Page 1

A new journey • A new home • A new job • A new success • A new life • North Karelia Magazine 2012 • ENG

Koli creates a sustainable model for tourism Nanotechnology makes small things great Karelian tones in Nightwish’s music, pages 24–25 Forget daily hustle and bustle on a cottage holiday, pages 8–9 Joensuu is the forest capital of Europe, pages 64–65 The ringed seal returns to North Karelia, pages 68–69 • Magazine 2012

Publishing information Publisher: Regional Council of North Karelia, North Karelia and Joensuu investment program 2011–2013 Photographs: KareliaExpert Tourist Service Ltd, The Voice, Getty Images, Shutterstock, Niko Nyrhinen, Lehtikuva Oy, Joensuu Art Museum, Josek Oy, Keti Oy, Pikes Oy, Joensuu City Theatre, Jouni Erola, Taitokortteli, Nightwish/Tuomas Holopainen, Aku Muukka, SLL/Mikko Käkelä, Markku Tano, Niilo Hirvonen, Tuomas Lius, Mainostoimisto Fabrik Oy, Joensuu City, Itä-Suomen Urheiluilmailukeskus (Airport sports centre of Eastern Finland)/Paavo Koponen, Joensuun Laitesukeltajat (Joensuu scubadivers)/Tommi Nukarinen, Abloy Oy, Valio Oy, Rami Saarikorpi, PKSSK picture archive, Harri Mäenpää, Endomines Oy, Erko Raaman, Altonamining Ltd, Stone Pole Oy, Juha Purmonen, Ismo Pekkarinen, John Deere Forestry Oy, Juha Taskinen, Regional council of North Karelia

2 National landscape Koli

Karelian growth environment good basis for progress First I thought it would be fun to write in a childlike way, such as “Last summer I ate ice cream and went swimming at least five times. And I went fishing.” Why? Well, we’ll get to that later. I could start off by telling you a bit about my studies. That’s easy, since I haven’t opened a school book in the 26 years that have passed since I left Northern Karelia. I squeaked through elementary school in 6 years in Kitee’s Ojamäki, and with a little help from lady luck, I managed to find my way out of middle school in Kesälahti in the usual three years. Right on schedule in the end! My next alma mater was, of course, also in the east, so I packed up my pots and pans and headed for Outokumpu. You can imagine the smile on my face when I realized there was a city nicknamed “Oku”. In the local paper, I spotted a rental advertisement for a house that was 10 kilometers from “Oku”. I know I’m a great guy and everything, but... And so I learned my profession of being a radio personality. And I haven’t looked back since. My job has taken me to Rovaniemi, Jyväskylä, and most recently to Helsinki, where I work for The Voice. Everything I needed for this journey, was handed to me in school in Northern Karelia. I remember someone once telling me that this place would never lead you anywhere. Nonsense. My surroundings played a strong part in my growth, as well. The fact that I’ve been able to live a stone’s throw away from a lake, a forest and nature has been very educational. Many things I once took for granted have since become my strengths. Psst… You didn’t hear this from me, but other people consider us North Karelians an honest bunch... I wonder what they say about our neighboring Savonians? Either way, being from the countryside would appear to have made me more trustworthy in other people’s eyes. This became more than apparent to me during my brief stint in phone sales. This “mie/sie” dialect was the best possible calling card! Wink. My relationship with Northern Karelia hasn’t changed much since the little “What I did last summer” text I wrote in elementary school. Except that fishing, swimming, and eating ice cream by a lake are opportunities that don’t present themselves too often any more. The long trip to my old hometown has made me appreciate its wonders. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.” Just not quite yet.

Oku Luukkainen, Host of the Oku Show on The Voice radio

3 • Magazine 2012

Home and life Home run

28 30

Top athlete’s daily life goes hand-in-hand with family

In the same place, on hospital hill


Healthcare services at the nation’s top level

The joy of flying and the need for speed Unequalled hobby opportunities

Business and work A region of opportunities for success-oriented business operations

44 46

Strong support for companies at every stage

New stories from Penttilänranta


An entrepreneur deserves the best quality of living

Fantastic routes attract hikers Life force from unique nature




Other topics



Feel good!


A cottage holiday in the wild is refreshing

The Grumpy Ladies keep tourists in motion 22 Karelian tastes will get your mouth watering

Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen and his midsummer night’s dream


Nightwish’s musical notes come from Karelia

Achieve success A region of opportunities for successoriented business operations

60 46

Tailored investment services for companies

World-class macro skills in nanotechnology


Development of nanotechnology creates new business

Joensuu is the forest capital of Europe Forest research sets an example for the whole world


Karelian growth environment forms a good foundation to start from Table of contents

3 4



Koli Cultura creates sustainable tourism for itself and others North Karelian branch of S Group invests in Koli’s slopes World Champion at home on her native tracks Biathlon World Cup 2012 Kontiolahti 8.–12.2.2012 Silence is golden Pines attract tree huggers Year of the dragon – Joensuu Art Museum’s exhibition celebrates 50 years Events 2012 Photographing bears and other adventures The Artisans’ Quarter is a must! Achieving a sense of wellbeing at Pääskynpesä Mining museum brings mining to everyday life Experience the Kihaus Folk Festival in Rääkkylä Plaven Dimov, the maker of stars What a cradle of culture!

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 20 21 22 23 23 25 26

Home and life


Tuomas Lius makes his hometown the center of excitement On the career fast track? Or more into slow living? North Karelia’s first wooden apartment building using passive house technology will be built in Ylämylly Joensuu Science Park accelerates wood-based construction in Finland The sunshine village of Kesälahti City life by lake Pielinen in Lieksa Ylämylly garrison to become cosy Jyrinkylä Quality of life and ease of living in Nurmes Electronic desk brings laptops to pupils in upper secondary school Fiber-optics beat water to the finish line North Karelia – rewarded for its village-positive attitude Thinking of the cildren

32 33

35 38 38 39 39 40 40 41 41

Business and work


Security goes by a North Karelian name Arcusys sees growth on both sides of the border Life force from North Karelian cheese! Porokylän Leipomo bakery is ready to go far It is a joy to come to work, and a pleasure to leave when you have done good Your happiness and care are in good hands Gold rush in North Karelia’s mines Wood burns cleaner in Tulikivi’s smart fireplaces Copper mined at Kylylahti Tiia is at home deep underground

47 48 50 51

Achieve success


The region’s future grows in the forest Local thermal heating from bioenergy Natural fiber composite promises success The Saimaa ringed Seal is returning to Northern Karelia Do you have hidden assets? North Karelia in a sultsina shell Welcome along to meet us!

66 67 67 68 71 72 74


53 54 56 57 57 58

5 • Magazine 2012

At his cousins’ place, Mikko realized that all seasons are different. Having grown up in a large town, Mikko was used to grey dullness almost regardless of the season. At his cousins’ home in North Karelia he realized that all seasons actually have their own colors and characteristics. In the sunshine of a summer day the lakes sparkle and invite you in for a swim while in autumn the iridescent autumn scenery attracts families to go berry picking in the forest. It’s fun to compete with your cousins to see who is the best skier in the white snowdrifts of winter, and when spring comes you can sail bark boats along small streams. Wouldn’t it be so great to always be here!

8–9 Karelia tastes will get your mouth watering, page 22 Nightwish’s musical notes come from Karelia, pages 24–25 A cabin holiday in nature is refreshing, pages

6 6


A new journey. A new life. North Karelia.

7 • Magazine 2012

Feel good! Being at a cottage puts you in a restful state of mind. The lake, shimmering in the sun, the cottage, sauna, dock and boat. The soundtrack is birdsong, the wind whispering in the trees and the gentle lapping of the waves. At the holiday cottage you can be yourself.



When you rent a cottage in North Karelia you can choose exactly the kind of holiday cottage you want. Everything is available from villas to accommodation in the wilderness. You can also choose your company since uninvited or half-invited guests won’t find their way to your rented cottage. In the North Karelian cottage scenery you can spend unforgettable holidays all year round!

The shortest route to a cottage holiday: • Reserve yours now!

A holiday at a cottage is an affordable holiday option. In addition to furniture, the rent for a week includes kitchen and dining equipment, cutlery and bedclothes. Almost every cottage includes a sauna and firewood, and cottage with their own stretch of shore have a rowing boat. You can also rent sheets and towels.

9 • Magazine 2012

Koli Cultura creates sustainable tourism for itself and others An interesting construction project is taking place in Koli in the form of a center, Koli Cultura, for sustainable eco-tourism and culture. A Finnish saying states that the next generation is always better than the previous one. The brothers Peetu and Petja Piiroinen, both successful snowboarders,

Culture and birch trees Koli Cultura’s motto, sustainably developed Karelianism, refers to the nurturing of eco-tourism and cultural activities with a respect for nature.

are certainly holding up their side of the bargain by contributing to the Koli

The work began in 2010 with the establishment of the Koli Cultura Forest.

Cultura project.

Only birch varieties specific to the local climate zone have been planted in the forest, some of them by famous Finns such as President Tarja Halonen.

- Sustainable development is incredibly important, even more so in the future,

The Popmuusikot (Pop Musicians) association, which is behind Joensuu’s

so I was eager to join Koli Cultura. A project based on sustainable development

Ilosaarirock rock festival, set up a similar Pop Forest in the spring of 2011.

fits Koli to a tee, and it is sure to serve as a model for other centers in Finland and elsewhere in the world, Peetu Piiroinen describes his project.

Once construction is completed in 2015, Koli Cultura will open its doors in Koli National Park, in the valley by the shores of Purnulampi. Even the planning

The brothers are partners in the first so-called partnership house that is being

stage is guided by sustainable development: the preservation of natural and

built in the Koli Cultura area. The house, which will be built during 2012, will

cultural heritage, and respect for humanity. The center will span 10 acres and

serve as both the ecological and aesthetic model for the entire center. Koli

have room for one thousand guests in its hotel and cultural center, terraced

Cultura is also a development program that aims to create a sustainable model

apartments, houses, event center and five-star camping site.

of eco-tourism for use in Finland and elsewhere in situations where tourism

coincides with nature conservation areas.

Ecological and aesthetic The center’s architectural design was penned by a team that has enjoyed considerable international success in wood construction. In cooperation with the architects of Harris-Kjisik, who received an honorable mention in the architectural competition of 2009, JKMM Architects won the grand prize with their ecologically advanced and aesthetically pleasing plans. - The aim is to expand the applications of wood and forests. We’re designing a center in untouched landscape, taking into account the specific characteristics of the scenery and constructing buildings that complement the environment. The buildings do not form a solid wall, but instead flow into the rolling terrain. The gardens will not have grassy lawns, but rather flower beds and pastures that are better suited to the area’s scenery, architect Juha Mäki-Jyllillä says. Other natural materials are used alongside wood, including grass roofs and stone foundations. Also solar panels will be installed on the large window surfaces.


KOLI SPA to open in Koli In recent years, significant efforts have been made in the development of the services and infrastructure of Koli National Park and Koli village. The latest addition to the area’s services is the two-story, 1,700 square meter KOLI SPA, which will be opening its doors during the winter season of 2012–2013. The National Park has undergone extensive refurbishment, notably to the buildings of the Ukko visitor center, the national park’s rest sites, trails, and pastures, the surroundings of the reservable cabins, and to the Koli Ryynänen artists’ residence and the port’s Alamaja service center. One of the most significant projects was the high-scale refurbishment of the historically valuable Mattila estate, which was renovated for rental and accommodation use. The investments total several million euros, and development is in its initial stages.


North Karelian branch of S Group invests in Koli’s slopes The North Karelian branch of the S Group, which operates on the slopes of Koli, has invested an estimated 600,000 euros in 2011 into the development of the slopes. The most extensive investments have been made in the Holiday Koli area, which now enjoys a state-of-the-art snow gun system. The new system is more efficient, and its increased snowmaking capacity means that slopes can be opened for skiing earlier in the season. The new system should also result in energy savings, which is always a plus. Holiday Koli Snow Park has been expanded by almost a hectare, which enables the construction of several new snowboarding sites. With these new rails, ramps and jumps, Koli is looking to attract an all new target group. The Holiday Koli slopes have also been re-profiled this autumn, and investments have been made towards the modernization of slope equipment and technology. The modernization of the ski-lifts, for example, makes them both more secure and more user-friendly. Also, Holiday Koli opening hours will be improving during the winter season of 2011-2012. At the request of customers, opening hours will lean more heavily towards the evening in mid-winter so that local children will be able to enjoy the slopes after school. Sokos Hotel Koli is located in the Koli National Park next to the Ukko-Koli slopes. Koli is the only ski center in Finland where members of the S Group can collect bonus points on all the center’s services: ski-lift tickets, equipment rentals, the ski school and slopeside restaurants.

11 • Magazine 2012

World Champion Kaisa Mäkäräinen focuses on the 2015 competitions in her home region.



World Champion at home on her native tracks Kaisa Mäkäräinen, holder of the title of World Champion and winner of the 2010/2011 biathlon world cup, has made a strong start this season. Before the Christmas break Kaisa had already stood on the winners’ podium three times during the tournaments and over the Christmas break she was third with regard to total points. In February Kaisa Mäkäräinen will once again return to ski in front of her Finnish fans as the world cup tour will come to Kontiolahti in North Karelia. Kontiolahti’s tracks are very familiar to Kaisa, who lives in Noljakka, Joensuu, since she represents the Kontiolahti Sport Club. Kaisa says that competing on her home tracks is both rewarding and challenging. - It’s great to ski in front of your home audience, since their support along the track takes your speed to the extreme. On the other hand there are more butterflies in your stomach since there’s more pressure to succeed on your home course. As a top athlete I would always love to reward the people who have come to cheer me on with the best possible performance, says Kaisa Mäkäräinen.

