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Title: Jyväskylä  
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Subject: Highways in Finland, Jyväskylä Airport, Finland, List of the busiest airports in the Nordic countries, University of Jyväskylä
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Jyväskylän kaupunki
Coat of arms of Jyväskylä
Coat of arms
Country Finland
Region Central Finland
Sub-region Jyväskylä sub-region
Charter 1837
 • City manager Markku Andersson
Area (2011-01-01)[1]
 • City 1,466.34 km2 (566.16 sq mi)
 • Land 1,170.99 km2 (452.12 sq mi)
 • Water 295.35 km2 (114.04 sq mi)
 • Urban 99,25 km2 (3,832 sq mi)
Area rank 70th largest in Finland
Population (2014-09-30)[2]
 • City 135,567
 • Rank 7th largest in Finland
 • Density 115.77/km2 (299.8/sq mi)
 • Urban 117,974
 • Urban density 1,188.7/km2 (3,079/sq mi)
Population by native language[3]
 • Finnish 96.7% (official)
 • Swedish 0.2%
 • Others 3%
Population by age[4]
 • 0 to 14 16.4%
 • 15 to 64 69.8%
 • 65 or older 13.8%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[5] 19%
Unemployment rate 11.8%

Jyväskylä (Finnish pronunciation: ) is a city and municipality in Central Finland in the western part of the Finnish Lakeland. It is the largest city in Central Finland and on the Finnish Lakeland. Jyväskylä is located on the northern coast of Lake Päijänne, 147 kilometres (91 mi) north-east of Tampere and 270 kilometres (170 mi) north of Helsinki. The hilly and forested terrain in Jyväskylä is surrounded by hundreds of lakes. Summers in Jyväskylä are warm and winters cold and snowy.

Elias Lönnrot, the compiler of the Finnish national epic Kalevala, gave the city a nickname "Athens of Finland". This nickname is used to describe the major role of Jyväskylä as an education centre and the first place in the world to provide education in Finnish.[6]

The works of the most famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto can be seen throughout the city. The city hosts Neste Oil Rally Finland, which is part of the World Rally Championship. It is also home of the annual Jyväskylä Arts Festival.

As of 30 September 2014, Jyväskylä had a population of 135,567.[2] The city has been one of the fastest growing cities in Finland since World War II. In 1940 there were only 8000 inhabitants in Jyväskylä. The Jyväskylä sub-region includes Jyväskylä, Hankasalmi, Laukaa, Muurame, Petäjävesi, Toivakka and Uurainen.


Jyväskylä town square in the early 20th century
Kirkkopuisto Park in the early 1900s.
Jyskä Valmet factory in the 1970s.

In the Jyväskylä region, there are archeological findings from the Stone Age. Cultivation had already started on the area 3500 years ago. According to the oldest available taxation documents (maakirja) there were seven estates on the Jyväskylä region in 1539. One of them, the estate of Mattila, alone possessed the areas stretching from the village of Keljo to the villages of Vesanka and Palokka. The oldest estate in Jyväskylä continuously held by the same family is the estate of Lahti, which emerged when the estate of Mattila was split for two brothers in 1600.[7] The history of the estate of Lahti and the family of Lahti have had a significant impact on the development of Jyväskylä region. Lahdenrinne in the south-west corner of Jyväsjärvi lake belongs to the old heartland of the estate of Lahti.

The City of Jyväskylä was founded on 22 March 1837 by Czar Nicholas I of Russia and the infrastructure was essentially built from scratch. The original town was built between Lake Jyväsjärvi (which is connected to Lake Päijänne) and the Jyväskylä ridge (Harju), and consisted of most of the current grid-style city centre.

The establishment of schools in the 1850s and 1860s proved to be the most important step from the point of view of the later development of Jyväskylä. The first three Finnish-speaking schools in the world were founded in Jyväskylä, the lycée in 1858, the teachers’ college in 1863, and the girls’ school in 1864. Well-trained teaching staff and pupils from different parts of the country changed the atmosphere of Jyväskylä irrevocably.[8]

In the early 20th century, the town expanded several times. Most of today's Jyväskylä was built after the Continuation war, when refugees from Karelia and other parts of the country moved to the city and housing was badly needed. During 21st century Jyväskylä has grown fast – by over 1,000 inhabitants every year.[9]

Säynätsalo was consolidated with Jyväskylä in 1993. Jyväskylän maalaiskunta and Korpilahti, for their part, on January 1, 2009.


