Helsinki is a pocket-sized metropolis (1.3 million inhabitants in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area) with a bubbling cultural scene, good services and a high-level education system. It is a good city to live, work and visit. In 2009, Helsinki was
ranked 5th in the list of the most livable cities in the world presenting top locations of quality-of-life. The same year, it was also chosen the most popular European city among new entrepreneurs.

Helsinki is the centre of creative industries in Finland. Almost 40 000 people are working in creative industries and the aggregate turnover of the sector amounted to €9.6 billion in 2007. Creative industries have been the fastest growing business sector in Helsinki during the last years and it now offers more jobs than e.g. construction, financing and logistics sectors.

Helsinki is an interesting festival city with approximately 80 arts festivals organised in the Metropolitan Area every year. The themes of the festivals range from documentary film to flamenco and from media art to metal music. Besides artistically ambitious niche events, Helsinki warmly welcomes big events. In 2000, Helsinki was one of the European Cities of Culture. In 2005, the city hosted World Championships in Athletics and, in 2007 it successfully organized the Eurovision Song Contest.

Helsinki looks at the future with optimism. We count on our good education system – from kindergarten to universities – to continue cultivating the talent needed for developing our city. Design seen from a broad perspective – in city planning, architecture, industrial design and service design – is playing a more and more important role in the development of Helsinki, city services and consumer products.

Helsinki’s vision of design as an integral part of urban life has brought the nomination of the World Design Capital 2012 to our city. In 2012, Helsinki will invite both the Finnish and the international design community to create projects making our lives better. Design embedded in people’s lives is the overriding theme of Helsinki’s World Design Capital year and events.