Biathlon World Cup 2012 Kontiolahti 8–12.2.2012 The Kontiolahti leg of the biathlon world cup is held at the Kontiolahti Biathlon Stadium, which is only 14 kilometers from the center of Joensuu and 25 kilometers from the airport. The Kontiolahti Sport Club has over 20 years of experience in organizing biathlon events, and is bringing that knowledge to

Currently the biathlon takes up almost all of Kaisa’s time, and she doesn’t have much spare time to spend in her home region. The Biathlon World Cup

this year’s competition as well. The biathlon World Championship was held in Kontiolahti in 1999, and will return in 2015.

consists of nine competitive weeks in which there are a total of 26 individual runs. Part of the world cup competitions will take place in Ruhpolding, Germany.

For tickets to the Kontiolahti biathlon and additional information, see

Kaisa, who turned 29 in January, hasn’t had much time to plan for the time after her skiing career, even though she’s on the books at two institutes of higher education. - Since 2003 I’ve been a perpetual student at the University of Eastern Finland at the department of physics in Joensuu. I accumulated about 90 course credits in spring 2010. In autumn 2009 I accepted a place to study media at the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences, and in the future I aim to graduate and work as a sports journalist to save athletes. I still haven’t completed a single course, but the time will come. Now I’m skiing one competition and season at a time and seeing where they get me. The Biathlon World Cup competitions will be held in Kontiolahti in 2015, and it would be great to be involved in competitions in my home area.

Kontiolahti From the rugged, rolling landscapes of Koli National Park to the open waters of Lake Höytiäinen and the Pielisjoki River, Kontiolahti is a transition zone where the Finnish Lake District gives way to the Karelian Fells. The area contains many different features with natural beauty, such as the Kolvananuuro Gorge – a significant nature reserve. In addition to hiking in magnificent landscapes, those interested in sports can take advantage of an international standard biathlon center that has claimed its place as a venue in the biathlon world cup. You can already ski in Kontiolahti in early October, when the 1.5 kilometer long cooled track opens. Population: 13,954 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 1,030 km2

Spend the competition weekend in a cabin • See pages 8–9.

13 • Magazine 2012

Silence is golden At some point everyone wonders whether they are in the right place in life,

a journey to understanding life, says Elontila entrepreneur Ilkka Aula, an

where they belong. Often it also feels like there’s no possibility of stopping to

expert in environmental education and sustainable development and teacher

ponder the question. Nowadays as things fly past like the 5 o’clock rush hour,

in the international Institute for Earth Education.

there’s no room to be late. Either that or daily life is simply so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.

Kaija Jolkkonen’s and Ilkka Aula’s Elontila hikes and other programs at Mattila in the Koli national park will take you on happy and meaningful

Luckily life sometimes smiles on us and gives us a chance. And it’s especially

nature experiences. Hiking programs include, for example, the Moment of

important to create such chances yourself. If your daily life rushes past like

Silence and Muir trail, lasting from sunrise to sunset, inspired by the national

rapids it’s difficult, if not impossible, to check where you’re going. However,

park movement pioneer John Muir.

each one of us has the right to aim for balanced life and day-to-day living, even the right to aim for happiness. Do you have time to ask what you want from life, honestly? Can you fit some happiness in? Is there time, space and silence around you to let happiness into your life? And what about your orientation skills – does it feel like you’re going in the right place, following your heart? You can find the best compass in silence, in rhythm with your own heart and soul.

Three steps to feeling better 1. Could you give yourself three minutes once a day? Slow down for a moment. Research has shown that even 180 seconds of relaxation clears your thoughts and improves your mood. This is most easily done by breathing deeply and counting quietly in your head up to 180.

Guide to silence at Kontiolahti rectory In the beautiful yellow rectory at Kontiolahti you can listen to your inner voice with various guides to silence, and sense its colors and images on a painting course. The silence tutor, artist Kirsi Ryynänen also runs a Vedic Art painting course in the rectory and its garden: - Vedic art is essentially painting from your innermost self where pictures are formed. The actual painting leads each of us towards our own creative source, explains Kirsi Ryynänen. In addition to the course in the peaceful rectory far away from hustle and bustle, edging on nature, you can visit Kirsi Ryynänen’s ongoing exhibition of her paintings in the PIITTA Gallery.

2. Rest in nature Even a short experience in nature speeds up recovery from stress and illnesses and even improves your immune system. Simply looking at an image of a natural scene lowers blood pressure and tenseness. Could you allow yourself a small walk in a park, looking at clouds and trees swaying in the wind, or could you actually go to a forest? Just half an hour a few times a week brings significant balance back to the body.

3. What are you thankful for? According to many studies, the happiest people are those who are able to be thankful regardless of circumstances. Scientists specializing in brain function

Nature makes you wonder Wise people say “Sell your irony, buy some wonder.” Nature gives us lots of space for wonder. And also to stay a while, listen, watch, wait, calm down. - This kind of non-verbal experience appears to have a significant effect on our wellbeing. When we understand that we are a part of nature, we are on


say that concentrating on a positive perspective opens up and increases concentration on solution, and concentrating on negatives works in the opposite way. Tell yourself once a day, or whenever you’re in a tight spot, what three things in your life you are thankful for, and you’ll feel ready to go again.


Pines attract tree huggers There are certainly enough trees to hug in North Karelia! Thank goodness, since nature’s complex effects on wellbeing and medicinal facts are wellknown in international science. And even more new research from this interesting field is being produced all the time. Nature is now under the microscope in a different way. In research carried out in cooperation between Japan and Finland, scientists were encouraged to marvel at our forest scenery in a new way. In Europe’s easternmost corner, Ilomantsi, research was done into whether Japanese people in particular could be interested in wellbeing tourism related to forests. The first test groups have already been charmed by the forests and lake shores of Ilomantsi. In further testing, the Japanese can expect berry picking and tree hugging in addition to walks in the forest, we are told of the project carried out by the University of Eastern Finland and Karelia Expert Tourist Service Ltd.

Ilomantsi Ilomantsi is the easternmost county of both Finland and the continental EU. Cultural and religious influences from east of the border bring color to the area, and it is no coincidence that Ilomantsi has the highest percentage of Orthodox Christian inhabitants in Finland. The area’s best known sights include the historic Karelian houses of the Parppeinvaara poetry village, the old Möhkö ironworks and the Winter War and Continuation War battle sites at Hattuvaara and elsewhere. Population: 5,837 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 3,172 km2

Find strength in peaceful wilderness • See pages 18–19.

15 • Magazine 2012

Year of the dragon – Joensuu Art Museum’s exhibition celebrates 50 years 21.6.– 28.10.2012

The Year of the Dragon exhibition, celebrating the museum’s 50th birthday,

the Chinese dynasties right from the Yangshao culture (5000-3000 BC) up to

is like a little trip to China. One of Finland’s most significant and abundant

the 20th century.

collections of Chinese art, culture and history is on display at the Joensuu Art Museum. The exhibition is composed of a rich foundation for getting to know

The collection of Chinese treasures at the Joensuu Art Museum was expanded

the Chinese art tradition and culture. The Year of the Dragon exhibition sheds

after Liisa and Otto Kotovuori donated their collection between 2010 and 2011.

light on the meaning of China’s art and culture. The items in the exhibition

The donation focuses on utility and decorative ceramics and porcelain. It

present the different periods of the art and culture as well as the connections

supplements the historical continuum of Okkonen’s collection in a valuable

between East Asia and Western culture.

way with items from, for example, the Han period and items from everyday life later on.

In connection with the exhibition a 150-page illustrated work on the world of Chinese art will be published in English and Finnish. Professors Annika

With his wide knowledge of Asian cultures, architect Jouni Kaipia is

Waenerberg and Juha Janhunen as well as art historian Jing Yang worked

responsible for the exhibition’s architecture. Earlier Kaipia designed a chapel-

as experts on the information, which was researched from an art history

like space for the Joensuu Art Museum to house art from the Renaissance

perspective. The graphic design of the publication is by Jari Karppanen,

period. The Year of the Dragon exhibition’s structures will be used later in a

who has experience from the graphic design of similar exhibitions for the

permanent presentation of the Chinese collection.

Sara Hildén art museum and Wäinö Aaltonen museum. Also in store is an interesting supplementary program, workshops and opportunities to get to know Chinese culture, music, dance and food.

Joensuu Art Museum’s unique China collection

Celebrating in Joensuu – including national highlights 26.1.–3.6. Exhibition to celebrate 100 years of the Joensuu City Theatre Työmaana teatteri, Museum of North Karelia, Joensuu

The Chinese collection, one of the nation’s most valuable, is formed from


around 150 Chinese items from Onni Okkonen’s (1886–1962) and Liisa and Otto

23.–26.2. Musiikkitalvi music event with a Portuguese theme

Kotovuori’s collections, of which around one hundred will be chosen for the

19.–21.3. National brass band festival (Valtakunnalliset puhallinpäivät)



National museum festival (Valtakunnalliset museopäivät)


Karelia exhibition (Karjalan messut)

The collection belonging to Okkonen, who was an art historian, is a diverse


International seminar on children’s and youth library work

look at Chinese art with a focus on paintings and sculptures. Okkonen


Finnish-Russian culture forum

supplemented his collection in Finland and elsewhere in Europe, but the

26.–27.10. Finnish Jazz Convention

majority of the items were procured in China while he was there on official

• Joensuu’s regional library celebrates its 150th birthday • Joensuu theatre

visits in 1956. Okkonen’s collection details the long history of Chinese art from

celebrates its 100th birthday • Joensuu art museum celebrates its 50th birthday


Railroad (Rautatie) opera premiere (other performances 14.–16.2.)


13.–15.7. Ilosaarirock Joensuu

20.–28.7. Lieksa Brass Week, Lieksa

5.5. 18.–19.5. 8.–10.6. 16.6. 21.6.–1.7. 29.6.–1.7. 30.6.-8.7. 6.–7.7. 7.–8.7. 13.–15.7. 23.–27.7. 24.7.–27.7. 16.–18.8. 20.–28.7. 9.–12.8. 15.9. 29.9. 6.10. 16.–28.10.

Joensuu Marathon, Joensuu New circus festival, Joensuu Karelia exhibition (Karjalan Messut), Joensuu Osuuskaupparock, Joensuu Möhkö excursion week, Ilomantsi Potsipäivät village festival, Tohmajärvi Koli Outdoor Activity Week, Koli Kihaus Folk, Rääkkylä Puhoksen Perinnepäivät heritage festival, Kitee Ilosaarirock, Joensuu International weaving symposium, Joensuu 22. Karelia Rowing Tour, Lieksa/Ilomantsi, Joensuu Parafest, Joensuu Lieksa Brass Week, Lieksa Joensuu’s 17th Gospel festival, Joensuu Vuonislahti’s 25th Muikkumarkkinat fish market, Lieksa Koli 347, Koli Marathon of Dangers, Koli Finnish Jazz Convention, Joensuu

Events 2012 4.–5.2. 8.–12.2. 11.–12.2. 18.–26.2. 23.–26.2. 26.2. 26.2. 2.3. 3.3. 3.–4.3. 10.3. 17.–18.3. 5.–9.4. 15.4. 18.–21.4.

Junior National Skiing Championships, Kitee Biathlon World Cup, Kontiolahti SM-Trophy Sprint -snowmobile competition, Kitee Biathlon Junior World Championships, Kontiolahti Joensuun Musiikkitalvi music festival, Joensuu Pielisen jäähiihto skiing event, Lieksa Ruunaan Koskihiihto skiing event, Lieksa Nightwish at the Joensuu Arena, Joensuu SM-Rallisprint, Kitee 19. Skiing in scenery at Koli, Koli Ahmanhiihto, Wolverine Skiing Event at Koli Lumiralli motor sled rally, Kitee Pogostan Hiihto skiing event, Ilomantsi Karelian Easter, Ilomantsi Koli slope season closing ceremony, Koli SciFest 2012, Joensuu Performances at the Joensuu City Theatre during the 2012 season: Liikaa viisas, The Wizard of Oz and Poutiaisen näköinen mies, shown in the picture.

See all the year’s events •

17 • Magazine 2012

Fantastic routes attract hikers Eero Oura, the grand old man of camping in Northern Karelia, is the right

the center of Greenland, and journeyed to Santiago de Compostela and many

man to speak about the many different camping possibilities in his home

other places. Still, he sees the Northern Karelian trail system as unique in its

region. Oura has walked from one end of Finland to the other, trekked in the


Sahara, the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, skied across the glacier in

There are beautiful things to look at in your home region, too, says Eero Oura, weathered by the extreme conditions on Greenland’s central ice sheet.



Long hikes along enchanting trails

nature trail in Pyhäselkä, Joensuu allows

The network of recreational trails covering all of Northern Karelia includes

being out in the wild. One of the

thousands of kilometers of hiking, canoeing and biking routes. The trail

campfire sites on the nature trail

system connects Koli, Petkeljärvi, and Patvinsuo National Parks with each

along the ridge next to the village

other and with the Ruunaa Hiking Center.

of Hammaslahti has been made

everyone to experience the joy of

handicapped accessible. However, - Thanks to the far-reaching interconnected trail system, you can spend

Ruunaa Hiking Center provides

several weeks hiking in the wilderness in Northern Karelia just by switching

the broadest range of handicapped

from one long route to another. My own favorites are the Susitaival (Wolf’s

accessible services, including rafting,

Journey) and Karhunpolku (Bear Track) routes. Put together, they run for over

camping, fishing and a wheelchair

230 kilometers, says Eero Oura, who likes to think of himself as Mr. Long Trail.

accessible bird tower.

- The paths in these demanding trails are good, although they chiefly go through commercial forests, and they are properly equipped. As Oura says,

Mountain Bike Trails

the lakes, rivers, streams, trees, pines and the sheer diversity of nature and the landscape combine with the stillness and peace to entrance travelers.

