Quotes

If you are a VC considering opening a new office, Finland and especially Helsinki should be at the top of your list. The country and the city offer exceptional regulatory stability, a business-friendly environment, a strong innovation culture coupled with low hierarchy, and widespread English proficiency. The country excels as a hub for cutting-edge advancements in digitalization and green transition, making it an ideal location for backing top-tier innovation. Even during an economic downturn, a strong foundation has been built for both early and late-stage ventures. Helsinki is ready when the economy starts thriving again.
Tian Yu, Senior Advisor at Helsinki Partners
Finland has a lot of early-stage funding available and maintained these levels during 2023. Over the recent decade, the Finnish startup ecosystem has matured – and after many successful exits and global growth stories, we now have a pool of highly experienced entrepreneurs both investing in and building the next wave of European tech companies. It’s no wonder that international VCs are interested in integrating into the Finnish ecosystem.
Jonne Kuittinen, Deputy Chief Executive at FVCA
Finland and Helsinki are truly at the forefront of global innovation. High entrepreneurial spirit, strong technological know-how, and a forward-thinking mindset create an environment where investment and startups can thrive. Helsinki is an attractive destination for global talent and in Antler’s residency program, 50% of applicants are expats. This is a sign that Helsinki is not just a place to invest: it's a place to shape the future.
Jussi Kallasvuo, partner at Antler
We have now been in the industry for almost 3 years, gradually learning the rhythm of fashion. In this time, we have created our own version of the typical rat race. Luckily, we live and work from Helsinki which is not a typical fashion capital, but a city with calmer phase where creativity can bloom freely. We also love the idea that we are a bit outsider, which I believe gives us a more objective perspective on the industry. The collection is heavily inspired by the journey of our brand, the synergy between work and leisure, and my thoughts on what work life is and what it should be. I've been told that I'm married to my work, but it is a happy marriage.
Jimi Vain, Creative Director at VAIN
Helsinki has become a global hotspot of both electronic music and fashion. This new era of transformation can largely be attributed to a small but growing scene of young adults from the fields of music, fashion, media art and design, working together. When designing clothes, I like to think about this creative crowd. The clothes in the VAIN AW24 collection are more than just wearable elements; they are the symbols of balance and inner strength. The idea of the collection is to encourage people to uncover meaning in every moment, whether it's a busy workday or a relaxing weekend.
Jimi Vain, Creative Director at VAIN
We are delighted to set for the very first time our annual Nordic Ceremony in the magnificent City of Helsinki. As the national culinary flagship of Finland, Helsinki will be an ideal location to bring together the crème de la crème of Nordic gastronomy. Together with the City of Helsinki, as well as the support of Business Finland/ Visit Finland, we will organize a Ceremony worthy of the talent of the chefs and the excellence of the restaurants that our inspectors have independently chosen to honor.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides
We are thrilled the MICHELIN Guide has chosen to organise one of the world’s most famous restaurant events in our city this year. It is an esteemed acknowledgement of Helsinki’s versatile food culture, which includes everything from high-quality fine dining and food industry innovations to berries and seafood from our local natural environment. We hope that as many residents of the city as possible will also have the opportunity enjoy the event’s atmosphere and flavours
Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki
Food is an essential part of every trip. For years now, its importance has increased while choosing a travel destination, as travellers seek out unforgettable culinary experiences with a distinct local flavour. There are great food tourism destinations in Finland, but the high quality of Finnish food and the one-of-a-kind gastronomic culture we have here are not yet very well known on the world stage. The MICHELIN Guide Ceremony in Helsinki will provide excellent support for our efforts to strengthen Finland's reputation as an attractive food tourism destination
Kristiina Hietasaari, Senior Director of Visit Finland
The unveiling of the new Nordic restaurant selection of the MICHELIN Guide is a great opportunity for local food industry representatives to showcase their expertise and specialties. Versatility, personality and uniqueness are Helsinki’s strengths when it comes to our food culture. We have the courage to combine new and old, eastern, western and northern, and come up with something completely off-the-beaten-path. Food is a key contributor to Helsinki’s overall vitality and appeal, and it is one of our main priority areas for the coming year
Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Economic Development Director for the City of Helsinki
Art is often and at its best an exploration, just like science. Both offer insights and discoveries to the openminded seeker, and you can never be sure what the expedition will uncover.
Juha Rouhikoski, Artistic Director of Lux Helsinki
The 2024 version of 90 Day Finn will kick off with a 30-day intensive immersion, recommended for all participants, and continue with an optional 60-day period.
