be Europe’s friendliest island, having made 50 refugees feel at home. New arrivals are being given accommodation and residency, as long as they work and integrate.

Most migrants in Greece live in camps, while Tilos has housed 50 migrants.

Kaousay al Damad

Kaousay al Damad came to Tilos from a camp on Lesbos. He works in the bakery: – “I lost seven months in Lesbos. I need work. I’m not coming here for eating, for sleeping, for ‘please give me money’ or ‘please give me home.’ When I arrived to Tilos, all my life changed. This is not Tilos. This name is not Tilos, it is dreamland.”

The Syrians of Tilos have been here less than a year. Many locals hope they will stay.

Maria Kamma is the Mayor of Tilos: ”If this small island managed to do this then it is a bright example that with a little bit of effort there will be no refugee crisis, no humanitarian crisis, there will be no refugee problem, not only in Greece but in all of Europe, too.”

Maria Kamma is the chairman of the Greek island organisation Hellenic Small Islands Network (HSIN), proud member of ESIN, which will hold its 2018 annual general meeting on Tilos in May, 2018.


Tilos wins the EUSEW 2017 award

Tilos WomenGreek island Tilos (pop 780) is going from oil-based electricity, with an undersea cable from neighbouring Kos, to a battery-based storage system that will turn the island into a resilient RES-based microgrid using only wind and solar power.

For this, it won the EUSEW 2017 award yesterday evening.

Competitors were ESIN represented by Simskäla, one of the Aland islands, and Bornholm in Denmark. Tilos deserves it well, showing how islands can move away from relying on expensive and polluting oil-based energy imports, avoid power cuts and contribute towards renewable energy growth.

Congratulations to Maria Kamma, mayor of Tilos, and all of her 780 islanders!




Vinter i skärgården / Winter in Stockholm archipelago

The first boat has arrived at the Tilos pier, while the Stockholm archipelago piers in the north of Europe are still surrounded by melting ice.

Thanks Nina Shaieste for the southern pic and Mats Lindfors for the northern one.

Greek TV covers the small islands of Europe


Greek journalist Kostas Argyros, seconded by Eleni Korovila and a film team, has been island-hopping around Europe, covering some of its small islands. On Sunday evening, the Greek television program “28europe” showed his 45 minute long report


Such great contributions from islanders Bengt, Lefteris, Tarja, Camille, Christian, Denis, Laurids and Maria. Such beautiful portraits of Skaftö (though Bengt seems a bit mislocated), Prangli in Estonia, Eigg in Scotland, the Åland Islands, Houat and Ouessant in France, Sejerø in Denmark and Tilos in Greece. But not just beauty – Kostas catches some of the important issues regarding life on small islands.

I especially like the interviews with Tarja from Prangli and Maria from Tilos.

tarja maria

All in all: a fantastic portrait of ESIN (the only thing missing is English subtitles).


Anastasios Aliferis

Three years have passed since Anastasios Aliferis passed away. He was the Mayor of Tilos, a small island north of Rhodes.

Tasos, as he was called among his friends, was the medical doctor of his island and started a telemedicine project eventually becoming a pilot for islands all over the Mediterranean. Also an unusual bird lover, mobilising over 6,000 ornithologists from all over Europe and the majority of his islanders, in an appeal that lead to Tilos becoming a protected bird sanctuary. In 2008 he carried out the marriage of two homosexual couples, for which he was threatened with imprisonment.

I remember him well from the Kasnäs meeting with ESIN in 2008 and from a meeting in Tinos two years later. I remember him talking about small islands being culturally and geographically defined areas of Europe, having common features but big differences in development levels as well as lacking cooperation. In 2010, he proposed that the European Parliament build a new region comprised of the small European islands.

What a beautiful idea. I promise to keep it alive, Tasos.