Manchester of the North

I´m going to tell you a secret. Or maybe a cluster of secrets. I´m going to unveil something about Finland which is not commonly known from an international perspective. It has something to do with the small size of our nation and our ´outbackish´ Northern European location. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that sometimes people from all around the world are not that familiar with Finland. They sure know that the Finnish capital is Helsinki (right?). Now I´m coming to my little secret. Here it goes: there is another city in Finland which may just be as tempting as our capital and is surely claiming ´The Most Awesome City of Finland´ -title. It has the beat of a big city but the benefits of a small village. It´s in between two big lakes, people there talk with an epic dialect, it´s a hockey town like no other and the local delicatesse is a blood sausage covered with lingonberry jam. This city is called Tampere. (And if you ask me it just freakin´ rocks!)

Tampere was founded in 1775 and first it was just a market place in the poor rural area. Tampere began to develop in the 19th century when as a part of the industrial revolution the city began to play a major role as an industrial center of Finland. Tammerkoski channel, which crosses the city center, provided sufficient power for the factories which were built on the banks of the channel. And so it happened that in the mid 1800´s Tampere had almost the half of Finland´s industrial labour which has left a strong labour and industrial culture for the city. They even started to call Tampere as´Manchester of the North´ because of the similarities with the UK´s industrialised Manchester. In Tampere textile manufacturing was the state-of-the-art and main industry at the beginning but during the decades industries developed towards common metal industry and other. In these days Tampere is also known of its information technology and telecommunication industry.

Metso is a big part of the city and its colorful history. Metso Group has multiple posts in and outside the city but there is one undeniable and legendary site which is just a walking distance from the Tammerkoski channel (and all the other neat places). That place is called ´Lokomo´ and it´s an industry site for Metso Minerals at Hatanpää neighborhood. It is place where history and tradition meet the modern engineering skills. Back in the days Lokomo was actually a corporation, founded in 1915, and it manufactured trains (locomotives). Nowadays Metso Minerals is occupying the old Lokomo site but at the main gate you can still see an old train as a reminder of the old days.

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Did you know that Tampere has been continuously voted as ´The Best Place To Live in Finland´? And if we take a look at international news about Finland, such as the Best Country in the World for Mothers and the Best Country in the World, you could say that Tampere might just be one of the best places to live on earth! Is it because the city has somewhat 35 000 students of its 218 000 inhabitants which makes the city vibrant or is it because Tampere has the perfect location with nature and outdoor spots at your doorstep? Maybe it´s because of 80´s rock´n roll ages when there was a huge boom in Finnish rock culture, especially in Tampere where they created this strange and mystic ´ManseRock´ hype with mullets, leather jackets and white sneakers.

Näsijärvi sunset

Upper reaches at Tammerkoski channel and the sunset by the lake Näsijärvi

When visiting Finland, travelers, backpackers, tourists, businessmen and women are quite often spending their summer days in Helsinki, our beautiful capital. But take caution! You just might miss the Pearl of the Inland, imposing, loose and laid-back Tampere.

Jaakko Vuorio

Summer Trainee and ´Manse freak´.

Tampere, Finland