Sami Häikiö, Program Manager, 90 Day Finn at Helsinki Partners 
Our goal is to create an experience, and our curatorial approach is an essential part of our events and music. In Helsinki, there isn’t anyone out there trying to put our work into a box. We are free to experiment and have our own approaches. It makes Helsinki definitely a very interesting place to be creative right now as there is space for anything really. There are no molds that we must try to fit in.
Dante Correa, CEO of BELOW0
As we navigate this relentless cycle of creation, we find ourselves constantly busy, adorned in the same clothes, despite being creators of fashion. The concept explores the paradox of months-long, intensive work culminating in a fleeting 15-minute runway show, only to swiftly transition to the next endeavour and keep running. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing – to be independent and resist the endless rat race. Ironically, I ended up creating my own. Luckily, Helsinki is a place that offers the counterbalance.
Jimi Vain, Creative Director at VAIN
Helsinki is culturally much more interesting than what it is made out to be. We aren’t Scandinavian, but we aren’t exactly Eastern European either. The city is beautiful in a classical Scandinavian sense, but somehow still grimy and rough around the edges. This juxtaposition of energies translates into our work as well and seems to resonate with a worldwide audience because it feels real and authentic.
Jimi Vain, Creative Director at VAIN
Slush is an important partner to the City of Helsinki in our efforts to attract new business, investments and experts to Helsinki. The event has played a major role in increasing awareness of Helsinki and the city’s vitality and attracting growth companies. Establishing new contacts and deepening existing ones is at the core of Slush cooperation, and we’re very proud of the fact that Slush has consolidated its position as a significant international event in Helsinki.
Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki
The City of Helsinki has the ambitious goal of becoming Europe’s leading platform for pilot projects, innovative business operations and impact investments. In order to meet this goal, we must also succeed in attracting international experts, and Slush, our partner, plays a major role in these efforts.
Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Director of Economic Development, the City of Helsinki
Helsinki gives early-stage startups a boost by providing them with coaching services and industry-specific incubator services in the fields of health technology, learning technology and innovative urban solutions. The City’s focus areas also include close cooperation with higher education institutions. Business incubators are meeting places for top Finnish researchers, entrepreneurs, students with entrepreneurial spirit and the entire innovation and business community of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, along with their international partners.
Paula Miettinen, Director of Business Services, the City of Helsinki’s Economic Development Department
At JUNKAN we want to combine this expertise with world-leading circular economy and sustainability expertise in Helsinki & Nordics, and while doing so, introduce a scalable circular textiles services platform – “a clothing as a service” for the European markets.
Yoko Yasuda, Director at JUNKAN Oy
As JUNKAN sets out on its journey to revolutionise textiles circular lifetime concept and offer choices for traditional ownership, it extends a warm invitation to new partners and innovators who share its vision for new circular textiles shared market ecosystem.
Jarkko Jussila, President, Europe at JUNKAN Oy
We have been fortunate to witness these three companies discover synergies and establish a new home in Helsinki, bolstering the local ecosystem. JUNKAN is poised to make a substantial impact on the circular textile industry in Europe.
Sonja Malin, Senior Advisor at Helsinki
One of Helsinki's main goals in the development of tourism is to become the world’s most sustainable travel destination. The fact that our ranking rose by eight places from last year is a sign that we are doing the right things. Our goal to be the world’s most sustainable travel destination is already within reach. For this, we owe big thanks to all our stakeholders – above all to those companies that are pioneers in sustainability.
Nina Vesterinen, Tourism Director at the City of Helsinki
We are thrilled to welcome Blanca de la Torre and Kati Kivinen as head curators of Helsinki Biennial’s third edition. Their curatorial practice is aligned with HAM’s future-orientated vision: we want to create a platform for art that wholeheartedly welcomes everyone to engage with the transformative potential of art, and encourages responsible action towards sustainable exhibition-making. Helsinki Biennial is both internationally ambitious and locally meaningful, and presents art in dialogue with the beautiful nature of Helsinki’s archipelago.
Arja Miller, Director of HAM Helsinki Art Museum and Helsinki Biennial
We share a longstanding interest in ecological issues and think of sustainability in a holistic way. Our shared curatorial practice includes creating sustainability guidelines that steer exhibition-making from start to finish. We both find it exciting to work in the context of Helsinki – a city that has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. We are very much looking forward to making a shared contribution to this.
Blanca de la Torre and Kati Kivinen, the head curators of Helsinki Biennial 2025
Architecture and design education offer children and young people the keys to exploring and appreciating their surroundings as a learning environment, whether it’s a school, a neighbourhood or a city. As a city, we can make see to it that, as part of the curriculum, architecture and design education support the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as their opportunities to be active and influence their own living environment.
Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer at the City of Helsinki
Good everyday life means balance, fluency, security, rest and charging my batteries; work and other aspects of life in balance. The importance of home, the workplace and our daily routes is highlighted – they need to be functional, beautiful and pleasant.
Ulla Koskinen, the curator of Helsinki Design Week's main exhibition
Helsinki’s offering in summer 2023 to both residents and visitors reflect what is best about Helsinki. The city’s maritime environment available to all is a source of wellbeing, supporting physical health and providing a source of invigoration and recreation. HAM Helsinki Art Museum enriches that exquisite quality of Helsinki by combining wellbeing with culture at Helsinki Biennial
Laura Aalto, Executive Director of the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Division
We are proud of our international biennial which showcases Helsinki’s cultural richness and spirit to the world. This year, Helsinki Biennial will be even closer to the people of Helsinki so that each resident and visitor will be able to experience art and be inspired by it. Art and culture are a great asset and source of pride for us; by bringing them to the heart of the city, we can spark conversations and strengthen community, togetherness and creativity – the very things that Helsinki is built upon.
Juhana Vartiainen, the Mayor of Helsinki
Helsinki Biennial, now launching its second edition, has become an intrinsic part of what HAM does. The biennial is both internationally ambitious while remaining a truly local event realised through the shared efforts of HAM and the City of Helsinki. Global challenges, such as biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, affect us all. In this time, we need fresh ways of understanding, perceiving, and finding answers to difficult questions. Artists have a special skill to give new forms to history, places, feeling, and thought: their artworks can represent the present and create the future, inviting visitors to gain new points of view, insight, and at times, consolation.
Arja Miller, director of HAM Helsinki Art Museum
The biennial takes its point of departure from Vallisaari Island, the regenerative energy of multispecies landscapes, and data which is manipulated by algorithms. It gathers ideas from an eclectic mix of influences – from natural science and cosmology, the supernatural and artificial intelligence, data science and science fiction, the sense-making practices of humans and nonhumans, the actions of sentient and other worldly beings – to identify some of the conditions through which new directions may emerge.
Joasia Krysa, curator of Helsinki Biennial
It is natural for Finnish architects to bring up the topic and open up discussion in an international setting and challenge the professionals in times where we have to actively seek more sustainable solutions in all areas of society. The exhibition highlights the role of architects as questioners of social issues and protectors of nature and the common good.
Arja Renell, curator of the Huussi exhibition
It is good to see the innovation from Helsinki’s natural sites become part of an important international discussion. Helsinki works hard on experiments that support new sustainable lifestyle and Helsinki Huussi is a perfect example. Helsinki Huussi represents well the spirit of Helsinki: we are natural, inventive and take responsibility for the Earth’s future. Huussi has already charmed the residents of Helsinki, right down to the heart shape on the door.
Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer at the City of Helsinki
It’s wonderful and important to bring together the world's leading circular economy players in Helsinki. Circular economy solutions can increase the resilience of societies to crises and build the foundations for future prosperity. We also have to act because the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity will not wait. Many circular economy solutions already exist, but by working together we can accelerate their adoption around the world.
Kari Herlevi, Director of Sitra's Global Cooperation on Sustainability Solutions
Circular economy business models can be used to develop sustainable business and support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable business is built on the circular economy. By working together, companies can develop circular economy solutions for all stages of the value chain. This will benefit all players in the sector.
Mira Jarkko, Project Manager for the Cluster Programme for Circular Economy
It is important that Finnish material innovations and internationally recognized design expertise are combined. The field of fashion is going through one of its biggest transition periods. The green transition is underway, and a textile strategy is being prepared in the EU, which will regulate e.g. the use of materials and recycling of textiles. This offers Finland a lot of opportunities, but big changes require both domestic and international cooperation.
Miia Koski, CEO of Juni Communication
The Nordic countries are similar in many ways, and our commonalities are shown in the current state of the fashion industry. Our shared values of equality and innovation have birthed some of the most forward-thinking materials and companies, as well as fostered a slew of creative talent in global demand. In the midst of the most transformative period that fashion has ever seen, we want to explore how the Nordics can deepen their impact on the industry — together.
Vappu Mänty, Director of PR and Communication at Helsinki Partners
Helsinki has always represented to me freedom and the opportunity to experience diversity, as well as the opportunity to blend in with the crowd at the same time.
Annu Kemppainen, Executive Director of the Helsinki Pride community
Helsinki Pride Week is the biggest cultural and human rights event in Finland. Pride Week takes place this year from 26 June to 2 July, and everyone is invited to enjoy the Helsinki Pride parade and park celebrations on Saturday 1 July. The City of Helsinki has been Pride’s main cooperation partner for years. It’s a big declaration that puts Helsinki in the position of value leader.
