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ESPOO IS AN EXCELLENT SEEDBED FOR A LEARNING CITY Espoo is a good place to live, learn, work and do business in. All citizens can fulfill their potential, succeed also in an uncertain future and participate in developing their communities. For this to come true we need learning spirit! We strongly believe that learning is the corner stone of both personal wellbeing and the success of the city. The role of the city is to provide learning opportunities and resources and empower all kinds of learners to be at the centre of their own learning. We provide continuous learning paths from early childhood education through capacity building in the workplace to learning in later life. Flexible learning spaces and digitalization add opportunities to participate and have fun when learning. Innovative co-creation with residents, partners, education organisations and enterprises help us to find sustainable solutions for the city and its residents. The city’s mission is to formulate the right questions, to create platforms for collaboration, and to encourage its citizens and all other stakeholders to get involved – at every level, everywhere. These principles are included both in our city strategy, the Espoo Story, and in the Local Development Plan for Education, both co-created with citizens and partners. Espoo has the ideal building blocks for developing into an even better Learning City.

Aulis Pitkälä Deputy Mayor for Education and Cultural Services


Espoo – located in the metropolitan area – is the second largest and fastest growing city in Finland. The special feature of Espoo is an urban structure of five different centers, each with their own characteristics. Espoo is a centre of international company headquarters, high-technology businesses, high-quality educational institutions and a vivid start-up scene. The city is known as a hub of know-how, research and development. Urban areas coexist with uniquely rich nature. Espoo has been recognized as the most sustainable city in Europe. Espoo residents are young and welleducated. Espoo is also the city with the healthiest residents in Finland. The population is increasingly diverse, by 2030 the share of New Finns will double to 30 %.

Espoo in numbers Population: about 280 000 (2018)

25 % of the population is under 18 years old

52 % of over 25-year-olds hold

a higher education degree

45 % population growth

within next 30 years

56 % female city council members Languages: - Finnish 77 % - Swedish 7 % - other 16 % Area: 60 % land – 40 % water

165 95 58

islands lakes km seashore

66 % of citizens live within 500 m of green areas

ESPOO IS A SUSTAINABLE LEARNING CITY In Finland, the whole society appreciates education. The good reputation of Finnish education is well known. Our formal learning outcomes are some of the best in the world and Finns form one of the world’s most literate nations. Alongside formal education in schools, for instance public libraries and liberal adult education are highly valued. The City of Espoo has a long tradition of valuing lifelong learning and investing in education. For many years, Espoo’s learning outcomes have been among the best in the country, and thus among the top in the world. The city also invests in developing informal learning opportunities: innovative library services, museum pedagogy, a growing maker culture, physical activities and virtual learning spaces to name a few. A central priority is education for sustainable development, which is an integral part of the city’s sustainable development agenda. The premises of the learning city are set together with citizens and partners. The city has orchestrated collaboration with other education providers in Espoo area for many years.

Many principles for Learning City Espoo were determined in the Local Development Plan for Education, drafted together with local education partners. The joint aim is to ensure the wellbeing and inclusion of all Espoo citizens through learning.

In Espoo learning is valued • Everyone has an opportunity to learn in all stages of life. We offer possibilities to create individual learning paths. In Espoo, you can learn everywhere. • The joy of learning grows in inspiring environments together with others and through diverse working methods. Digitalization is part of everyday learning. • Collaboration is power. We develop our activities together with residents, partners, companies and communities both locally and internationally. We have the will to do things in a new way.


Vocational education and training

170 early childhood education and care centers 70 pre-primary education units 107 outsourced and private day care centers Open day care, clubs, open playgrounds with staff, family day care


Basic education 88 comprehensive schools 2 private schools Basic education for adults

A wide range of formal and non-formal learning opportunities for different ages

Liberal adult education Espoo Adult Education Centre Esbo Arbis Open and summer university level and UAS courses

and many more

Higher education Aalto University Laurea University of Applied Sciences Metropolia University of Applied Sciences


Basic art education

Library Services

16 art schools Music, dance, theatre, circus, architecture, visual arts and crafts

18 libraries 2 bookmobiles

Tapiola Sinfonietta City Orchestra General upper secondary education 12 general upper secondary schools 1 private general upper secondary school 1 adult general upper secondary school

Audience outreach to schools, clinics, hospitals and special groups

NON-FORMAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES Cultural centers and houses Espoo Cultural Centre Exhibition Centre WeeGee Sello Hall and many more