You can also get to know Northern Karelian scenery from a bike saddle. For example, the Jaama trail, which leaves from the center of Joensuu, is a just under 40-kilometer long ring that twists along the Lake Höytiäinen Canal

Refreshing, easy trails in the wilderness

back into the city.

In addition to long and demanding hiking trails, easy nature trails and routes

Koli National Park offers stunning views on two ring routes, which can be

for the casual hiker out for a day can also be found in Northern Karelia. As

combined into one longer bike path. For example, the Karhunpolku (Bear

a doctor, Oura stresses the health benefits of exercising in nature and also

Path) longer hiking trail can also be used by more experience mountain bikers

advocates short routes: they are needed for excursions and refreshment.

who can read maps.

Eero Oura’s favorite destination for a refreshing experience is Patvinsuo, which has many short paths going through swamps and ancient, primeval

Eero Oura’s tips for beginners:

forests for bird watchers or families with children. The path between the Patvinsuo National Park bird tower and Olkkonensuo Fen can allow visitors to

Hiking does not require intensive training, but it does pay to build up

see wolverine tracks and signs of bears.

your legs to prepare your limbs and joints.

Break your boots in ahead of time, don’t start your hike in new shoes.

offers a more demanding challenge for those out for a day. Oura praises the

Test carrying your backpack and what you plan to carry with you.

five-kilometer ring route, which mostly twists through an ancient gorge and is

Hint: Collect all the things you think you need and leave half of them

a particularly interesting place for those interested in plants.


The previous tip is true for food as well: dry, but energy rich food is best.

If you are not curious by nature – find your sense of adventure.

When you head into the woods, just think, “This is great!” This way you’ll

have a great trip, and the mosquitoes and sweat will just add to the fun.

- The Kolvananuuro nature trail along the border of Eno and Kontiolahti

Into The Wilderness, Made Easy and Handicapped Accessible Camping trails open up to visitors to Joensuu almost from the center of the city. An easy nature trail twists through Kuhasalo at the mouth of the Pielisjoki River, and includes many camping sites and two huts that can be rented. Kuhasalo is also an interesting destination for those interested in |

history. It was the location of an isolated, medieval Orthodox monastery and has old pictographs carved into the cliffs. Some of the camping routes in Northern Karelia have been designed to offer

The best routes:

the handicapped accessible experiences in nature. For example, the Elovaara

The forest opens up entrepreneurship opportunities • See page 66.

19 • Magazine 2012

Photographing bears and other adventures Northern Karelia is a dream destination for those who like to be active in the wilderness, as it provides unforgettable experiences around the year. Finland’s last untamed rapids call out to river rafters at Ruunaa Hiking Center and offer fishermen unique fishing waters to reel in a catch worth bragging about. Motor safaris by snowmobile and all terrain vehicles are organized in accordance with the season. If you are charmed by real horse power, you can also see the regional landscape from the back of a gently moving Icelandic horse. See the top predators of the Northern wilderness and take pictures of wild animals from purpose built heated stands right next to them. Wolverines, bears, wolves, golden eagles, and white-tailed eagles are regular visitors to the picturesque locations of the Lieksa company Erä-Eero. Professional service providers offer programs to guide their customers to the best experiences in Northern Karelia. For their contact information and services, see

Take a look at North Karelian program services:



The Artisans’ Quarter is a must! In the heart of downtown Joensuu, just around the corner from the market square, you’ll find an idyllic nook decorated in vibrant colors. The wooden houses of the Artisans’ Quarter are a refreshing blast from the past, and they house an abundance of contemporary craftsmanship. The old wooden houses and their courtyards are home to a plethora of wonderful artisans’ shops, high-quality exhibitions and atmospheric events. A charming cafe serves up delicious pastries and salads and refreshing drinks. The entire area is alive with the joy of craftsmanship and Karelian hospitality. The beloved wooden quarter tells the true story of past merchants. You can still hear it in the gently creaking floors, the cobblestone courtyards, the clankity-clank of weaving looms and the exclamations of joy in the boutiques, exhibitions and events throughout the year. The Artisans’ Quarter entices visitors to return again and again. The number of visitors to the Artisans’ Quarter rises each year, and is currently up to more than 200,000 a year. The Artisans’ Quarter is a partner of the *North Karelia Biosphere Reserve.

The International Weaving Symposium attracts visitors in the summer The second International Weaving Symposium will be held in the Artisans’ Quarter at the end of July. The event attracts amateurs, students and professional craftsmen and women from across the globe and is held primarily in English and Finnish. The skilled performers and instructors of this nearly one week-long symposium hail from around the world, South African Heath Nash being one of the more famous names. Interior decoration is this year’s main theme, and workshops, expert lectures, exhibitions and the leisure program offer a variety of opportunities for active participation. Weaving workshops let participants experiment with different techniques and make wonderful products to take home with them.

Home Crafts Finland A new local crafts brand, Home Crafts Finland, offers high-quality, durable, Finnish-made interior design products. Their handmade quality design is a refreshing alternative to mass produced throwaways. A network of rural North Karelian artisans collaborates to produce the vibrant collections, which make decoration a pleasure in Finnish homes and abroad. The continued vitality of rural areas and the promotion of Finnish handicrafts are some of the venture’s main objectives.

*The North Karelia Biosphere Reserve is part of a global network of biosphere reserves based on UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program.

21 • Magazine 2012

The Grumpy Ladies keep tourists in motion

Achieving a sense of wellbeing at Pääskynpesä

Guided ski tours in the snow-covered wild landscapes of North Karelia

Located in Ilomantsi, Pääskynpesä combines high-quality rehabilitation

have enticed foreigners to flock to tour guides who call themselves Äksyt

services with a variety of leisure and conference options. The beautiful

Ämmät (literally Grumpy Ladies). These environmentally-friendly outings

scenery on the edge of Lake Ilomantsi and the fresh air provide an excellent

are particularly popular among German tourists who place a high value

setting to capture a sense of wellbeing and to relax.

on sustainable development, but the Grumpy Ladies also occasionally see environmentally conscious Dutch, Spanish and French visitors and an

Aside from the nature around it, Pääskynpesä’s allure is based on Ilomantsi’s

increasing number of Finns.

cultural riches and history. These allow us to offer all of our customers an opportunity to experience something quite special, whether it be through

Finnish food delights foreign visitors time and time again. They are

activities or peace and quiet. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, our rune singing

particularly impressed by the fact that most of the cooking is done right there

tradition and the history of our wars make our region unique, says Jaakko

in Guesthouse Pihlajapuu’s own kitchen using local produce and wild berries.

Hirvonen, managing director of Pääskynpesä.

The scrumptious berry treats, the homemade pastries and, in particular, the Karelian pies surprise international guests with their sheer diversity. Fresh

Pääskynpesä was founded two decades ago, and its range of wellness services

fish from the clean nearby lakes are a wonderful luxury for Finns and other

are among its strengths. Extensive expertise in rehabilitation guarantees the

Europeans alike. Äksyt Ämmät is a partner of the *North Karelia Biosphere

service level. Thanks to our partners, our service selections range from beauty

Reserve and the Karelia à la carte food tourism network, which offers its

treatments and massages to nutritional therapy.

delicacies throughout the region. | Pääskynpesä offers a sense of wellbeing and happiness to families, as well

Guesthouse Pihlajapuu’s rowan berry cake 150 g butter 2 dl sugar 2 eggs 3 1/2 dl plain wheat flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp powdered ginger 2 tsp vanilla-flavored sugar 2 dl rowan berry puree


Beat the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy, adding the eggs one by one and whisking constantly. Combine the dry ingredients and fold into the batter in turns with the rowan berry puree. Pour the batter into a buttered and floured baking tin. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for roughly 1 hour.

as to conferences and groups. After last year’s renovation, the renewed pool facilities have received top marks from children. Complete, guided travel packages are available to groups. Travel services are continually developed with the village of Ilomantsi and with other service providers in the region. This means that visitors can always find something new. In other words, as Managing Director Jaakko Hirvonen says, when you think you’ve already experienced everything, Ilomantsi is worth a visit!


Mining museum brings mining to everyday life

Experience the Kihaus Folk Festival in Rääkkylä!

In its time, the opening of the Outokumpu copper mine was the biggest pri-

Since its start over 40 years ago as the Heinähupa village festival, the Kihaus

vate initiative in the history of Finnish industry. The Old Mine, which was

Folk Festival has grown into one of the most significant folk music events in

started in the 1910s and was the first mine, is now the best known travel desti-

Finland. In recent years, Kihaus has found its place as a spotlight on folk mu-

nation of Outokumpu. The cold, damp, dark conditions in the museum tunnel

sic traditions of the east. The theme for 2012 is culturally oriented health and

take visitors back into the everyday life and work of miners. The new exhibi-

wellbeing. In addition to the concerts offered on July 6th and 7th, there are

tions of the Mining Museum guide visitors through the history of mining and

more audience participation opportunities than ever. Families with children

metallurgy and the secrets of geology. The Old Mine can be reserved for par-

have found their way to Kihaus. This year the program for children includes a

ties and conferences in the underground restaurant, or for organizing events

performance from Mimmit, well-known from children’s television. The Mim-

in a unique environment.

mit band, made up of the sister duo Pauliina Lerche and Hannamari Luukkai- |

nen, is from Rääkkylä.



Outokumpu is world famous for its connections with the mining industry, and is located on the border between Savonia and Karelia. Outokumpu is a city of industry, education and culture, with great options for spending your free time, including a gym, pool, multipurpose hall, and the Keretti Golf Course. The lively cultural life in Outokumpu offers events and nights at the theater for the entire family year around. Accommodation options include hotels, a camping site, a hostel and rental cabins.

Surrounded by water, Rääkkylä makes strong and distinctive efforts to maintain its culture. The village wants to offer its residents services from as nearby as possible. The people of Rääkkylä are satisfied with their health care services, which are provided by a private company. Plots for single family homes in the Vuoniemi area have their water and sewer connections ready and await new builders.

Population: 7,389 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 584 km2

Population: 2,540 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 699 km2

23 • Magazine 2012

Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen and his midsummer night’s dream The frontman of a rock group that has sold millions of albums is here to tell us how to fulfill our dreams. This North Karelian boy certainly dreamt his dreams in venerable company. His now world-renowned band Nightwish was founded with a group of good friends from Kitee, late at night by a campfire in the summer of 1996. The latest and perhaps greatest of Holopainen’s dreams, the film Imaginaerum, is coming together with the help of director Stobe Harju and a huge film crew. After four years of hard work – and a megalomaniac budget by Finnish standards – the Nightwish film will finally have its premiere this coming spring. This dreamer from Kitee has a few more tricks up his sleeve, such as a wild imagination that stems from his childhood scenery. It is hardly a coincidence that the main character in Holopainen’s dream project returns in his sleep to his childhood years. - My childhood memories are still a huge asset and source of comfort for me, Holopainen says, nodding as he reminisces about the magical nights of North Karelian summers and early morning tennis matches with his brother. Besides, the word ‘imaginaerum’ means ‘a place of imagination’.

The world famous star has kept his dialect Young Tuomas tried out every possible hobby available in Kitee. The North Karelia music academy finally served as the starting ground for Holopainen’s dream job. His band’s five first albums were actually born in the Kitee youth activity center. More than a few successful artists on the domestic music scene hail from Northern Karelia – Katri Helena, the Alanko brothers, Anna Puu, and many more. Critics in the big cities have no place laughing at small town bands. Success is much more about the individual, the ideas, and determination than where that person is from. Personally, I have nothing but positive things to say about the possibilities Kitee has given me. But it’s not good to concentrate on success too much when you’re chasing your dream.



- First and foremost, you have to love music, playing your instrument, and work together, as corny as that may sound. Success also requires finding your own niche and a huge amount of practice. And a willingness to throw yourself into your work, mad passion, good contacts, and a twisted sense of humor. Despite 7 million albums sold, the frontman of Nightwish is still a child of Karelia. He uses the pronoun “mie” when talking of himself, typical of the local dialect, and he still lives by Lake Pyhäjärvi in Kitee. Although touring and recording sessions abroad can take up 10 months of the year, there are times when Holopainen can be spotted in town every week. Which is a good thing. Apparently, the best cure for creative block is silence and the Karelian wilderness. This year’s Imaginaerum world tour will take Nighwish and Tuomas Holopainen to all corners of the globe, but he always returns home the moment he can. - I am so happily rooted in this scenery and its waters that moving away has never even occurred to me. Nightwish will kick off their Imaginaerum world tour at the Joensuu Arena on March 2nd. Their album of the same name was released last autumn 2011, and the premiere of the musical fantasy film is set for the spring of 2012.

Plamen Dimov, the maker of stars “I’m the happiest music teacher in Finland!” -I travel abroad quite a bit, and I always try to further the success of Finnish music during my travels. When Nightwish comes up in conversation, I point out various other factors that have contributed to their success: the Finnish educational system, the valuable cooperation of the various parties involved, the unique circumstances, describes Plamen Dimov, a music teacher in Northern Karelia. Or perhaps Maker of Stars would be a more accurate job title?


- Well, I did manage to be the first to witness this miracle. My instincts played a part in their success, as did Tuomas’s vision. They struck me as a group of unique youths in need of support for their talents. Even so, I am merely one

The city of Kitee is the center of Central Karelia, and its services are used by inhabitants of many surrounding areas. Life here is comfortable, and almost any hobby you could think of is available. Kitee is a typical wood and metal industry city and houses several international industrial companies. Marimekko and Karhu skis both have factories in Kitee. For its inhabitants, Kitee offers the beautiful scenery of the countryside but all the services of a city. Kitee’s Puhos village, for instance, has singlefamily construction plots available with their own shoreline. In Finland, Kitee is particularly famous for its moonshine, the Finnish baseball team Kiteen Pallo and the hard rock group Nightwish. Population: 9,165 people (as of Nov 30 , 2011) Total area: 1,141 km2 th

of many important figures behind their success, Dimov recollects. Nightwish’s success gives their music teacher Dimov a special sense of pride. - I often catch myself thinking, ‘Wow, they’re making music!’ I recently rang up Tuomas to tell him he’s matured into a formidable leader, composer, and lyricist. Dimov says he feels like the world’s happiest music teacher. With his pupils, he has the opportunity to tell stories, to inspire and be inspired, and he is able to support the talented stars of the future. - The most important thing is to give young people time. Music is also a wonderful form of communication and a way of speaking to others. There are many immensely talented up-and-coming singers and musicians from Northern Karelia, and they are already raking in success, Dimov beams. I follow my students’ careers and remain part of their lives. Tuomas and I meet up at least once a year, at Christmas, right here in Kitee.

