I often say that it makes sense to come to Helsinki: Helsinki is small enough to be a test-bed for new innovations, but large enough to deliver scalable results. In the future, we also want to grow in size – not just in the size of corporations, but in size of impact, responsibility and influence. This is why we need the best talent and innovations to make Helsinki their home
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
This is a safe, clean, well organised city which is home to people who are fair, honest and well educated. During the past decade, Helsinki has become one of the most innovative cities in the world. I have witnessed this within the ecosystem Finland has designed to encourage startups and new innovations.
Evon Blomstedt, founder of HUONE Meeting Venues
The Majamaja concept is driven by the need to radically rethink and to minimize our ecological impact. The purpose of Majamaja is to show how small-scale architecture, combined with green technology, can compensate for big volumes and centralized on-grid systems. Majamaja offers dwellers an opportunity to disconnect from daily routines and an educational eco-living experience, yet close to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Pekka Littow, Majamaja architect
Design is and should be present in everything we do. Now more than ever we must ask ourselves how design can improve lives, create commitment to modern democratic values, promote sustainability and innovation in urbanization, and provide us the tools needed for championing in the post-COVID world. I believe in exposing people to these questions through design. Partnership with Helsinki Design Week helps us achieve that.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Helsinki wants to be the city that pioneers digital innovation to create engaging solutions for the future of our cities. The collaboration between Helsinki Design Week and Virtual Helsinki shows the potential for this kind of technology to not only be a playful, alternative and sustainable way to experience our city, but also demonstrates the impact it can have on how places might be envisioned, designed and managed in the future.
Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer at the City of Helsinki
As the largest design festival in the Nordic countries, the aim this year is to make Helsinki Design Week as safe and as accessible as possible for Helsinki’s citizens and our international visitors. The newly reopened Olympic Stadium is a fitting location to host the main Helsinki Design Week exhibition and Children’s Design Weekend, but we are also excited to expand our programme into a comprehensive digital – and for the first time – virtual format. We look forward to welcoming visitors from across the world to join the wider discussion on why Commitment Matters.
Anni Korkman, Programme Director of the Helsinki Design Week
From the very beginning we created Art Gifts as an open source project. This is our gift to our colleagues working on arts and events in cities around the world. We are delighted that the Art Gifts were so well received in Helsinki. Developing such a concept and application for just one week in one city is a big effort. By now sharing the concept and code, we hope to encourage our peers everywhere to present Art Gifts with local artists, and to further develop the system.
Marko Ahtisaari, Artistic Director, Helsinki Events Foundation
The impacts of Covid-19 have been especially severe for art, culture and events. The pandemic has created conditions where it has been necessary to reimagine the way culture is made and experienced. The Art Gift concept together with the open source application are a brilliant example of how we can solve problems by combining artistic and technological competence. In this case, how to offer safe physical performances at scale while offering artists work opportunities in these trying times.
Mari Männistö, the Cultural Director of the City of Helsinki
If there’s anything good about the coronavirus, it just might be the fact that we have been forced to rethink our ways of doing things in a new way. Good ideas and an innovative culture of experimenting are now truly welcome.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
This summer is a critical time for many entrepreneurs in Helsinki. The Senate Square terrace experiment does not only serve the businesses that will operate in the area but also acts as a refreshing shot for the whole city centre, the entrepreneurs, domestic travel and for the international travel that is slowly starting to resume. 
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Helsinki has a fine culinary and restaurant culture and a wonderful tradition of allotment gardens. Senate Square has become a culinary oasis and a showcase of quality restaurants in Helsinki. We believe that those who travel in the future will be looking for local experiences just like this. Even if we may travel less in the future, we want to invest more in it and enjoy local services together with the locals.