The second part of the city's name, kylä, means village. The first part of the city's name, jyväs, has been associated with Taxus, a genus of yews, and the Old Prussian word juwis. It has also been speculated that the word jyväs refers to the sun's reflection of the surface of the water.[10]


Current Finnish Minister of Public Administration and Local Government Henna Virkkunen collected more votes in the municipal elections 2008 than any other candidate in the city.

The city council in Jyväskylä is the main decision making body in local level. Its 75 members are elected every fourth year in municipal elections. The city council elects the mayor. The current mayor is Markku Andersson. He is the former mayor of Lappeenranta.[11]

Seat distribution in the city council

Party Seats 2012 2012% 2008% 2004% 2000% 1996% 1992% 1988% 1984% 1980% 1976%
Social Democrats 17 24,1% 26,6% 29,9% 31,9% 33,7% 35,8% 33,3% 32,4% 33,0% 33,1%
National Coalition Party 13 18,6% 21,0% 20,0% 20,6% 22,9% 20,0% 25,7% 25,4% 25,7% 23,8%
Centre Party 11 17,0% 19,1% 19,1% 17,3% 13,3% 10,2% 12,1% 12,1% 9,7% 7,0%
True Finns 8 11,6% 4,5% 0,3% - - 2,8% 4,2% 4,8% 1,1% 1,1%
Green League 7 11,1% 11,7% 11,5% 11,4% 10,3% 10,0% 2,8% 3,7% - -
Left Alliance 6 9,2% 8,5% 9,0% 9,6% 11,0% 13,3% 15,7% 16,5% 19,8% 22,1%
Christian Democrats 4 5,7% 5,8% 6,3% 6,9% 7,1% 5,2% 4,0% 4,3% 5,4% 5,6%
Communist Party 1 1,8% 2,4% 3,5% 1,9% 1996% 1992% - - - -
Pirate Party 0 0,8% - - - - - - - - -
Swedish People's Party 0 0,0% 0,2% 0,2% 0,2% 0,3% 0,4% 0,6% 0,6% 0,6% -
Others 0 0,2% 0,1% 0,1% 0,2% 1,5% 2,3% 1,7% 0,1% 4,7% 7,3%

Administrative division

The city of Jyväskylä, is divided into fourteen wards (suuralueet in Finnish, storområden in Swedish), which are further divided into 89 districts. The ward division does not always follow district boundaries.

Lutakko is a neighbourhood close to the city centre.

This is a listing of the 14 wards of Jyväskylä by population as of November 2010[12]


Palokkajärvi two kilometres (1.2 miles) north from the city centre is one of numerous lakes in Jyväskylä.

Jyväskylä is located in the Finnish Lakeland. There are 328 lakes in the city. Lakes and rivers constitute 20,1% (295 km2) of the total area of the city. Biggest lakes are Päijänne, Leppävesi, Tuomiojärvi, Palokkajärvi, Luonetjärvi and Alvajärvi-Korttajärvi. The city centre is located on the shores of a small Jyväsjärvi.[13]

The landscape in Jyväskylä is hilly, forested and full of waters. The architect Alvar Aalto compared the hilly landscape of Jyväskylä to Toscana in Italy: "The slope of Jyväskylä ridge is almost like the mountain vineyards of Fiesole".[14]


Because of its northern location, winters are long, snowy, cold and dark. However, when compared to other locations at these latitudes, for example in Russia and Canada, Jyväskylä has significantly milder winter temperatures. During midwinter the city receives daylight for only around five hours. Summers are mild and with the average daily maximum temperature being 22 °C (72 °F) in July. During the summer Jyväskylä experiences long daylight and white nights i.e. midnight twilight.

Climate data for Jyväskylä
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −5.1
Average low °C (°F) −12
Precipitation mm (inches) 45
Source: Climatological statistics for the normal period 1981–2010[15]


Photo from Kärkistensalmi in Korpilahti.
The downtown seen from Harju.