Are you interested in the music business? • Check out North Karelia’s instrument cluster, on page 67.

25 • Magazine 2012

What a cradle of culture! The mysterious poetry of the entire north is depicted by a wedge of swans flying high over Koli. There in the heights of the wilderness, all senses are strangely heightened. The views are amazing in all directions, the altitude and depths feel enormous. Everything sings. This description of Koli was written 1914 by artist Pekka Halonen, who was inspired by the area.

North Karelia can proudly be described as a cultural region. The region often focuses especially on music and its stars, but in the dark forests of North Karelia, noble stories captured in literature and magnificent scenes from movies are born. In recent years, North Karelian culture has been able to develop employment and operational models in culture and to create new companies in the field. In order to maintain such progress, North Karelia is aiming to promote business skills in creative fields especially. Media culture has its own role entirely in the North Karelia culture scene. Plenty of study places in the cultural field as well as hobby opportunities have created new operators and action in the media sector. Thanks to students and professionals in the field, the North Karelian Film commission, Kontiolahti’s SF-Filmikylä and other companies and consortiums in the field have been given a new lease of life. The most well-known events are the Lieksa Brass Weeks, Ilosaarirock and the Rokumentti Rock Film festival, as well as several other film festivals. Culture is largely identity. That which was previously a cause for shame in remote areas seems to be the subject of much pride for current youth. North Karelia is seen as a fantastic place to live with regard to its nature and creative population. Numerous individual cultural events have created a reputation and image which the population can relate to. Many cultural factors and individuals of whom North Karelia can be proud have left their mark on history.




Have you read..? Simo Hämäläinen, Markus Kajo, Seppo Lappalainen, Maiju Lassila, Leena Lehtolainen, Tuomas Lius, Jouko Puhakka, Matti Pulkkinen, Matti Rönkä, Marja-Lenna Tiainen, Esko-Pekka Tiitinen, Eeva Tikka, Heikki Turunen, TuulaLiina Varis

Have you been to..? The Bomba Karelian house and village, Nurmes Carelicum, Joensuu Eva Ryynänen’s studio and the Paateri church, Lieksa Kitee zoo, Kitee

Have you listened to..?

Koli national park

Anna Puu, Dusha Pitera, Eläkeläiset, Erkki Räsänen, Esa Pakarinen, Happoradio, Hassisen kone, Jaakko Teppo, Jenna Bågeberg, Kalle Päätalo, Katri Helena, Kemmuru, Kumikameli, Neljä Ruusua, Nightwish, Rat Cats, Stella, Sanna Kurki-Suonio Trio, Värttinä, 51 koodia

Studio Korpinoita, Nurmes Möhkö Ironworks, Ilomantsi Pakkahuone, Joensuu Parppeinvaara bardic village, Ilomantsi Patvinsuo national park, Lieksa Petkeljärvi national park, Ilomantsi

Have you seen..?

Ruunaa outdoor activity area, Lieksa SF-Filmvillage, Kontiolahti

Aavan meren tällä puolen, Pearls and Pigs, Karjalan kunnailla TV series,

Taitokortteli handcraft and culture quarter, Joensuu

Kivenpyörittäjän kylä, Koirankynnen leikkaaja, Kulman pojat, Lieksa!, Onnen maa, Pitkä kuuma kesä, Pyhän kirjan varjo, Roskisprinssi, Doctor Zhivago, Unna ja Nuuk

Anna Puu and Koli. Anna has adopted a forest from the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

Things to see and experience for people of all ages:

27 • Magazine 2012

The Nieminen family wakes up to happier views. For the Nieminen family the move to North Karelia meant more than just extra space for living. Instead of asphalt and concrete, their view from the window was now a pleasant yard where the kids could play and dreams of gardening could be made true. Even the blue lake and the steep fell landscape behind it are visible from the plot. ”Could life get any better than this?” Nieminen asked his wife, as he made pancakes after an evening in the sauna.

30–31 Healthcare services at the nation’s top level, pages 52–53 Unequalled hobby opportunities, pages 42–43 Top athlete’s daily life goes hand-in-hand with family, pages

28 28

Home and life

A new home. A new life. North Karelia.

29 • Magazine 2012

Home run Popular star of pesäpallo (Finnish baseball), Sami “Eko” Partanen (32), is one

several years.

happy man. Last autumn the pint-sized giant returned to his home mound

- Everything is as good as it could possibly be! You could put it all on the

and brought another big name, Matti Latvala, with him to the Kiteen Pallo

highlight reel, Eko claims. And with a great team on the field and a wonderful

team. At the same time, KiPa extended the contracts of its other top players by

family at home, why shouldn’t he?

Sami Partanen’s family enjoys smooth daily life in Kitee.


Home and life

Children’s schedules… The freshly renovated, beautiful home is bustling with life. At the beginning of the year, the Partanen family moved into their new home in the pleasant suburb of Kytänniemi in Kitee. With the experienced hand he picked up last winter as stay-at-home dad, the pesäpallo star looks after his offspring while helping his wife Elina (29) decorate their home. The youngest child, 5-month-old Emppu, keeps a close eye on his older brothers Elmo (3) and Eeli (2). - For the moment, we’re living at Sami’s pace and on the schedule of a family with small children. An athlete’s days are always set with a stopwatch, so to speak, Elina says with the voice of experience having played pesäpallo at the national level herself. Luckily, distances are short in a small town. The boys spend a few days a week at the nearby day care center, and their future school is right next door to it. - Sports facilities are, of course, particularly close to our hearts. There are plenty of fun things for the family in Kitee, such as the Pajarinhovi animal park and the large sports area in Hutsi. Elmo is already taking skating classes, says the child’s mother Elina, a physical education teacher by profession.

Work–workout–work a.k.a. the usual Monday routine

- Any services we might need are easily accessible in this town. And since grandma and grandpa, the extended family, and many friends live so close by, childcare is never a problem. Quick trips to the grocery store wind up taking forever, though, because there’s always someone to chat with, Eko laughs.

6:30 am Wake up and get ready for the day

After breakfast, the boys and I watch children’s television programs as we gradually wake up.

7:45 am Off to work to teach physical education!

.…and the everyday life of an athlete -Even the boys yell out, ‘Daddy’s field!’, when we drive past the Rantakenttä mound, Elina laughs. And that beach side mound or the Hutsi gym is where you will find Sami ”Eko”

Off to teach gym class to students of the Kitee vocational school. The class is at Hutsi, which is just under three kilometers away and reached in mere minutes, sometimes by bicycle, sometimes by car.

9:30 am Pesäpallo practice: up and at ‘em!

Practice is at the same location, Hutsi, so it’s just a few minutes’ transfer. The trip home after practice takes less than five minutes.

11:30 am Lunch at home with the family

Time for a little breather while the boys take their nap. And there’s always housework to do.

Partanen every day, sometimes even twice a day.

11:55 am Off to teach another gym class!

- During the winter, we practice strength, speed, and skill with a focus on the

1:30 pm Daytime activities with the boys

physical side of things. As spring draws closer, the focus shifts, the pesäpallo star describes his training schedule. Regardless of his chosen form of transportation, Partanen reaches the pesäpallo mound in just a few minutes, and the distance to the Hutsi sports area is roughly the same. Hutsi has a wide range of training facilities: an ice hall with a running track, and the Vespeli swimming pool with its adjoined gym and gymnasium. Smooth logistics in his everyday life is of particular importance because a chunk of his time is consumed by his work as a physical education teacher at the North Karelia vocational school.

To Hutsi and back. A total of two hours or so, including travel.

It’s the start of the evening shift for Sami the Dad: time to fix up a snack for both the boys and himself. Household chores while Mom is out at one of her hobbies: floor hockey, Zumba class, the gym, or ice hockey.

4:30 pm Dinner for the boys 5:00 pm Parental shift change and off to evening practice A few hours of pesäpallo practice for the man of the house. Getting to practice and back may be a cinch, but the workout is far from it.

7:30 pm Back home, where Dad is a bit late for the boys’ supper

He does make it back in time to get the boys ready for bed. The last hours of the day are spent reading emails for workout tips, catching up on work, or vegging out in front of the TV.

11.00 pm At long last, the youngest child falls asleep, as do his parents.

Find your dream place at:

31 • Magazine 2012

Tuomas Lius makes his hometown the center of excitement

One of today’s most popular authors in Finland lives in the Northern Karelian

- By my teen years, I’d retired the characters, but they woke right up once

village of Käsämä with his wife Annika and his dog Remo. Joensuu native

I started planning my first detective story. Marko Pippurinen and Julia

Tuomas Lius elbowed his way to the front of the Finnish whodunit scene with

Noussair have, of course, matured with age, but the interpersonal dynamics of

his first two detective novels, and his latest effort, Härkäjuoksu, has proved both

two such entirely different characters was such an intriguing premise that I

a commercial and critical success since its publication in autumn 2011.

just couldn’t leave them gathering dust. Tuomas Lius sees a bit of himself in Pippurinen but also feels that the

The odd man out of the Finnish whodunit scene

character has a typical Karelian disposition. You’re more than likely to bump into a Pippurinen or two if you pop in for a coffee at the local gas station in

The author himself is a bit stunned by his popularity, as his books do not


follow the current trends of the Finnish mystery genre. Instead, they combine the intense suspense of international action thrillers with the macabre humor

- In typical North Karelian fashion, Pippurinen doesn’t sweat the little things,

of the author’s earlier Pekka Lipponen adventures. Another difference is that

like his appearance, clothing or even whether or not his diet is all that healthy.

the events take place in the quiet wilderness of Eastern Finland rather than in

If something can be left till tomorrow, it can probably be left till the week

the bustling hubbub of major cities.

after. On the other hand, Pippurinen has a sturdy moral backbone, and his underlying values are clear, although he may be a little flexible with the

- Perhaps the key to my success is that when I write, the only audience

details. Underneath his shabby shell lies a hard-driving man who achieves

I’m trying to entertain is myself. If I succeed at that, the book is bound to

results, Tuomas Lius emphasizes.

entertain someone else as well. I also the think the time has been right for this type of story with dangerous twists and turns, dark humor, and references to pop culture. Either way, I’m incredibly grateful to all my readers for every page

Childhood comics led to a career in writing

they’ve read, Tuomas Lius says, contemplating his immense following. Tuomas Lius’s career as an author kicked off in 2006, when he published two books. The first was an expansion on Finnish mystery classics, Kalle Kustaa

The unusual heroes of the books are close by

Korkin paluu (The Return of Kalle Kustaa Korkki), and the second was the comic book Jade Warrior – Shangfu, which served as a background story to the

The books are known for their movie-style touch, and there is a surprising

movie of the same name.

story behind their cinematic appeal. Tuomas Lius laid the foundation of his stories as a child in the 1980s, when together with his cousin Noora he

Comics were this future novelist’s first love. He drew his first stories at the

made home videos in the style of the British detective show Dempsey and

young age of 4, and he still has a few of his old self-made Tarzan comics lying

Makepeace. Much like in the TV show, Noora played the sharper half of the

around in his desktop drawer.

duo while Tuomas was the character prone to a bit of slacking.


Home and life

On the career fast track? Or more into slow living? In Northern Karelia, you set your own pace.

MY HOME is my sanctuary. When I come home, I feel the importance of values over belongings. With only the bare necessities around me, I enjoy the spiritual plenitude that comes with scarcity.

MY WORK means a lot to me. It puts food on the table and gives me a sense of professional identity. Creative thinking requires an interesting and inspiring backdrop, which can’t be measured in money alone.

MY FREE TIME can include physical work. To balance out my life in the studio, I spend time in the forest with work horses. Toiling away in the woods puts my mind at ease and lets me enjoy the serene nature.

MONEY is a necessary evil. It can be a good thing when used responsibly, but if you give it control, it derails your life, makes you greedy, and takes away your peace of mind. We should all think more carefully about how we spend our money. Anssi Mikael Okkonen, 42. Artist.

In his art, Okkonen examines Karelian culture through people and a variety of temporal levels. His way of life exhibits his interest in old bits and pieces and their potential uses in the present. He resides in Nurmes, in Kuokanvaara.

MY HOME by the lake is the best place in the world to me. It is a symbol of relaxation and counterbalances my work. Home is a place for winding down.

MY WORK is a huge part of my life. I occasionally work from home as it is

very easy to get work done in these peaceful surroundings. Learning through work has always been important to me, and I am constantly acquiring new knowledge in my field. It is good to keep up to date on the latest developments of the industry.

MY FREE TIME The sky, the moon and the lake. What free time I have

Tuomas Lius is currently working on a new comic book. These frames provide a glimpse into the book’s world based on Finnish mythology.

goes towards relaxation. I like to keep my work and my free time in balance to counteract my workaholism. Working from home helps, as does the simple act of being at home, whether it is for business or pleasure. On the other hand, I am more than happy to just lie by the fireplace reading a book!


is not an end in itself, but makes learning possible. In my case, this

means it makes traveling possible. In my free time, I travel around the world visiting new travel destinations, hotels and restaurants. I get to experience - I wasn’t much of an artist, and even the text consisted mostly of the occasional cries of Aaargh or Oooh, with a few exclamation marks thrown in for good measure. Writing has nonetheless always been my dream, and now I have finally accomplished it. Or maybe I’m just continuing my childhood games. And since it isn’t really socially acceptable for a 35 year old man to play cops and robbers anymore, I’ve put my games on paper, Tuomas Lius chuckles.

new things, i.e., money gives me the opportunity to have my work as my hobby while I travel. Susanna Saastamoinen, 39. Hotel manager, Sokos Hotel Koli.

