Jyväskylä's Growth Stems from Know-How – the City Now Has the Chance to Make Some Bold Moves

Jyväskylä is home to the first lyceum and teachers's college that used Finnish as its language of instruction. This has earned Jyväskylä the nickname “Athens of Finland”. In recent years, the strong university city has also achieved fame with its fantastic economic growth and entrepreneurial success stories. Anne Sandelin, Director of Business Development and Employment for the city of Jyväskylä, believes that the city's current growth stems from know-how.

Jyväskylä is experiencing an active phase of growth. The migration has been positive in the attractive student city for several years, and, according to migratory studies, Jyväskylä is especially popular among families with children. The economic growth in the Jyväskylä region is now also the fastest in Europe.

– The regional center is very attractive. People move to Jyväskylä to study and work from all over Finland, also from other growth centers, such as Helsinki and Tampere, which creates activity and energy in the area. When people gather together, new ideas and stories start to emerge, and people quickly absorb new fields all the time. Jyväskylä is full of young spirit, and there is a lot of voluntary activity in the city, Sandelin says.

There are strong areas of industry in the Jyväskylä region, and the companies in the area are leaders on an international level. The historic Rifle Factory, for example, has contributed to the creation of many successful branches of industry.

Heavy industry played a key role in Jyväskylä, and the depression of the 1990s hit the sector hard. The traditional industries have since renewed their operations, and the Jyväskylä region now has a versatile economic structure that does not falter because of changes in one sector's economic situation.

– Knowledge-intensive services and the ICT sector have been in good shape for a long time, and now the export trade has also took off. The construction industry has grown strongly, and the city has managed to promote tourism well. The Lutakonaukio square, for example, has been built in Jyväskylä, where people can organize big events. At the same time, the area and its ports delight our inhabitants with their cultural offerings.

One percent of the construction costs in the area of Kangas in Jyväskylä is used for arts and culture, giving actors in the creative sector opportunities for business and reference on how to organize events. The city is proud of this, and the rest of Finland follows behind.

The growth of the area stems from entrepreneurial activities, and the city actively supports the business sector also through urban development. The Nova Hospital is being built in Kukkumäki, the Kangas area is developing a smoother way of living together with the residents, and a competence center for physical activity and well-being is being built in Hippos, just to name a few examples. The city is also investing in the development of the city center, a good example of which is the active Pihakatu mixed-use street with its brick-and- mortar stores.

– We are constantly looking for different cooperation models with the Chamber of Commerce, educational institutions and companies. Due to the revolution of work, the old work models will change, and Jyväskylä has been one of the first cities to react to this.

With the health, social services and regional government reform, the city is facing new challenges as the decision-making power and tax revenues are transferred from the city to the regional administration. People and companies regard the change as a positive one, however, and the regional government reform is also seen as an opportunity.

– We are facing completely new operations, and many traditional building blocks in the city are being
renewed. The spirit of the times is good and hopeful. People are not afraid to try out new things, and there
are a lot of young entrepreneurs here.

City of Jyväskylä
+358 14 266 0000
Established: 1837
“A young and active city contributes to the success of the region”