Jyväskylä was founded in the Northern end of the lake Päijänne at the crossroads of three major waterways. Lakes control the cityscape.[8] The city grid plan from year 1833 by Jacob Leonard Boringh can be well recognised in the city centre.[16] Nevertheless, due to very rapid population growth the cityscape has gone through one of the most massive changes in all of Finland.[17]

Nowadays Jyväskylä is a city of modern architecture. The city has more buildings designed by one of the best known international functionalist architects Alvar Aalto than any other city in the world.[18]

The establishment of schools in the 1850s and 1860s proved to be the most important step from the point of view of the later development of Jyväskylä.[8] The headquarters of the University of Jyväskylä are considered to be Aalto's masterpieces. Later, a modern architect Arto Sipinen, a pupil of Aalto, has influenced in the cityscape since the 1970s by designing most of the new university buildings in the city.

The outskirts of the city are mainly populated by student apartments and single-family houses. Some of the most important buildings like Säynätsalo Town Hall designed by Aalto are located outside the city centre in Säynätsalo and Muuratsalo.

Consolidated areas Korpilahti, Jyväskylän maalaiskunta, Säynätsalo and also western parts of Jyväskylä are mainly countryside dominated by hilly forests and lakes.

A view from Lake Jyväsjärvi towards the city centre.
A 360 degree panorama of Jyväskylä taken from the Horisontti building. From left to right: Lutakko with the city centre and Harju in the background, lake Jyväsjärvi, Kuokkala bridge with Kuokkala neighbourhood and Kuokkala water tower in the background, and Ylistönrinne campus.


A pedestrian street in the downtown.


Jyväskylä was the fastest growing Finnish city in the 20th century. The population has continued to grow rapidly in the 21st century.[19][20][21]
Year 1838 1850 1860 1900 1939 1952 1960 1970 1990 1997 2010
Population of Jyväskylä 189 over 500 over 1,000 3,000 10,091 31,504 42,768 59,954 66,431 75,353 130,816


Finnish is the predominant language spoken in Jyväskylä. 96.7% of the population spoke Finnish as their mother language in 2010. The share of Swedish speaking was 0.2% and other languages was spoken by 3% of the population.


At the end of a year 2010, there were about 3100 foreigners in Jyväskylä. Biggest immigrant groups in Jyväskylä are Afghans, Russians, Estonians and Iranians.[22]


Once a factory - now a school. Schauman factory is now used by the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.
Agora Center is a good example of the modern heart of the economy in Jyväskylä. It is a workplace for teachers, scientists and information technology workers.
Jyväskylä is an important hub of information technology. Innova Tower hosts many high-tech companies.

Because of excellent connections Jyväskylä was a busy market place even before first permanent settlements were founded in the current city centre. The establishment of Finland’s first three Finnish-speaking schools: the lycée in 1858, the teachers’ college in 1863, and the girls’ school in 1864 proved to be the most important steps from the point of view of the later development of Jyväskylä. Educational services became a heart of the economic growth of the city. In 1912 Wilhelm Schauman founded a plywood mill on the shores of Jyväsjärvi. Soon also other kind of forest based businesses opened factories and premises in the city. Thus, forest, pulp and paper became the second stronghold of the economy in Jyväskylä. Later the high quality education and paper machinery industry tempted information technology businesses to settle in the city.[8]

Nowadays main sources of livelihood in Jyväskylä are educational and health care services, paper machinery production, information technology and renewable energy. Most important private employers are paper machinery producer Metso ltd., retail trade company Keskimaa Cooperative Society, real estate service company ISS and wind turbine gear manufacturer Moventas.[23] Biggest public employers are the City of Jyväskylä, Central Finland Health Care District, University of Jyväskylä and the Air Force Academy.