Saastamoinen has returned to Karelia after living elsewhere for a while and now resides in Lieksa in a house by Lake Pankajärvi. The most important things in her life are her family, friends and home town.

33 • Magazine 2012

Northern Karelia’s first wooden apartment building using passive house technology will be built in Ylämylly

A skillfully made passive structure significantly reduces living costs.


Home and life

Keeping the heat indoors keeps the bills small The first wooden apartment building in North Karelia to use passive house technology will be built in Ylämylly, right outside Joensuu, in the spring of 2012. The apartment building, to be constructed by Talo-Team Oy, is unique in its technical characteristics. Its significant energy efficiency is thanks to a revolutionary new wall construction that was developed right here in Karelia. The developer of this patent pending wall structure is the house manufacturer Energiakodit Oy from the town of Liperi. The company manufactures readyto-assemble element house packages that meet passive house requirements. The innovative wall structure has no cold bridges, and the leakage of air has been minimized. Passive heating expends three times less energy than current energy regulations would allow, so the tenant gains tangible financial benefits in addition to having a positive effect on the environment. - Thanks to the wall structure, the heating costs of a two bedroom apartment are only about 10 euros a month, and a one bedroom apartment can be heated for only 7.5 euros. The savings are considerable compared to a traditionally built house, say Mr. Taisto Martikainen, CEO of Energiakodit Oy.

The upcoming trend in construction In passive houses, energy savings are not based on technical gadgetry but on the reduction of heat loss through improved insulation, structural solutions and the recovery of ventilation heat. The constructors of the wooden apartment building in Ylämylly feel that the combination of eco-friendly

Joensuu Science Park accelerates wood-based construction in Finland

wood and energy-efficient structures are the way of the future. The energy efficiency of housing is already a hot topic and will undoubtedly only gain importance, especially in light of increasingly strict energy requirements. By the end of 2020, all newly constructed buildings in the entire EU will need to meet near-zero energy requirements. The creation of new,

Joensuu Science Park Ltd is respected nationwide as an expert in wood-based construction. The Science Park is active in numerous nationwide forums through its role as manager of the North Karelia Center of Expertise, which

innovative solutions will play a key role in the industry.

in turn plays a prominent part in the increase of wooden construction in

- We expect to see strong growth in wood-based construction and the adop-

how and technological developments of the sector in Finland.

tion of passive house technology, particularly in the production of small apartment blocks. In the future, as the technology evolves, passive houses can be turned into self-sufficient zero-energy homes, claims Martikainen.

Finland. The Science Park seeks to improve the commercial viability, know-

The Science Park is also the driving force behind a project that aims to place North Karelia at the forefront of energy-efficient wood construction and to concentrate the sector’s business and innovative actions in the province.

Find your dream place at:

The cleanest way to heat a wooden house is with bioenergy • See page 67.

35 • Magazine 2012

New stories from Penttilänranta Is it possible to live any better? On the bank of the river, almost in the center,

respect for nature using the latest technology. In an area whose story is an

on the edge of a small forest. Near recreational paths and with a nature

important part of its town’s history. And a door to tomorrow. All this offered by

conservation area nearby. In a home built beautifully and sustainably with

Penttilänranta. It fits in well with the scenery and its architecture is top quality.

The new, magnificent Penttilänranta will be constructed just a stone’s throw from the Joensuu market.


Home and life

Full speed ahead for new construction Construction work is progressing rapidly in the Penttilä sawmill area. The

Finland’s biggest fish

completion of massive restoration work on the site has made way for new

It was a beautiful evening, as summer

construction. Nature and residents are thankful for the expansive cleaning

evenings usually are, when the Kultamaa

operation and renewed environment. Hammers can be heard once more in the

couple left for a small drive around down.

sawmill area, which is over one hundred years old. It’s time for new stories. A

Suddenly Mr. Kultamaa thought of

one-of-a-kind modern, environmentally friendly district is being constructed

throwing out some bait near Jokiasema...

in the historically significant area. It promises pioneering solutions for

And straight away! What a catch, what

minimizing energy expenditure and the burden on the environment. The

a pike perch! The fish weighed 8.942 kg

construction of basic infrastructure began with a street and water supply

and was 90 cm long. It won the Finland’s

network last year, and the first plot handovers have been carried out.

biggest fish competition. You wouldn’t have

Residents will already be given access to their new homes this year.

thought it, in the middle of the city, Jorma Kultamaa recalls afterwards.

A dream by the river mouth The new construction in the historic residential area will soon be connected to the city and become part of the center. The new pedestrian and cycle bridge, to be constructed over the next couple of years, will make it possible to cross

Tradition still alive

the river in just a few minutes. It will be easy to head for the Pyhäselkä fishing

In Penttilä residents have always taken care

areas in the coming years from the planned small boat harbor. Schools, daycare

of their own. Especially the former workers

centers, the central hospital, railway and bus stations, numerous restaurants

at the sawmill still enjoy decisions made

and many markets are found within a radius of two kilometers. Not to mention

by the mill’s owners. Communal coffee

the services, which are just a stone’s throw away from the center. Nature and

get-togethers are held on Wednesdays

outdoor activity routes start from your front door, and several beaches – not

in Aarnela homes near Pajamäki. Aarne

forgetting winter swimming spots – are just a short walk or cycle trip away.

Cederberg, a member of the family which founded the sawmill, had the houses built and modified the communal spaces to be

Traditional community

used only by the area’s pensioners. Other homes in the area may not be sold, and the

The residential area with its exemplary energy solutions is home to a sawmill that at

sawmill owner also decided that rent must

one point was the largest in the Nordic countries. The saw workers’ district was very

be kept at a reasonable level.

community-based for over one hundred years. This atmosphere of community is also supported nowadays, with new kinds of zoning solutions, for example.

Views of Pyhäselkä from Pajamäki New homes are to be built on the slopes of Pajamäki hill. Magnificent views of


the river and all the way to Pyhäselkä open up from the plots, nestled in the shadows of resplendent pines and bordering on a park. A significant number of people are expected to move in the spring – new sites are continuously coming on to the market. In some places demand has been high, so currently it pays to be quick. There are quality apartment block homes of various sizes and prices with energy and cost saving solutions utilizing the latest technology. More information on the homes of your dreams: | |

Joensuu is a Karelian border city that shares an approximately 30-kilometer common border with the Russian Federation. In addition to cultural influences from east of the border, the students of the University of Eastern Finland, the universities of applied science and other educational institutes, and high-quality cultural and leisure services add their flavor to the city. Joensuu celebrates culture in 2012 as the Joensuu City Theater marks its 100th year, the Joensuu Art Museum turns 50, and the Joensuu Muncipal Library reaches 150. Population: 73,668 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 2,751 km2

In Penttilänranta you live at the heart of events • See pages 16–17.

37 • Magazine 2012

The sunshine village of Kesälahti

City life by Lake Pielinen in Lieksa

Kesälahti is particularly known as a magnificent summer location. Its

The so-called Kiramo riverbank is now zoned for 12 single-family and rowhouse

nickname of the sunshine village already tells everyone that the sun often

plots, which fit alongside a beautiful arched bridge on the riverbank of the

shines in Kesälahti. This is partially due to the favorable influence of nearby

Lieksanjoki River. The plan allows the construction of eco-friendly, ultramodern,

Lake Ladoga. The fine sandy beaches of Kesälahti attract many visitors and

low energy buildings. The area is close to services, as it is about 1.5 kilometers from

summer residents: there are up to 2,000 summer cottages. The fishing contest

a business district, and the nearest school and day care facility are only about 500

where competitors row boats to troll for fish to be named King of the Salmon

meters away. Hiking routes and boat landings are right next door. Rowhouses

of Lake Puruvesi is organized in Kesälahti, and is the largest of its kind in

designed for seniors and high-quality homes are also under construction at

Finland. The local inhabitants want to develop their municipality themselves,

Timitra, Linnanranta. Renovation work involving the conversion of the old

and have thus established Pro Kesälahti to promote the wellbeing of residents

barracks into different sized residences is being carried out alongside all this new

and to improve the local surroundings.

construction. The upper floors of this fine stone building have stunning views out over Lake Pielinen and its surroundings. You could not ask for a more beautiful place to live.



Kesälahti is the southernmost community of Northern Karelia. It lies between the clear waters of Lake Puruvesi and Karelia’s Lake Pyhäjärvi (there are several lakes in Finland by this name), both of which are rather large. The sunshine village of Kesälahti is known for its vendace (a rather small, tasty fish), its strawberries and its strong metal industry.

Lieksa has spread along both shores of Lake Pielinen, Finland’s fourth largest lake. The city center, the many attractions of Vuonislahti village and the Ruunaa rapids, which are within reach of the eastern border, are on the east shore. On the west shore of Lake Pielinen lies Koli, which attracts many visitors with its ski slopes and picturesque rolling landscapes.

Population: 2,362 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 583 km2

Population: 12,619 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 4,068 km2


Home and life

Ylämylly garrison to become cosy Jyrinkylä

Quality of life and ease of living in the old market town of Nurmes

Paloaukea, known from Väinö Linna’s The Unknown Soldier, is undergoing

Nurmes market town was established on the ridge between Lake Pielinen

a period of drastic changes. Paloaukea is located in Ylämylly, Liperi, just a

and Lake Nurmesjärvi in 1876. Puu-Nurmes (Wooden Nurmes) is an idyllic and

quarter of an hour away from Joensuu market, Liperi parish village or the

historically significant district with old wooden houses. This is one of the tourist

traditional Viinijärvi area. Ylämylly is rapidly growing as part of the Joensuu

attractions of the old market town, with its beautiful birch trees along the

sub-region. The village’s services include a school, daycare center, an exercise

wide lanes. The old market town can today be described as one where everyday

hall, a care home and outdoor exercise areas. The garrison’s history is visible

life goes on smoothly. Work, home and services join together into a compact,

in the village’s public buildings, street names, and especially in the Paloaukea

human-sized community. The old market town in Nurmes also includes a

Vehicle and Gun Museum. The roots of successful business operations are

railway station that began operations at the beginning of the 20th century. The

partly in the garrison’s early life.

City of Nurmes is now selling the locomotive hall, rowhouse and air-raid shelter in the incredibly scenic area. The surroundings provide a setting for comfortable work and life, as they provide new experiences and uses as the development plan is completed.



Made up of three population centers, Liperi is a thriving and independent area with a positive image involved in active cooperation with the sub-region. Liperi promotes its residents’ wellbeing by ensuring commonly agreed basic services. The municipality’s attractiveness is based on a pleasant environment, leisure homes and its flexible business policy.

Nurmes, Europe’s official city of Christmas carols, is situated at the north end of Lake Pielinen. The city is known as the “city of birches” due to the unique rows of birch trees planted in its urban areas. The old market town with its wooden buildings is of considerable historical value and is protected as such by regulations. The Bomba tourism area and the international travel and youth center in Hyvärilä offer a wide range of pastimes and programs.

Number of inhabitants: 12,299 (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total surface area: 1,161 km2

Population: 8,375 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 1,855 km2

39 • Magazine 2012

Electronic desk brings laptops to pupils in upper secondary school

Fiber-optics beat water to the finish line

At Kontiolahti upper secondary school you can meet incredibly motivated –

A special village program aiming to obtain fibre-optics for the entire region has

and even digitalized – students. Gradually, instead of a paper to write answers

been made in North Karelia. The village developers network believes that in

on, students will be given the chance to input their own answers with a laptop

2020 everyone in the region will enjoy the speed of fiber-optics. The challenge

to the smart board and then even to online materials.

is demanding, but fiber-optics are known to be a fast and reliable data transfer solution. Presumably this will increase the number of people moving to the region.

The idea was coined by headmaster Ilpo Saarelainen, and the laptops are funded by the Konverkko technology project. The students themselves had a

- The construction of a broadband network is still fragmented. If we want the

chance to choose suitable computers, and the Fujitsu 12-inch machines were

fiber-optic network quickly available to the entire region, we need a fiber-optic

chosen as the best – they also fit in your backpack.

co-op to implement it. Then government aid would also become a possibility. In Rautavaara a co-op has proven itself to be a good model, explains village

In the future, Kontiolahti will be highly involved in the development of

representative Tuomo Eronen.

learning technology. The fiber-optic network serves the village residents in many ways. In many houses, - Students are able to utilize an electronic base for learning and therefore

a clear picture on TV was only possible after a 100Mb connection.

independent work and the electronic classroom will develop, headmaster Saarelainen believes. This step in technology is useful for daily learning in

- Fiber-optics makes a whole series of things possible. Safety, social and health

any case, as cooperation between educational facilities in Eastern Finland is

services would be easier to use. Actually the entire media field would be available

becoming more common and diverse thanks to digitalization.

for use by the residents, Eronen adds. - Surveys have shown that data communication solutions make the lives of families and entrepreneurs far easier. This work is worth continuing, Eronen says. Fast connections were first experienced in the village of Varpanen, in Lieksa, where fiber-optic cables were installed in the village hall before running water!