Museums 12 museums

Associations, organisations and clubs Resident and voluntary associations Sports and cultural organisations and clubs Choirs and orchestras Dance and theatre companies and many more

Companies and business communities 15 000 companies Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce The Association of Enterprises in Espoo

Youth Services 18 youth centers Ohjaamo one-step guidance centre Outreach youth work, workshops, camps, courses, clubs

Sports Services 500 sports and outdoor venues Exercise groups and courses, support and guidance

Third places and open social spaces Iso Omena Service Centre Learning hubs Virtual third places 3 000 hectare recreation areas 200 km built outdoor routes and tracks Nature houses and much more


According to UNESCO, a Learning City • effectively mobilizes its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education • revitalizes learning in families and communities • facilitates learning for and in the workplace • extends the use of modern learning technologies • enhances quality and excellence in learning • fosters a culture of learning throughout life. Building a learning city is a continuous process. It entails an operational and pragmatic approach to the implementation of lifelong learning. UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning hosts the Global Network for Learning Cities (GNLC) to support and accelerate the practice of lifelong learning in the world’s communities. This network offers Key Features which can be used to monitor the process of developing in cities.


UNESCO calls for cities to convene in Beijing to form the Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). The city’s efforts are in line with the presented ideas and the network provides a platform for connecting with likeminded cities. Espoo takes an active role in the preparation process of GNLC organized by UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning.


UNESCO awards Espoo as one of the first 12 pioneering Learning Cities in the world at the Learning Cities Mexico City Conference in 2015.


Espoo becomes a GNLC member. The first Espoo Learning City Festival is held. An Education Fair for the public and a conference for Finnish cities and international Learning Cities gather learning enthusiasts and professionals. The festival is organized together with Espoo educational partners. For the event, local students create the visual identity of Learning City Espoo.


An Advisory Board is established to support Learning City Espoo. It consists of city officials from different sectors, political decision makers, leaders for key educational partners and the business community. A steering group plans, prepares and leads the implementation. The collaboration within the Global Network of Learning Cities towards the UN 2030 sustainable development goals supports Espoo’s work towards a sustainable future.


School as a Service experiment (SaaS) A joint venture with Aalto University to experiment a totally new way of organizing education. A high school uses extra spaces and other resources on campus alone or together with the university. The idea is to co-create different kinds of learning environments, develop new pedagogy and renew the operation culture. The aim: meaningful and fun learning.

Me & MyCity A minisociety where sixth-graders learn about entrepreneurship, economy and society. It consists of locally supported companies, where students spend one day as employees, citizens and consumers. Me & MyCity for ninth-graders is a game for teams dealing with business in a global economy.

KYKY - Co-creation to accelerate learning Schools develop products and services together with companies. We accelerate learning by combining experimenting with pedagogical excellence and new ideas and technology. The virtual KYKY marketplace matches companies and schools.

City of Maker Culture Espoo’s vision is to have a maker space in every learning environment. Many of the bigger libraries already have one. To ignite others, InnokasFabLearnLab inspires learners to explore science and innovations in different fields by making things themselves.

KULPS! Culture and Sports path A culture and physical education program for schools that takes children to local culture and sports venues. It provides equal opportunities for children to experience and create art and learn how to enjoy local libraries, culture and sports venues.

Culture and Sports for All Espoo provides inclusive and accessible services: Lowthreshold clubs for children and families, friend programs, free access cards to culture for residents under financial strain and to sports for seniors. We aim at guaranteeing a hobby for every child and young person. Culture is brought to child health clinics and senior care homes, and free portable gyms to sports venues. Citizens are also encouraged to carry out their own events.

Iso Omena Service Centre Located in a large shopping mall with excellent traffic connections, it gathers 10 public services under one roof to make it easier for people to use everyday services. The Service Centre includes for example a library, social and health services and cultural services.

You are welcome to join the team!

Contact information: Kristiina Erkkilä Director of Development City of Espoo, Education and Cultural Services kristiina.erkkila@espoo.fi

Annika Forstén Senior Planning Officer, international affairs City of Espoo, Education and Cultural Services annika.forsten@espoo.fi

Photographers: Tuire Ruokosuo, Taru Turpeinen, Espoo-lehti, Lehdentekijät.

Profile for Espoon kaupunki

Learning City Espoo  

Learning City Espoo