As of 2010 only 1% of the labour force work on the primary sector, 21% on the secondary sector, and 78% on the service sector of the economy.[24]

In April 2012 the unemployment rate in Jyväskylä was 12.2%, which was higher than average in Finland (9,8% in 1/2012),[25] due to the high number of students and challenged industries.[26] As of July 2012 there were about 61.000 jobs in Jyväskylä. The average income per income earner was €24,380 in 2010.[27]

In 2011 Jyväskylä topped in an image evaluation research among businesses. The city reached the highest score of Finnish big cities in the research succeeding especially on availability of skilled work force, on commercial services, on transport connections and on geographical location.[28]

The Gross domestic product per capita in the city of Jyväskylä was 33.688 € in 2005. The self-sufficiency in workplaces exceeded 100% in the city raising the GDP per capita higher than the national average. The GDP per capita of the whole Jyväskylä region was 28.718 € in 2007. The regional GDP per capita is lower than the Finnish national average mainly due to high number of students and a relatively high unemployment rate.[29]


Goaltender Sinuhe Wallinheimo on an ice hockey match in Hippos 2007
Eino Kaakkolahti passing during a pesäpallo (Finnish baseball) match on 1958
Synergia-areena is the main ice hockey venue.

The University of Jyväskylä is the only university in Northern Europe with a faculty of sports. The faculty has been a key player to develop a strong sports culture in the city.

The city hosts the Nordic countries, gathering over 500,000 spectators every year. The rally has been held since 1951, first as a national competition, then from 1959 on as a European Rally Championship event and since the introduction of the World Rally Championship in 1973, as Finland's WRC event.

Ice hockey venue Synergia-areena, Hippos Finnish baseball stadium, swimming hall AaltoAlvari and many other main sport venues of the city are located in Hippos two kilometres (1.2 miles) away from the city centre. Matti Nykänen Ski Flying Hills are located next to the Laajavuori ski resort just few kilometres west from the city centre. Main football stadium lies on the slopes of Harju just next to the city centre. Killeri hippodrome on the western parts of the city serves different horse racing competitions. At winter time amateur ice skaters can practice their skills in Viitaniemi or on the lake Jyväsjärvi, which has a 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long ice skating track.

The inventor of Finnish national sport pesäpallo, Lauri "Tahko" Pihkala studied and lived in Jyväskylä. The Upper secondary school of Jyväskylän Lyseo hosted the historic event of first pesäpallo match in world in September 1920.[30][31]

Some sport teams from Jyväskylä



Jyväskylä City Church.
Functionalistic Säynätsalo Town Hall by Alvar Aalto is open also for visitors interested in his architecture.
A German biplane Stieglitz in the Aviation Museum of Central Finland.

The Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland form a centre of culture in the immediate vicinity of the historical campus of the University of Jyväskylä. Both museums are designed by a functionalist Alvar Aalto. The Alvar Aalto Museum displays the artist's most important work and design. The Museum of Central Finland specializes in cultural history. It serves both as the town museum of Jyväskylä and the provincial museum of Central Finland.

One of architect Aalto's most significant works Säynätsalo Town Hall is located in Säynätsalo island.

The Craft Museum of Finland is a handicraft museum covering entire Finland. The Centre for Finnish National Costumes forms a part of the museum.

The Aviation Museum of Central Finland near the Jyväskylä Airport in Tikkakoski exhibits the aviation history of Finland.

The University of Jyväskylä Museum is specialized in history of the University and diversity of nature in Central Finland.

The biggest art museum in the city is Jyväskylä Art Museum located in the city centre. Another art museum centre – The Halonen building – near the main railway station consists of The Centre for Creative Photography, the Centre for Printmaking and Galleria Harmonia.

Also churches in the city are open for public, most notables of them being the Taulumäki Church and the Jyväskylä City Church.


The biggest theatre in the city is the Jyväskylä City Theatre designed by Alvar Aalto. It stands right in the centre of the city. Jyväskylä Workers' Theatre is located in Ainola on the Eastern side of the lake Jyväsjärvi. Huoneteatteri, founded on the aftermath of the II World War is the third remarkable theatre in Jyväskylä.