Home and life

North Karelia – rewarded for its villagepositive attitude

Thinking of the children

Many Finnish regions could learn from North Karelian villages. Village

New day care centers for the villages of Sotkuma and Marjala

activeness is part of the regional image – something for which many villages have been rewarded. Most recently, The Village Action Association of Finland and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities chose Ilomantsi as the most village-positive municipality of the year due to its diverse long-term support for, activity within and service development for the local community. Village operations are organized and supported by village developers from various networks. Tuomo Eronen from the Pohjois-Karjalan Kylät association says that the operation method makes it possible to further develop different ideas. - The operation method is very village-oriented and different organizations are deployed in the villages. A functional network is key. And the action in the villages isn’t just any old action. Aims are high: in the near future a shared information service plus handicrafts and first aid training among other things. This is a certain kind of way of life. Especially seniors are involved and hope for the village halls to be lively and busy, Eronen says. In sparsely populated areas services that go into villages, rather than the opposite, must be provided. All in all, the villages’ activeness promotes the area’s life force. The regional village program contains new and lively ideas for promoting village activities. - There’s always wind in the fells, Eronen laughs.

The Sotkuma village in Polvijärvi certainly hasn’t let the recession get it down. The high-spirited village of just over 500 inhabitants now has a welldeserved new school building, which also provides a common space for the village association’s meetings and events and for other recreational activities. While schools are being shut down in other sparsely populated areas of the country, Sotkuma believes in the future. The new building is set to support the expected growth. Long term benefits have also been top priority in Joensuu’s Marjala, where the daycare center was built in such a way that common problems, such as poor indoor air, should never be an issue. The daycare center is also involved in a project that aims to engage children in more physical activity. The joint project of the North Karelian Regional Council and the North Karelian Sports Association covers 10 municipalities, and their 25 daycare centers have a specific exercise plan. The Marjala daycare center is eager to take part and increase the amount of healthy exercise that children receive.

41 • Magazine 2012

The joy of flying and the need for speed North Karelia also provides excellent opportunities for enjoying hobbies that are a little less ordinary. Near downtown Kitee, just off the number 6 highway, you’ll find the AIMO – a versatile center known for being one of the major hubs of Finnish recreational aviation.


The Kitee AIMO is the place to go for flying gliders, ultralight aircrafts and standard engine planes. Also hang gliders and model airplane enthusiasts have taken a liking to the field. It is also a haven for racing fans, as go-karts, rally cross and rally sprint each have their own tracks. There’s even a track for motorcycles and another for snowmobiles!

Home and life

The province’s lakes vary in their vegetation, and the abundance of flowing rivers and crystal clear ponds allow for plenty of ideal scuba diving sites. The Neitikoski rapids in Ruunaa are known as the number one hotspot for rodeo rafters and their madcap stunts.

What if you moved nearer to your hobbies? •

Extreme sports enthusiasts will find some of Finland’s best terrains in North Karelia. River rafting, mountain biking and rock climbing are possible, whether you are a lone sportsman or prefer to join one of the many clubs in the area. One of the annual highlights is the Marathon of Dangers (Vaarojen maraton), where the racers are put to the test in the challenging landscapes of Koli National Park.

43 • Magazine 2012

Thanks to good environmental factors, Taru Eloranta found she had a real head for business. Taru had already been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, but it was only after her move to Joensuu that the spark became a flame. In addition to the inspirational atmosphere, environmental support accelerated the new entrepreneur’s start and made it easy to start building for the future. In a development corporation, even a small company is seen as important and the other entrepreneurs in the region gladly accepted the newcomer into their network. As a woman who looks far into the future, Taru analyzed the labor situation in her own area and noticed that at least growth won’t be stunted by a lack of skilled workers.

Strong support for companies at every stage, page


An entrepreneur deserves the best quality of living, page Life force from unique nature, pages

44 44



Business and work

A new job. A new life. North Karelia.

45 • Magazine 2012

A region of opportunities for success-oriented business operations

North Karelia offers attractive benefits for companies looking for a location,

North Karelia. Entrepreneurs and investors receive diverse expert services

and interesting investment sites for investors. The creation of new business

from the development companies, who make sure that the planned action is

activity and the growth of functioning businesses are supported in many

implemented rapidly and efficiently.

different ways. Excellent bases for the start-up of business activity and its development offer a skilled and committed workforce and the good

- We compile a tailored investment package for potential investors, which

availability of affordable premises. As an additional benefit, North Karelia

contains, for example, space solutions, a workforce, educational needs and

offers both entrepreneurs and company staff a good quality of life.

possible market investigations. A company can connect to all interest groups directly through us, like the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the Employment and Economic Development Office,

New areas supplement existing foundations

whose support is useful for following through an investment decision.

As a region known for being business-friendly, the region’s strongest areas

If necessary we support those planning new business activity right from

are forest and natural resource skills, the mining industry and metal

the starting phase, we can be involved in testing the business idea, financial

product industry. New, successful business activity is constructed around

calculations and drawing up business plans. Companies investing in North

nanotechnology and bioenergy. A good example of the latter is Fortum Power

Karelia have the opportunity to receive affordable subsidy funding for

and Heat Oy’s plan to construct a pyrolysis oil plant in Joensuu which would

investments and the development of business operations,” explains project

produce oil from wood for energy and heat production.

manager Antti Heikkinen from Josek.

Also growing strongly is the contact center sector, which currently employs over one thousand people in North Karelia. One of the most significant

Proximity to Russia opens up opportunities

new operators in the region is data communications corporation DNA Oy, which opened a new contact service centre in Joensuu in autumn 2010. The

New business opportunities are brought by the proximity to Russia, which can

investment decision on the contact center was supported most of all by

be seen in the increase in Russian tourists and strengthening of cross-border

the good availability of staff and premises as well as lively market potential

company contact.

offered by the region. - North Karelia has the skills and the readiness to serve companies in Russian

Tailored expert services for investors

business operations. Many Russians who speak Finnish can be found in the region. Functioning cooperation networks have been created in the area to many areas in Russia which are potentially important for companies. There

The region’s regional development companies, Joensuu Regional Development

is room and opportunity in the Russian markets to build excellent success

Company Josek Ltd, Central Karelia development Company Keti Ltd and

stories, Antti Heikkinen says, emphasizing the special benefits gained from

Pielinen Karelia Development Centre Ltd all support companies investing in

North Karelia’s location.

Are you interested in an established business?


Business and work

Security goes by a North Karelian name

Numerous top companies whose skills provide success and wellbeing for the entire region work in North Karelia. Abloy Oy, known as a pioneer in lock security is a model example of a company which has used its skills to go from a regional to global leader in its field. Today the company exports security to over 70 countries where its products are used in sites demanding an especially high level of security. ABLOY products are manufactured in three regions in Finland. The company’s headquarters are in Joensuu. Abloy Oy’s Joensuu factory’s status as the leading product developer and manufacturer of tumbler cylinders, electromagnetic lock frames, padlocks and door checks in the ASSA ABLOY corporation reveals something about North Karelian innovative ability. Abloy Oy is part of the ASSA ABLOY corporation. Abloy Oy employs around 800 people in Joensuu.

Care services are developing alongside industry • See pages 54–55.

47 • Magazine 2012

Arcusys sees growth on both sides of the border

Joensuu-based Arcusys Oy is an innovative IT service provider founded in

employees who go on to join the work market. Joensuu is surprisingly

2003. The company has grown swiftly from its meager beginnings as a four

attractive to IT professionals from larger Finnish cities, particularly to those

person start-up and now employs over 40 IT professionals. In the summer of

who have heard positive things about the area and its quality of life from

2010, Arcusys expanded its operations to the other side of the border to the

friends who have already moved here for work. Over the course of 2012, we will

Russian city of Petrozavodsk.

be recruiting 15 new IT professionals, which should be no trouble at all thanks to our excellent reputation. Arcusys Oy is now one of the 50 fastest growing IT

- The initial spark for setting up Arcusys came from a need to find gainful

companies in Finland, and the Finnish business newspaper Kauppalehti cited

employment. We started out by subcontracting ourselves to larger IT

us as one of the Success Stories of 2011, Jussi Hurskainen says with a touch of

companies, but over the years our business model matured, and we decided to


concentrate on the development of open source based products and services. Our past few years of tremendous growth have proved this strategy a smart

Recruitment also played a part in the company’s recent expansion into Russia.

one, as particularly the public sector has made a huge shift into open source,

Initially, the new subsidiary in Petrozavodsk employed only four people, all of

says Arcusys Oy CEO Jussi Hurskainen.

whom were former subcontractors of Arcusys. The employee count has since increased to ten or so.

According to Hurskainen, the use of open source code gives Arcusys a competitive edge and will continue to do so in the future. His continued belief

- Originally, we to set out to make our pricing more competitive by locating

in a strong, yet controlled, growth for the company is backed by the fact that

subcontractors in the Petrozavodsk area. Currently, however, our subsidiary in

even heavy industry has started showing an interest in new, cost-efficient IT

Petrozavodsk concentrates mostly on product development and the creation

solutions. By embracing open source based solutions, companies are able to

of open source solutions for our Finnish and foreign customers.

avoid licensing fees and have their solutions tailored to meet their specific needs.

- Through our Petrozavodsk office, we have launched an active sales campaign with the goal of entering the Russian market, and we’ve already begun to see

Jussi Hurskainen is originally from nearby Kitee and considers Joensuu an

results. The decision to start our own subsidiary on the eastern side of the

excellent location for IT companies. In today’s information society, staying

border has proved sensible, as it gives us a home field advantage on both the

in touch with customers and other interest groups is easy regardless of

Finnish and the Russian sides of the border.

geographical location. This lack of restriction enables companies to choose their location according to their actual needs.

- From the perspective of a company located in Joensuu, Petrozavodsk is an excellent staging area for our Russian activities. Shuttling between the cities is

- One of the cornerstones of any IT business is the availability of a skilled

easy thanks to the congestion-free border crossing at Niirala, says Arcusys Oy

workforce. Joensuu provides excellent recruitment opportunities in the

CEO Jussi Hurskainen.

IT sector because its university and college constantly train new potential


Business and work

Congestion-free border crossings at Niirala The Niirala international border crossing in Tohmajärvi offers smooth connections between the Russian Federation and Finland. Finland’s third most active border entrance/ exit is open 24 hours a day around the year, and has both road and rail connections with Russia. The road connections serve both personal and freight traffic. The railway connections through Niirala mostly carry cargo.

Joensuu’s tax-free sales reach record high The tax-free trade is growing almost twice as fast in Joensuu as elsewhere in Finland. The city saw tax-free purchases worth 6.9 million euro made in the first nine months of 2011. The increase on the previous year was as much as 80%. As a result, Joensuu become the fourth most active city in terms of the tax-free trade. Russian travelers make the majority of the purchases as Joensuu is an easily reachable and attractive shopping destination for them.

Tohmajärvi Tohmajärvi is home to a lively Northern Karelian gateway to Russia. Over 1.3 million passengers cross annually at the Niirala international border crossing. The Russian presence can also be seen in daily life, as Tohmajärvi has the most Russian immigrants on a per capita basis in Finland. The rich cultural heritage of the district manifests itself in Potsipäivä in July. The gorgeous rolling landscape provides fine places to live for new members of the village. Population: 5,003 people (as of Nov 30th, 2011) Total area: 895 km2

49 • Magazine 2012

Life force from North Karelian cheese! The Valio factory in Joensuu and cheese have a special place in Northern Karelian economic life. Approximately 70 percent of agricultural income comes from milk (via Valio), and there are about 650 milk producers for Valio

- Our vision is to profitably increase sales of our brands. This means safe, high-quality, tasty cheese. Our operation is efficient, and we are known for delivering on schedule, Tikander continues.

in the area. The annual turnover of the Joensuu factory is close to 150 million euro. Counting both the workers in the factory and those who work on the dairy farms, Valio employs 2,000 people, which corresponds to nearly 3 percent of those working in the region. Although many of the area’s dairy farms

The factory has its strong brands, including products such as the most common cheeses on Finns’ breakfast tables. Valio Salaneuvos®, Valio Polar® and Valio Viola®-cream cheese are the result of longterm efforts. Tracking customer behavior and

have closed up for good,

conducting research for

others have increased

product development

their productivity.

and improvements also guarantee profitable

- This is a source of


optimism for the future. Every single new liter of

- New innovative

milk on a farm benefits

products are always more

our region, says Petri Tikander – plant manager for the Valio factory in Joensuu.

profitable. We follow trends in consumption and innovate for our strong brand groups, as well as tune our current products. We also

This optimism aligns with Valio’s own vision.

create products before consumers are even aware that they want them, hints Tikander.


Business and work

A change in leadership styles improves performance Operational approaches and leadership styles have been developed extensively in recent years in Valio production facilities. - At the Joensuu factory we have, in essence, changed our entire planning and delivery systems in recent years. We aim at a quicker and more stable mode of operations, Tikander says. To guarantee quality, the leadership culture has changed. Listening to and supporting the opinions of personnel has also led to an increase in the number of new suggestions. - We have ranked high at a national level in recent years in terms of the number of suggestions. Valio also tries to increase the level of commitment by its staff through leadership. Tikander also stresses that leaders must get out there among their teams and away from hiding behind their computers. - Leadership needs to be seen. Leadership by computer has changed to markers and flip charts. When you walk alongside the production line, how things are going that day should be apparent immediately, Tikander continues. According to Tikander, the changes in the leadership style at the Joensuu factory have sometimes been extreme, but very effective. You don’t get very far by bossing people around, although a disciplined approach is important. - The really essential thing these days is to inspire a common vision

Porokylän Leipomo bakery is ready to go far

among the team to develop our way of working. This is also a leadership challenge. The goal is for the team to want to change how we do things in order to achieve the vision.

This North Karelian bakery’s products are sold in grocery stores all over the country, from Rovaniemi to Helsinki and Turku. Most recently, their products were added to the select few sold at the in-store baking stations of K-Market grocery stores. As third generation bakery entrepreneur Timo Väänänen puts it, Porokylän Leipomo does not make a habit of lying around waiting for things to happen. The company pops novel products out of the oven on a regular basis, including the low-carbohydrate Skarppi loaf it introduced in September. Familiar staples, such as rye bread, Karelian pies, and various types of filled bread loaves known as ‘kukko’, make up 85 percent of the company’s income. Their bakeries in Nurmes and Lieksa run at almost full capacity and show no sign of slowing down. Väänänen believes Finland will continue to enjoy its bread and butter, particularly when the bread is baked with care and with the customer in mind. Porokylän Leipomo is the highest selling private-owned bakery in its market area. The company’s turnover was 8.4 million euro last year and is set to be slightly higher this year. The company employs more than 70 people.

