This study analyses the climate-dependent passive ventilative cooling (PVC) potential in central and southern Europe. This analysis was carried out in two phases: (1) evaluation of PVC potential as a climate-dependent variable, in different locations representative of European climate zones for both wind-drive airflow (comfort ventilation) and temperature gradient (environmental and structural cooling); (2) verification of the above PVC potential through dynamic energy simulations on a reference-building model located in selected cities. In the first phase, a parametrical analysis on the typical meteorological year of 55 European cities was carried out considering a new synthetic parameter – ‘residual CDH’ (CDHres) – representing the potential reduction of cooling degree hours due to PVC. In the second phase, the PVC potential was assessed through dynamic energy simulations on an office-building unit located in a sample of locations (10), varying building envelop physical parameters and VAC system configurations. Results show that PVC is an effective strategy for reducing cooling energy consumption in buildings in central and southern European climates. Furthermore, dynamic simulations demonstrate that internal heat capacity has an important role in PVC potential and validate the climatic analysis, especially when temperature gradient is taken into account.