Annual Events

Petter Solberg on the Killeri super special stage of the Rally Finland
Members of Agent M performing in Jyrock festival in 2007.
  • Arctic and Fabulous Film Festival offers different forms and genres of Nordic film in the middle of most freezing winter season in February.
  • Jyväskylä City's Birthday Week (last week of March) offers a number of concerts, theatre, exhibitions and debates around the city.
  • Jyrock in April is an indie and alternative rock and pop festival.
  • Yläkaupungin Yö in May is one of the biggest annual street festivals of the city.
  • Sataman Yö is an annual pop music festival organised one week before the midsummer in the harbour of Jyväskylä.
  • Jyväskylä Arts Festival in the middle of July accommodates musicians, bands, contemporary circus, comediens, mimes, physical theatre, storytellers and film makers. It is one of the most well known festivals in Finland.
  • Neste Oil Rally Finland in the end of July is the biggest annually organised event in Nordic countries and a part of the WRC World Rally Championships.
  • Athenis Finlandiae organised in August is a cultural festival combining elements from ancient history, arts and science.
  • Finlandia Marathon in the beginning of September is a marathon festival designed for everybody from a top athlete to an amateur jogger. Time of Dance – the largest annual festival of Finnish contemporary dance is taking place in the end of September.
  • The International Print Triennal Graphica Creativa is organised every three years since 1975. It was the very first international graphic art exhibition in Finland. The next triennal will be organised 2012.
  • NLO is held every year at the last weekend of August. NLO (Naamalukko Open) is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and ADCC submission fighting tournament. It has quickly grown into one of the biggest grappling events in Finland. Tournament is held by Jyväskylä Fight Club and Proeliator Jiu-Jitsu.


University of Jyväskylä Ylistönrinne Campus

Jyväskylä is a traditional education city. Including school children, and the students in high schools, vocational schools, the university of applied sciences and the universities, the number of students and pupils in the city reaches 45,000, boosting Jyväskylä's reputation as a "student city". Over 30% of the city population are students.[32] A number of firsts in Finnish education have taken place in Jyväskylä:

  • Jyväskylä Lyceum (Finnish: Jyväskylän Lyseon lukio) is the world's first junior secondary school with Finnish as the language of instruction. It started its first term on October 1 in 1858. Lyceum is still existing and it is one of nine upper secondary schools in the city.
Main building of University of Jyväskylä designed by Alvar Aalto
  • The first Finnish-medium teacher training college (1863)
  • The first Finnish-medium school for girls (1864)
  • Finland's first Summer University (1912)

Due to this, among other things, the city has earned the nickname Athens of Finland.

The teacher training college later evolved into the College of Education (1934) and further into the multidisciplinary University of Jyväskylä (1966).

The University of Jyväskylä is one of the most popular universities in Finland. Almost 16,000 students are enrolled to study for a Bachelor's or Master's degree, and the university also offers PhD programs in most of its subjects. Historically, the university has excelled in the study of education, but in the last few decades it has also gained respect in the sciences. It is the only university in Finland offering university-level education in sports, training sports teachers and coaches. Its IT program is the largest in the country in terms of attendance.

JAMK University of Applied Sciences has 8.000 students. It has four different units: School of Business and Services Management, School of Health and Social Studies, School of Technology and Teacher Education College.[33] HUMAK University of Applied Sciences educates cultural management in Jyväskylä.


S81 passing Pumperinmäki at Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä is in the crossroads of main road and railway networks.
Steamboat S/S Suomi leaving the Jyväskylä harbour.

Jyväskylä railway station is served by VR direct trains to Helsinki, Pieksämäki, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa and many other destinations in Finland. The station was extensively modernised in 2002.

Jyväskylä Airport is situated in Tikkakoski, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Jyväskylä. It has regular direct flights to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The airport serves also as a military and charter airport.

The city is on crossroads of many main roads of Finland. European route E75 passes the city from South to North and E63 from Southeast to Northwest.

Jyväskylä harbour is home for many passenger ships operating on lake Päijänne. On summer time there are direct ship connections to Lahti, Jämsä, Suolahti, Viitasaari and some other cities.

The public transportation system is operated by Jyväskylän liikenne and it is based on bus lines.

In 2009 the modal share of the city was dominated by cars (61%). The modal split of pedestrians 20% and bicyclers 13% is relatively high compared to other Finnish cities. Public transportation had 4% modal share.[34]

Former city managers



Sofi Oksanen
Alvar & Elissa Aalto
Arja Koriseva


Mauri Pekkarinen


Mikko Hirvonen
Minna Kauppi
Young Tahko Pihkala


International relations

The Stavanger Park close to the city centre is named after Jyväskylä's Norwegian twin city Stavanger.

Twin towns — Sister cities — Friendship cities

Jyväskylä is a member city of Eurotowns network[37] and is twinned with:


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