Annu Kemppainen, Executive Director of the Helsinki Pride community
Helsinki is still a hidden gem tourist destination among the rainbow community. This is a city where human rights are realised and everyone is welcome, and the rainbow scene lives and develops constantly. This summer, the legendary DTM gay club will reopen in a new location. In Helsinki, visitors can combine in a unique way the urban buzz – cultural experiences, top restaurants and lively nightlife – with the peace offered by the surrounding nature and archipelago.
Hannu Medina, Founder of We Speak Gay Community and Gay Travel Finland
Events and cultural experiences in Helsinki are designed for everybody, regardless of their socioeconomic status. We call it a Nordic approach to art and culture – a key enabler of a good life. To make the impact real – and the ensuing happiness long-lasting, Helsinki is singularly focused on serving its residents from retirees to toddlers.
Mari Männistö, Culture Director at the City of Helsinki
We invite schools and student groups to general rehearsals for free and collaborate with music institutes to organize Little Overture - concerts before symphony concerts. In addition, we are taking part in the Orchestra Academy of the Helsinki Music Centre. It creates a unique learning environment in orchestral music for future professionals, studying in the world-famous Sibelius Academy.
Aleksi Malmberg, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
This Generation triennial was born out of joint discussions between Amos Rex and the Helsinki Youth Services. Now every three years we give space to very young artists. This is one of our boldest ventures. In their works, young artists seek new ways to approach the most pressing issues of our time; the state of nature and its coexistence with humankind, norms related to gender identity and appearance, and digital exhaustion.
Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex Art Museum
Events and cultural experiences in Helsinki are designed for everybody, regardless of their socioeconomic status. We call it a Nordic approach to art and culture – a key enabler of a good life. To make the impact real – and the ensuing happiness long-lasting, Helsinki is singularly focused on serving its residents from retirees to toddlers.
Mari Männistö, Culture Director at the City of Helsinki
We invite schools and student groups to general rehearsals for free and collaborate with music institutes to organize Little Overture - concerts before symphony concerts. In addition, we are taking part in the Orchestra Academy of the Helsinki Music Centre. It creates a unique learning environment in orchestral music for future professionals, studying in the world-famous Sibelius Academy.
Aleksi Malmberg, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
This Generation triennial was born out of joint discussions between Amos Rex and the Helsinki Youth Services. Now every three years we give space to very young artists. This is one of our boldest ventures. In their works, young artists seek new ways to approach the most pressing issues of our time; the state of nature and its coexistence with humankind, norms related to gender identity and appearance, and digital exhaustion.
Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex Art Museum
How might contamination be a force for positive change? How can we use biennials for the wider regeneration of things? How might agency extend beyond humans to other nonhuman entities and assemblages, including artificial intelligences? How might these threads be channelled into rethinking the ways that practices and future worlds might be conceived?
Joasia Krysa, Curator of Helsinki Biennial 2023
As contamination changes world-making projects, mutual worlds –– and new directions –– may emerge.
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, anthropologist
A healthy startup economy is important for any country because it creates new jobs, innovations for societies at large and can potentially solve big problems that are faced globally. At Maria 01, we carefully match startups with the right investors, and that’s one of our recipes for success. We’ve managed to create a strong and supportive start up community, and the numbers tell the story of how impactful that really is. Maria 01 is currently the hotspot for Finnish and Nordic startups. In the future, we want to be a hot spot Europe-wide and globally. 
Ville Simola, CEO of Maria 01
As the report clearly shows, the impact of Maria 01 is remarkable for the whole ecosystem growth. Not only it has created a great amount of jobs but also plays a significant role in growing tax income for the area. In the future, more and more companies can thrive and make the most out of this unique growing startup hub that Maria 01 already is.
Marja-Leena Rinkineva, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Helsinki
We use four main general criteria when selecting startups to join our community: scalability, product stage, funding status and the team. In addition, we emphasise the importance of SDGs. For example, startups that focus on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, or affordable healthcare can be evaluated based on their potential impact on SDGs. We see SDGs playing a very important role in evaluating the potential social and environmental impact of the startup’s product or service, the startup’s alignment to sustainable practices, and the startup’s alignment with the goals of the local community and the larger global community. More and more we also see investors aligning with the goals and therefore emphasising impact-related factors as a requirement for future investments.
Ville Simola, CEO of Maria 01
We see a vibrant cultural sphere that is accessible and affordable for all citizens as a major contributor to everyday happiness. And we are looking at culture through a broad lens: from urban city culture, to sauna culture, to high-end cultural offerings, such as the world-famous Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s a diverse mix.
Reetta Heiskanen, Deputy Culture Director at the City of Helsinki