This year Helsinki and Beijing celebrate the 15th anniversary of sister-city relations. The two capitals became sister cities in 2006 intending to promote cultural and commercial ties and have since held exciting and rewarding relations. Something Helsinki mayor Juhana Vartiainen sees continuing and during a recent interview with Chinese media Xinhua, the mayor said that he sees a bright future of friendship and further cooperation between the two capitals.
Over the past 15 years, the two cities have cooperated in many areas such as culture, education, tourism, business, and design.
This year, Helsinki will be the Guest City of the largest design festival in Asia, Beijing Design Week under the theme “Designing Better Life.” According to mayor Juhana Vartiainen, there is no better way to celebrate this important milestone and it is a great honor for Helsinki to have the official guest city status.
During the interview the mayor said that Beijing Design Week will highlight Helsinki’s work in education and sustainable urban development, conveying a message that cities need to rethink how they promote social and economic sustainability.
“Our cooperation at the Beijing Design Week will promote exchanges between the two cities as well as schools, universities, and private sector actors,” he said.
“In Helsinki, we want to build a better city and better life for our citizens through means of design. Design is a great way to promote sustainable and smart solutions for education and urban development,” Vartiainen added.
During the interview, Vartiainen also mentioned Beijing and Helsinki’s cooperation in winter sports highlighting joint activities to celebrate the China-Finland Winter Sports Year in 2019 where the two cities organized various seminars to exchange best practices and cooperated on improving winter sports coaching and training know-how.
“It will be exciting to see how the introduction of winter sports to the grand public will transform China, and how China will drive the development of winter sports globally. Helsinki and the whole of Finland are looking forward to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” the mayor said.