Laura Aalto, CEO of Helsinki Marketing
Helsinki Day is one of our biggest urban festivals and traditionally a communal celebration for the birthday of the capital city. This year we are proud to host ALMA in Virtual Helsinki. Having her historic concert as part of the festival programming makes this year even more special.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Playing a VR show of this scale this was something I didn’t even know was possible to do! Something I've never done and something my fans probably haven't ever seen before! It’s the debut show of my album ‘Have U Seen Her?’ I’m so excited to share it like this. It’s amazing to be able to invite fans to step into the dreamworld we’re crafted digitally from my imagination. Absolutely thrilled that the city of Helsinki is supporting my music and even more special that it’s happening on Helsinki Day! Welcome to my dreams and nightmares people! It's gonna’ be unreal!
ALMA, singer
Helsinki’s mission is to be the most functional city in the world. Under these extraordinary circumstances, this is more important than ever. Virtual Helsinki demonstrates how important it is for cities to be agile and adaptive, and how a crisis can be used as a driver for technical innovation and creativity. While Virtual Helsinki has been used to create an alternative way of experiencing Helsinki and special communal moments this Spring, the platform is also now contributing to Helsinki’s creative economy by showing us that art and culture can still be created and celebrated by all during an international lockdown.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Due to the exceptional circumstances across the globe, we have taken the difficult decision to move Helsinki Biennial 2020 to the year 2021. We believe this is the most responsible option when considering both our local citizens and international guests. This way too, the biennial can realise the inspiring exhibition that was envisaged and receive the international engagement it deserves. Helsinki is a global city full of events and we are doing our best now to predict how the coronavirus pandemic will influence the travel, event and creative industries. Throughout this time, Helsinki will continue developing as a leading international city of arts and culture.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of the City of Helsinki
The current exceptional situation in the world has called attention to the substantial themes of the biennial; interconnectedness and the mutual dependence it causes. The importance of hope and art has only increased. Although we already miss art encounters, we now turn our gaze to next year when we can let the biennial artists and their works shine fully, creating truly unforgettable experiences for our visitors.
Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola, curators of Helsinki Biennial and Helsinki Art Museum
Museums now have the possibility to discuss new ways of producing art events, as well as the services and the user experiences linked to them. The appetite for virtual and digital interaction is now larger than ever, and we will take this into consideration when planning the biennial for 2021.
Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director of Helsinki Biennial and Helsinki Art Museum
May Day is one of the largest public holidays of the calendar year, normally bringing together many of Helsinki’s 650,000 residents to celebrate. This year will be a very different May Day as we are forced to celebrate apart. However, even though we won’t be physically together, we can still enjoy May Day as a community, together in spirit.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
The world will be a very different place post-COVID-19 and cities needs to be innovative when it comes to creating new ways to provide experiences. Helsinki wants to be the city that pioneers this digital innovation to create solutions. Virtual Helsinki demonstrates the opportunities for this kind of technology to change how we experience cities and destinations in the future.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Art and culture form an essential part of Helsinki’s story. We recognise how investment in the arts positively adds to the development of the city, but also directly to the wellbeing of our citizens. Helsinki Biennial will both provoke and inspire audiences by confronting significant global issues. Its location on an island creates a truly unique setting where the art is in continuous dialogue with the surrounding nature, and importantly it is open, free of charge, to everyone.
Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki
We are extremely honoured at Amos Rex to receive the LCD Award for New Cultural Destination of the Year: Europe. It is a significant award for us, as we aim to serve the international public as an art museum, architectural attraction and urban meeting place. We are delighted to see how Amos Rex is contributing to Helsinki’s attractiveness as a cultural city in Europe.
Kai Kartio, Museum Director, Amos Rex
Helsinki believes in culture. The city is a diversified and internationally attractive city of arts and culture, with Amos Rex as one of the leading attractions. Working together with cultural institutions such as Amos Rex, the new central library Oodi and the upcoming international art event Helsinki Biennial, we are strengthening Helsinki’s position as a must-visit city of culture.
Laura Aalto, CEO, Helsinki Marketing
Helsinki’s appeal as a congress city has grown significantly over the past five years. Helsinki has gained a reputation for being a reliable city that is close to nature and where everything works smoothly. This explains why Helsinki has now become the most popular congress city in the Nordic countries, ahead of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.