51 • Magazine 2012

In the same place, on hospital hill “Quickly in, quickly home” could be the motto of the North Karelia Central

- Everyone knows that if the father of a family is ill, the children are also

Hospital – something we would all wish for in a visit to a hospital. The North

affected. Or if a child falls ill, the parents are likewise affected. When all

Karelian Medical District has for many years been one of the best in our

treatments are under the same roof, the family can be treated and supported

country in regard to making this wish come true. The Central Hospital is one

comprehensively, says Palomäki.

of Finland’s top hospitals by many measures. Comprehensive care is part of the national mental health program that aims - Our goal has been to improve the flow of hospital services from the patient’s

to lower the threshold for seeking psychiatric treatment.

perspective, says Pertti Palomäki, the director of the Joint Municipal Authority for Medical and Social Services.

The big pieces of the puzzle are in place An up-to-date process

Although construction noises can still be heard on the hospital site, Palomäki says the investment program, spanning until 2020, will be near its end once

Much has happened in recent years at Tikkamäki, also known as Hospital Hill.

the building projects starting this year are complete. In addition to the unit

Under Palomäki’s guidance, the hospital has been revamped extensively. Over

for psychiatric out-patient care, the “G2” extension project will also include the

the past ten years, large construction projects have been lined up one after the

construction of a new ophthalmological center. The new center combines all

other, and there are still more in store.

eye-care – from surgeries to clinical studies – in one location. A center for the treatment of diseases and neurological disorders in children and adolescents

A hospital is never complete. Not when the goal is to meet the requirements

will also be built in the coming years. A new emergency room, shared with the

of a modern model of comprehensive care. Increased outpatient care is one of

other North Karelian municipalities, will be located among the new buildings,

our most important issues, another being the improved flow of treatment. By

and the intensive care unit will be receiving new facilities.

this we mean the concentration of different treatments in the same locality to speed up the transitions between treatments, says Palomäki.

Thoroughly modern medicine This makes life easier from a patient’s perspective since everything is under the same roof. In Palomäki’s words, the patient does not need to waste time

North Karelia has a long and distinguished history in the treatment of

searching for treatment but is instead already in the right place.

cardiovascular disease, but the area approaches other treatment processes with equal care. The latest developments in medicine are adopted eagerly, and North Karelia Central Hospital has long been a pioneer of keyhole surgery.

Comprehensive care

- Thanks to the development of keyhole surgery, recovery is much quicker According to a modern care model, patients receive treatment that is as

because the cuts are much smaller than before, says Palomäki.

comprehensive as possible. Everything is interconnected in the treatment of physical and psychological illnesses. Palomäki cites psychiatric care as

Anyone who is ever in need of intensive care can trust that they are in

an example: The care is due to move into new facilities this year, and they

safe hands at the Central Hospital. Treatment outcomes are monitored

are being built as an extension of the Tikkamäki district hospital to provide

systematically in Finland, and a national peer review found that North Karelia

psychiatric care for children, adolescents and adults in the same location with

Central Hospital’s intensive care unit delivers very good results.

other healthcare.

Find your new home in Penttilänranta • See pages 36–37.


Business and work

It is a joy to come to work, and a pleasure to leave when you have done good This is the key goal of Finland’s first agreement on well-being at the workplace. The ‘Myö ja Työ’ agreement on wellbeing at the workplace was signed by the employers and employees working with nursing and social services at the North Karelian Joint Municipal Authority for Medical and Social Services at the end of last year. The senior leadership of the federation of municipalities, the government and representatives from different employee organizations approved the document. The agreement is based on the so-called balanced model for wellbeing at the workplace of the federation of municipalities. The spirit of this approach is that wellbeing at the workplace takes place when the resources and demands of the job are in balance in light of the employees’ capabilities and skill sets. The aim is a happy, healthy, knowledgeable and motivated team that succeeds in its core tasks. The new agreement brings with it new ground rules, which promote wellbeing at the workplace by anticipating and dealing with problems. Responsibilities are divided in a balanced manner between the different sides in the organization. The spirit of the understanding stresses that the promotion and maintenance of wellbeing at the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. An annual staff report tracks the implementation of the agreement and the wellbeing of the personnel in scope. An internal wellbeing survey is conducted every other year to provide additional information.

Care enough to work with us:

53 • Magazine 2012

Your happiness and care are in good hands Since our nursing and assisted living homes have specialized in a positive

that the soul rests in our landscapes, although some places regard this approach

atmosphere, we have noticed that sometimes tried and tested ways are better

as a new innovation and refer to it as Green Care. Quality is always close to our

than a new bag of tricks. Or at least our revamped old ways are. We want our

hearts. Our nursing homes in the center of Karelia were the first in Finland to

residences to feel like home, and offer the most natural care possible. We have

receive quality certificates for the entire group of companies as a whole. And

returned to visits by dogs and cats, gardening, and the occasional outbreak of

we work so well together that you could even call us a cluster. Welcome to our

dancing to music our residents like. In the countryside, we have always known

village, and welcome home.

The recipe for good health is born from nature, joy and spending time together.


Business and work

Roots and wings Young people grow back their roots and strengthen their wings at the Koivikko Support Home. Nature and the rural environment play important roles in the rehabilitation of young people who suffer from mental health problems and substance abuse. The Koivikko Support Homes are national pioneers in Green Care treatments. Among others, the teaching of local traditions and Kalevala folklore are used to help young people find their roots. Their wings, on the other hand, are strengthened by attending courses at the near-by Kitee vocational school. The treatment staff has a variety of professional backgrounds, and they are there to support the youths in their plans for the future. The Koivikko Support Homes offer community-oriented, family-driven functional rehabilitation services for 17 to 35 year-olds.

Everyday life is a celebration In the village of Ruppovaara, five minutes from the center of Kitee, the shared courtyard of two care facilities is home to everyday life with all its joys and sorrows. Kanervikkola is home to 20 senior citizens and people with severe disabilities, while 14 patients in mental health rehabilitation live comfortably in the countryside at Eerika Care. The two houses, joined by a merry Karelian atmosphere, were the first recipients of Finnish quality certificates granted to a group.

An active approach to care The number of places in Annala nursing homes doubled to 33 places a year ago

Although Kanervikkola residents are elderly or seriously disabled, they do

when their new house was completed. The quality of work is high and an active

plenty on their own. Natural movement within the person’s limits is encouraged

approach is taken to its development. The quaint old farmhouse, fully renovated

and supported in all situations. The entire staff is well rehearsed in this

into a nursing home, already has a quality certificate, and the certification

rehabilitation treatment known as kinesthetics, and its systematic use helps

process in ongoing for the new side as well. The houses are at the forefront of

recover body control. The Kanervikkola Home specializes in the treatment of

care in many ways. Amidst the tranquil rural surroundings, high-tech video

dementia and severe disabilities and neurological disorders. It is also approved

calls are made to the healthcare center, where the doctor makes remote rounds

by the State Treasury as a long-term treatment facility for patients wounded

on Thursdays. Kesälahti village is just a few kilometers away, as is the Russian

at war. At Eerika Care Home, therapeutic community treatment is producing

border, so a multilingual and multicultural workplace is a key part of Annala.

good results. The measurement of treatment effectiveness is also developed

The staff is well trained, and they attend further training sessions on a regular

constantly. Care Home Eerika is an assisted living facility for adults in mental

basis. Annala is an assisted living facility for the elderly.

health rehabilitation.

Room for active residents

A large family in a small courtyard The Pikkupiha (The Little Courtyard) nursing home near Tohmajärvi has places

The Kesälahti Elderly Support Association Elinkaaritalo (Cycle of Life House)

for eight elderly residents, which means everyone lives as a large family. Daily

is also covered by the same group quality certification as the others. This

chores are done together, and much of the day is spent enjoying each other’s

residence houses developmentally disabled and elderly residents independently

company in the large living room/kitchen. The residents can choose to help out

in 34 assisted living apartments. The extensively renovated rooms include their

in the house’s garden, where even those in later stages of dementia can enjoy

own kitchens, where residents can make coffee or bake bread with visitors, or

the flowers or the snow. The inhabitants share custody of farmyard pets with

sometimes surprise staff with something. The residents may freely take advan-

local children, which means that granny might occasionally need to take kitty

tage of foot care specialists or physiotherapists when they visit the facility, or

for a nap under her arm. Guests are always met by everyone in the house, any

join in a recreation activity ordered by another resident. The weekly family and

treats they bring are served equally, and news and gossip quickly get round to

child music groups bring joy to the entire building.


55 • Magazine 2012

Gold rush in North Karelia’s mines The Finnish mining industry started in North Karelia around one hundred years ago, and to this day the region is a center for the Finnish natural stone industry. Over the years copper, zinc and cobalt have been mined from the North Karelian bedrock, and currently mining activity is experiencing an upswing. Thanks to a rise in the price of metals, the profitability of mining ores has also risen at a dizzying rate and activated sizeable mining projects all over the region. Endomines Oy’s mining activity in the Pampalo sub-surface gold mine was started with excavation work in spring 2010. Commercial activity in the mine in Ilomantsi began after the mineral processing facility was completed in February 2011. The gold deposits confirmed in Pampalo are already sufficient for 6-8 years of production. There are also many other promising deposits in the area known as the Karelian gold belt, and the mining company is actively researching their utilization. The natural stone industry in North Karelia is best known for soapstone. The region’s leading soapstone refiner, Tulikivi Oyj, is known as a leader in technology on the heat accumulating fireplace markets. Thanks to the combustion engineering developed by the company, its ovens meet even the most demanding environmental requirements and are otherwise in line with sustainable development. The fireplaces’ attractive and classic design has also brought success. Around half of Tulikivi’s production is exported, mostly to Central Europe. The Nordic countries’ only laboratory specialized in the testing of natural stone operates at Finland’s Stone Centre. The development of the mining industry is supported by the Geological Survey of Finland’s mineral technology unit in Outokumpu. The unit, unique in Europe, is able to offer customers a complete package from analysis and laboratory research to a working pilot plant. No corresponding research unit can be found in Europe; instead competitors are located in Canada, Australia, South Africa and South America.

Are you interested in stone?


Business and work

Wood burns cleaner in Tulikivi’s smart fireplaces As one of the leaders in the field, the world’s largest manufacturer of heataccumulating fireplaces, Tulikivi Oyj,

Copper mined at Kylylahti Outokumpu’s almost one hundred-year-old mining tradition is carried on by Kylylahti Copper Oy, which is starting Finland’s largest copper mine at Polvijärvi.

is committed to developing cleaner combustion engineering and to

Construction work at the mine, owned by a Finnish daughter company of the

designing low-emission fireplaces

Australian Altona Mining company, started in autumn 2010 and production

with high operating efficiency. Tulikivi

will begin in early 2012. The annual production

technology, which makes use of the

of the sub-surface mine is estimated

unique soapstone deposits in North Karelia’s Juuka, is accepted worldwide and the company’s products pass the world’s most demanding emission norms. With its new Tulikivi Green series, the company

at 8,000 tons of copper, and the currently confirmed ore deposits are sufficient for around ten years of operation. In addition to the construction

brought the first smart fireplace onto the heat-accumulating fireplace

of the Kylylahti mine, the

markets. Its control system increases the fireplace’s convenience of use

company is modernizing

and combustion efficiency. The continuous control system, which controls

the Luikonlahti mineral

the combustion process, means that the wood burns more cleanly, which

processing facility, where

minimizes emissions and saves firewood. The unique Green product series

ores excavated from the mine

makes it possible to make fireplace heating an important part of the rest

are processed. In the first phase,

of the heating system in the home. The Tulikivi green W10 heating system

copper and gold are processed.

transfers a significant part of the heat produced by the fireplace to the home’s

After production starts, the Kylylahti

other water heating system, cutting energy expenditure considerably.

Copper mining activity will offer work

to a hundred miners and processing employees.



Juuka is known for soapstone which is used to manufacture quality ovens. Take a trip to the Stone Village and find out about the history of soapstone in the soapstone museum. The Finnish Stone Centre is also located in Nunnalahti, Juuka – a place where science, art and modern stone industry meet in a way that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Juuka is also known for its idyllic old center, modern architecture and attractive ceramics. High fell ridges, lake views and the Paalasmaa group of islands located in the middle of Pielinen form a special characteristic of Juuka scenery.

In addition to several rural tourism sites, Polvijärvi is home to the versatile family holiday centre Huhmari, which offers recreational services, a water world, conference facilities, holiday homes and restaurants. Huhmari is home to the new, fascinating rock restaurant “Louhi”, whose facilities (conference venue, sauna and restaurant) are located in the depths of the rock. Number of inhabitants: 4,768 (as of November 30th, 2011) Total surface area: 958 km2

Number of inhabitants: 5,467 (as of November 30th, 2011) Total surface area: 1,846 km2

57 • Magazine 2012

The Finnish Stone Centre’s Geo Knowledge Centre in Juuka has fine mineral specimens from all over the world on display.


Business and work

Tiia is at home deep underground

The Finnish mining industry is undergoing a strong period of growth. During

The adult education centre’s stone and mining technology team cooperate

this year three mines have been opened and tens of new mining projects

especially with Endomines Oy and Altona Mining Ltd. Endomines Oy’s mine

are expected in the coming years. Currently, 40 companies are searching for

in Pampola, Ilomantsi, currently works as a training environment in which

ores all over Finland. The field currently employs around 4,000 people, and

machines belonging to the North Karelia Adult Education Centre, like the

in the near future the field is expecting to employ just under 6,000 including

tunnel boring machine, are in action in a real environment. The aim is for the


students to familiarize themselves with all the machines essential for mining work during the training.

