• Helsinki

Facts and Figures


Helsinki, Finland


Over 664,000 people


217 km2

Educational Institutions

5 universities, 5 universities of applied sciences (over 60,000 students)

Other Facts

45 city libraries, Museums


Helsinki is the capital city of the Finland.

Helsinki designs good life


Finland has a strong design heritage, with many world-renowned designers, architects and brands, which are present also strongly in Helsinki. Finnish design is characterized by minimalism and clean lines. Finnish modernism from the 1950s is particularly popular, for example furniture designs by Alvar Aalto for Artek. Contemporary Finnish design combines these traditions with the latest innovations, and brands like Iittala’s glassware, Fiskars with their famous orange scissors and Marimekko’s ever popular clothing designs are globally well known.


However, as a city committed to design, Helsinki wants to take a step further. For Helsinki, design is a method to create a well-functioning and egalitarian city. We appreciate good design that does not only look pretty but makes things work and transforms our surroundings into pleasant, functional, safe and inspirational spaces. Design is a strategic tool for Helsinki to understand the needs of citizens and to solve meaningful challenges. It embraces all City of Helsinki operations from social services and health care to education and to the development of the urban environment.


The influence of design on the city’s development first brought up in the 2009 city strategy. The strong emphasis on design culminated in 2012, when Helsinki was granted the designation of World Design Capital 2012 (WDC) by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID). The theme of the year was “Open Helsinki – Embedding design in life”. During the year, design became a topic of social interest and conversation, and the user perspective as part of design was enhanced. New types of cooperation were established between different sectors, and new co-working methods and places emerged in Helsinki.


Since 2012, Helsinki’s unique relationship with the thinking and treatment of design has flourished, expanding throughout the local design community and as an essential function harnessed by the City organisation to understand the needs of citizens, improve liveability and continue to pave the way for a sustainable future.