Leena Lassila, Director, Global Sales, Helsinki Marketing
Helsinki is now focusing on growing conference tourism. The greatest interest in Helsinki is coming from Great Britain, where many agents seeking venues for international meetings are located.
Leena Lassila, Director, Global Sales, Helsinki Marketing
Our clients are increasingly demanding concrete measures from us in terms of sustainable development. Inspired by the pilot, we are now measuring the carbon footprint of our climate-friendly meeting package for clients. Finlandia Hall has drawn up a Commitment 2050 action plan, we are active in Business Finland’s Sustainable Travel programme and we have joined the City of Helsinki’s climate partners. All of these measures support the efforts that we have already made at Finlandia Hall towards sustainable development and responsibility.
Minna Sauramaa, Marketing and Customer Experience Director, Finlandia Hall
Helsinki is located in one of the world's most secure countries and inhabited by the world’s happiest people. The majority of foreign experts who have settled in Helsinki are satisfied with the quality of life here. The experience of a happy, good life is a combination of tangible – like housing, transportation, jobs and infrastructure – and intangible things. The intangibles – sense of trust and community, equality, closeness to nature – are essential values in building the quality of life.
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
Finding the best talent in the world is critical for us and other tech companies in Helsinki. It is a great place to live and work, with the best education system, best healthcare, opportunities to families, amazing international companies and happiest people in the world! It is easy to demonstrate that when we bring people here.
Kristo Ovaska, CEO of Smartly
Helsinki has all it takes to make you feel like home but the problem was, not too many knew about its beautiful features. To make the world aware of what Helsinki has to offer, the city just needed a little repackaging.
Alexander Pihlainen, CEO of brand company Bou
The shift towards carbon neutrality requires both major structural changes and everyday actions. Individual choices matter: According to recent studies, in order to stop further climate warming, every Finn should reduce their carbon footprint from 10.3 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes by the year 2030. If one person in each of the 2.6 million households existing in Finland would reduce their carbon footprint by 20 per cent, we would reach 38 per cent of the goals set for Finland in the Paris climate agreement for reducing emissions.
Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen
Locals in Helsinki are very concerned about climate crisis, over two thirds of us think it’s the most worrying thing affecting our future. Many feel frustrated that there’s nothing they can do to stop it. There’s a great demand for the frustration to be channelled into something productive that allows us to rethink our lifestyle and consumer patterns. As a service, Think Sustainably gives you concrete tools for that. We certainly need everybody on board.
Tia Hallanoro
Helsinki is the perfect test-bed for solutions that can later be scaled-up for the world’s megacities. Operating like a city-scale laboratory, Helsinki is eager to experiment with policies and initiatives that would not be possible elsewhere. The City is able to effect change in this way because of its compact size, well-functioning infrastructure and well-developed knowledge-economy cluster. Helsinki is not finished developing its sustainable policies but is ready to make systematic efforts, both big and small, which work towards achieving a more sustainable world, we hope that others can also learn from our experiments.
Laura Aalto
This is the result of close collaboration and a fine achievement for the entire industry. Helsinki is the world’s most functional city, also for congress organisers.
Leena Lassila
This year we are piloting a responsible congress organisation model that offers event organisers easy-to-use tools to organising even more responsible events.
Leena Lassila
Even though our accommodation capacity is quite a lot smaller than the other Nordic capitals, we are still the number one congress city in the Nordics.
Leena Lassila
By collaborating with Tencent and the world’s leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider Whim, we have been able to develop an innovative user-based service that is the first of its kind in the world. The mobile service will help us ensure that visitors gain easy access to the best locally recommended experiences our city has to offer. It’s like having a personal guide but in a digital format, the experience is the same – in Helsinki you can be sure that everything will go smoothly and that you will enjoy your stay.
Tia Hallanoro
Helsinki wants to be the city in the world that best capitalises on digitalisation and the city is already a significant centre for startup culture and AR/VR development. At its best, digitalisation is increasingly successful services for the citizens and a better Helsinki experience for tourists. A virtual experience representing top quality is a good example of how Helsinki can be sensed in a new way
Helsinki Mayor, Jan Vapaavuori
The residence is an excellent example of participatory city marketing that utilises the skills and followers of international content producers in a new way. It generates an enormous amount of high-quality content about Helsinki through many different lenses and over many different channels
Social Media Manager Hanna Toivonen
This year’s festival will highlight the themes of responsibility and environmental values. Volunteers can join a paddling excursion to pick up trash from the islands, and families can enjoy the ‘Adventure in Bird Paradise’ on the island of Harakka
Event Producer Marianne Saukkonen
The model was suitable for all communications and marketing: personal contacts are the most effective tool. This was professional and well-planned work that can be applied to a wide range of situations.
The jury at the Finnish Championships in Local and Regional Marketing
Altogether 243 international cruise ships will visit Helsinki this summer, bringing with them an estimated 460,000 cruise visitors, which would be a new record for us
Project Manager Jenny Taipale
Helsinki has long been one of the top 20 congress cities in the world*. Our appeal is based on our reputation for reliability, the quality of services here, our excellent connections to other parts of the world, and the high level of safety and security. Big congresses are also increasingly attracted to Helsinki by our world-class expertise and the high level of research in many fields of science.
Kaiju Pitkänen, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau
The international convention of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the ESHRE annual meeting represent just half a percent of all the major congresses with around 10,000 participants that tour around the world, and the competition to attract them is really intense. These huge meetings are a huge stimulus to local businesses. The ESHRE annual meeting alone is expected to generate around 15 million euros in tourism income for Helsinki.
Kaiju Pitkänen, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau
The EAACI Congress 2017 will be one of the biggest international scientific meetings ever held in Finland. Helsinki won the bid not only due our expertise in this field but also very much due to the perseverance and tenacity of Professor Lauerma. Not only will the congress be very important for the scientific community, its economic impact is expected to exceed 15 million euros.
Kaiju Pitkänen, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau
In terms of the general rating and level of recommendations, the results are the best we have seen in the hundreds of event surveys we have carried out over the past 10 years. Only three other events have come close in terms of overall impression or recommendations, but no other event has rated as highly in terms of both. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Klaus Virkkunen, Research Director at Sponsor Insight
This year visitors really fell in love with Lux Helsinki and made it their own. The event was considered entertaining, interesting and especially beautiful, which was also reflected very strongly in social media and by the fact that nearly all of those who responded to the survey would recommend the event to a friend.
Tuulikki Becker, CEO of Visit Helsinki
Events had a big impact on tourism last year. The biggest of these, Gymnaestrada in July, brought 21,000 participants from around the world to Helsinki. The International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship that began in December also attracted a large number of visitors, thanks in part to the affordable ticket prices. Japan Week last October in turn helped generate more overnight stays by visitors from Japan.
Tuulikki Becker, CEO, Visit Helsinki
The outlook for tourism in Helsinki Region looks bright, as we are finally gaining increased accommodation capacity of around 1000 beds. We expect this to be reflected positively in the number of overnight stays, and it should also make it easier for us to attract even more major international events.
Tuulikki Becker, CEO, Visit Helsinki
New Year’s Eve in Senate Square is a fun family event in which shared experiences are the most important thing. This year again we expect around 20 to 25 thousand people.
Erika Poikolainen, Executive Event Producer at Visit Helsinki
Performing at the New Year’s Eve celebrations of my lovely hometown of Helsinki is really a dream come true! We have put a lot of time and love into designing and rehearsing this show. I can’t imagine a more magical moment: the world’s most beautiful Empire-style centre, all the beautiful people there, New Year’s Eve, the beauty and majesty of life and time, the music, the joy and the nostalgia. I’m looking forward to it with enormous excitement.
Maija Vilkkumaa, artist
Visitors from China generated 137 million euros in tourism income for Helsinki Region in the first three quarters of this year. At the same time, visitors from Russia generated tourism income of around 90 million euros.
Tuulikki Becker, CEO, Visit Helsinki