The mining industry is still fairly male-dominated. At the Pampalo mine, there is just one woman working underground, Tiia Kuronen. At the end of the last

Training leading towards the basic qualification in mining and a vocational

decade Tiia wanted to make a change in her life and made the brave decision

qualification are organized with different types of funding. New training is

to make a drastic career change. In spring 2011 she saw an advertisement in

implemented according to need. The company’s personnel are trained e.g. with

RekryKoulutus, by the Endomines company for employees to train for the

the labor market training TäsmäKoulutus and new employees are trained

Pampalo gold mine. Tiia applied and attended training organized in May by

using RekryKoulutus. It is also possible to study under an apprenticeship

the stone and mining technology team at the North Karelia Adult Education


Centre. The training, which lasted nine months, was diverse, and work at the Pamaplo mine was alternated with studying at the adult education center. Tiia

A course in blasting is always included in the mining training. In addition,

has really enjoyed her work. She is so interested in the mining industry that

the training includes the basics of tunnel boring, strip-mining or production

she plans to gain a professional mining degree.

mining boring, reinforcement work and equipping and construction of mines. The maintenance and upkeep of equipment are an essential part of the content of training. In training, environmental perspectives in line with

North Karelia Adult Education Centre’s stone and mining technology team invests strongly in the mining industry

sustainable development are also taken into account in relation to production. The duration and content of the training is planned flexibly together with companies.

- You can’t organize training in the mining industry without a working mine. The training environment cannot be constructed in an educational facility

The North Karelia Adult Education Centre is a multidisciplinary educational

or be staged e.g. at a nearby gravel pit or rock cutting site. The learning

and development organization which belongs to the North Karelia

environment must be in a real mine in a safe place nevertheless. At the

Educational Federation of Municipalities.

North Karelia Adult Education Centre we focus on study that takes place in the mine, which is successful through cooperation with mining companies, explains Harri Mikkonen, team coordinator of the adult education centre’s operation.

Read more working stories:

Care services are developing alongside industry • See pages 54–55.

59 • Magazine 2012

Tomorrow engineer Bergholm’s idea will take a giant leap towards commercial applications. Bergholm already had a patent, but now he has found the right partners for further development of the new technology. The North Karelian innovative environment with its universities, research facilities and science park form an excellent additional resource for people and companies who create new things. Cooperation with the region’s inernationally networked expert organizations sped up the journey of Bergholm’s invention to the global markets and paved the way for funding negotiations with domestic and international investors.

Tailored investment services for companies, page


Development of nanotechnology creates new business, pages


Europe’s forest capital Joensuu sets an example for the whole world, pages



Achieve success

A new success. A new life. North Karelia.

61 • Magazine 2012

World-class macro skills in nanotechnology

Joensuu’s Nanocomp is a pioneer in the field of nanophotonics.


Achieve success

What is it like to be at the international cutting edge of your field?

International anticipations of growth are demanding in the company, the

Nanotechnology experts in North Karelia know the answer. World-class

majority of whose production goes to Asia even now.

progress is being made in nanophotonics, among other things, and the EU is expecting economically significant innovations in the near future. Joensuu’s multidisciplinary nanotechnology centre of competence is internationally

Nature as a model for materials chemistry

respected. The interdisciplinary department of chemistry at the University of Eastern Karelia’s national nanotechnology cluster program in the photonics field is

Finland is using nature as a model in its research. Nanotechnology is

assembled by head of development Juha Purmonen and carries out close

researched in physical chemistry and materials chemistry laboratories. Under

cooperation with both national and international photonics clusters. Joensuu

the microscope are nature’s micro nanotwin structures, which can be copied to

Science Park Oy’s Expert services head of development Purmonen has a clear

form new kinds of surfaces. Natural concepts under special inspection are e.g.


insect wings for their self-cleaning properties, the adhesive skills of gekko legs and the moisture qualities of water skimmer bugs’ limbs.

- In 2013 Joensuu will be one of Europe’s leading centres of expertise in photonics.

SIB-Labs Bright light from clusters

SIB-Labs combines modern research fields and its devices are used by top experts in biomaterials, materials technology, photonics and spectral color

Purmonen’s vision isn’t far from becoming reality. Even now the region

research on the Joensuu campus. SIB-Labs combines the Joensuu SMARC

is home to a group of over one hundred top international experts in the

(Special Materials Research Center) at the University of Eastern Finland and

nanophotonics field. The University of Eastern Finland is in a league of its

the InFotonics Center Joensuu as well as the Bio-Mater Centre on the Kuopio

own in education and development with other leaders; the North Karelia

campus into a uniform and diverse service unit in photonics and materials

University of Applied Sciences, Joensuu Science Park and companies in the


area. SIB-Labs provides easy access to the expertise of a highly skilled research - Expectations concerning the twofold growth of nanophotonics especially

staff of 200 people and modern laboratory facilities through a single contact.

focus interest on us both in Europe and elsewhere, Purmonen says, explaining

Its versatile and constantly expanding research infrastructure, worth nearly

the trends in development. Nanotechnology has been chosen as one of the

20 million euro, comprises more than 130 pieces of large-scale research

OSKE Centre of Expertise Program’s central areas of focus. Development is led

equipment and a considerable number of laboratory devices.

by North Karelian pioneers in the industry.

Number one in photonics

What is photonics? Photonics is the generation, emission, transmission, modulation, signal

One of the world’s top nanophotonics universities is located on the Joensuu

processing, switching, amplification, detection and sensing of light. It covers

campus of the University of Eastern Finland. As the only one of its kind in our

all technical applications of light over the whole spectrum (from ultraviolet

country it offers education in diffractive optics and a Master’s degree program

over the visible to the near-, mid- and far-infrared). Nanophotonics is utilized

in optics. Half of the nation’s doctors in optics are from Joensuu, as are a large

in e.g. optical data communication, diagnostics and medical imaging methods.

part of the industry’s publications. International regard is well-deserved with

For example, dyeing antibodies in the blood makes it easier to locate them.

over twenty years of research results in modern optics. Joensuu’s Nanocomp Oy Ltd, whose beginnings go back to the university, is Finland’s flagship nanophotonics company. The internationally renowned and valued expert concentrates on new applications of nanotechnology and microphotonics technology with over 15 years of experience. Applications in e.g. portable electronics, general lighting and beam shaping components in various optical measurement devices are currently under development.

63 • Magazine 2012

The wide field of forest research spans ecology, materials sciences and technology.


Achieve success

Joensuu is the forest capital of Europe Rich in forest resources, North Karelia is at the forefront of international forest research. World-class research is carried out in Joensuu on many components of forest research, and there is active cooperation with the world’s best researchers. Principal research work in Joensuu is carried out by the School of Forest Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute and the European Forest Institute. Joensuu Science Park and the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences as well as the region’s strong forest industry companies are involved in development work. - The majority of forest research projects is carried out in cooperation with companies and is mutually beneficial. Companies receive new perspectives and information on new development trends in the industry. They utilize results of research in their operations in different ways, by partly using them or developing them further to suit their needs. Companies also obtain competent staff and international connections through various projects,

area’s research, education and industry sectors. The institute, which operates globally, researches and produces information and is the voice of the scientific community in Europe when making decisions on the future of forests in Europe and the rest of the world.

explains Professor Timo Tokola from the School of Forest Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland. The focus of research work carried out by organizations in Joensuu varies. Research at the School of Forest Sciences focuses on forests, forest economy and the significance of forests in society. The Finnish Forest Research Institute has, for example, carried out significant work on the development of forest technology to promote the utilization of bioenergy. In turn, Joensuu Science Park has held a central role in the development of technology and transfer of skills relating to the procurement of forest biomass.


- In recent years, especially successful work has been carried out at the university, for example in the top research unit which focuses on the effects of global warming and in research relating to the utilization of laser scanning technology. Research concerning forests is also carried out at the University of Eastern Finland outside of the School of Forest Sciences, such as in Biology and Social Sciences, Timo Tokola says of the organization’s activity. The Finnish Forest Institute influences political decision making. The European Forest Institute EFI, which has its headquarters in Joensuu, forms the world’s leading forest research network. The EFI’s members include 23 European countries and around 130 other organizational members from the

Karelian cultural tradition is alive and well today in North Karelia’s northernmost municipality Valtimo. Karelian tradition has been handed down from generation to generation and e.g. skills in the Karelian language are still found in the town. In Valtimo you can meet reindeer, rare this far south, taste the country’s fine organic rye bread and learn to bake this real Finnish “superfood” yourself. Or you can take a trip back in time to the respected Murtovaara house museum. The museum is a one-of-a-kind attraction in Finland. The North Karelia vocational college Valtimo trains professionals in forest machinery. Number of inhabitants: 2,437 (as of November 30th, 2011) Total surface area: 838 km2

A wilderness trip is just one of the many ways to use forests • See pages 18–19.

65 • Magazine 2012

The region’s future grows in the forest North Karelia is known as an area with strong skills in forestry, where the forests’ different modes of use are in balance with each other. Finland’s largest forest resources are located in the region, which has given it the natural framework to create and develop an internationally significant centre of competence in the forest industry. The widely and efficiently networked centre of competence has meant that North Karelian players in the forest industry have achieved a leading position on the world’s forest and forest machinery technology markets. In addition to many forest industry production facilities, many globally recognized forest technology companies such as John Deere and Kesla are active in the region. The already-strong network’s prerequisites for growth are formed by an increasing demand for renewable natural resources for manufactured products and the opportunities offered by forests for the development of new business in e.g. energy production. Already around half of the region’s electricity production is produced from wood-based fuels. The University of Eastern Finland strongly supports the operation and product development of companies. The School of Forest Sciences in Joensuu also offers students in the field many alternatives to specialize in questions relating to forests and forest economy. The University’s investment in the development of forest industry business operations is supplemented by the European Forest Institute in Joensuu and, in coming years, will be supplemented by the Finnish Forest Institute, which is moving its central operations to Joensuu. North Karelia’s abundant forest resources are also a strength from a climate perspective. The forest’s trees work to bind more carbon dioxide than is released from use of wood. This creates a good basis on which to achieve the targets in the North Karelia climate and energy program, which includes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by over 20 per cent by 2020. Another aim is to completely abandon the use of oil in heat production and take care of it almost one hundred percent with renewable energy sources.


Achieve success

Local thermal heating from bioenergy Alongside traditional forest industries, research, development and business related to bioenergy has formed in North Karelia. Of these related sectors, the most natural business opportunities for the region are offered by business in heating. The North Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Savonia University of Applied Sciences play a strong role in the sector’s development and together they are developing decentralized energy solutions based on bioenergy and offer training to companies in the area and new actors. - The aim of the cooperation is to increase the region’s heat production, which will support both regional economy and local business operation. Dispersed energy production offers many other business opportunities besides just heating business for both existing and new companies. In addition to heat production, operators are needed for the procurement of raw materials, logistics and the manufacture of equipment. The field’s growth therefore creates new entrepreneurship and wellbeing for the whole region, emphasizes Asko Puhakka from the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

Natural fiber composite promises success A North Karelian natural fiber composite is conquering the world instrument manufacture markets. The instrument cluster built around the TONIC project is in a key position here, including Joensuu Oy All-Plast Ab, Flaxwood Oy and Kehitysyhtiö Elastopoli. North Karelia is a top region for natural fiber composite; the region has strong traditions and proof of strong material and component skills. Flaxwood guitars manufactured from the composite are played by top musicians all over the world. In April 2011 at the International Fair for Musical Instruments in Frankfurt, a violin with a fingerboard manufactured from natural fibers was shown for the first time. - The building of instruments is a global business worth around 6.4 billion euro. Around 4 million violins alone are built per year. The numbers are enormous – just one per cent of the entirety is a significant business opportunity, on which to build new, expanding business operations, says Heikki Koivurova, who runs the Tonic project.

67 • Magazine 2012

The Saimaa ringed seal is returning to Northern Karelia

Research carried out by the University of Eastern Finland supports the strengthening of the seal population.


Achieve success

The Saimaa ringed seal was already granted protected status in Finland at the beginning of the 1970s. High-quality, independent research conducted at the University of Eastern Finland was the basis of this decision. − The research on the Saimaa ringed seal done at the University of Eastern Finland is unique on a global scale, as it combines strong ecological field study and genetic research, according to Mervi Kunnasranta. She is a university researcher and is coordinator of the Saimaa ringed seal project at the Joensuu campus of the University of Eastern Finland. − The population of Saimaa ringed seals is now finally also growing in Northern Karelia, which is an extremely positive development. Two seal pups were born in the waters of Northern Karelia in 2011. This was the first time this happened in a long, long time. Right now, there are fewer than 300 Saimaa ringed seals in total, with 52 pups born in 2011. Of these, ten died before maturing and at least two, unfortunately, fell victim to fishermen’s nets. Researcher Mia Valtonen of the University of Eastern Finland determines in her work if the Saimaa ringed seal population is divided between smaller groups and whether there is movement, or an exchange of genes, between Saimaa ringed seals from different areas. − The ancestors of the Saimaa ringed seal were originally from the sea, but they have lived in an isolated lake area for 10,000 years. During this time, they have lost 70 percent of their genetic diversity, says Valtonen. − The population is expected to grow to 400 individuals and to spread to new areas. While the situation is not yet hopeless, there simply must be more seals. We are attempting to use genetic research to find out the resilience of the population, the mobility of individuals and the extent of the breeding areas. The genetic inheritance of the Saimaa ringed seals is not yet too small, but there are only a few of them. Thus, the risk of inbreeding and the resulting detrimental effects are growing, continues Valtonen.

placenta is created from both the mother’s and the pup’s tissue, and we try to figure out if we can separate uncontaminated DNA for both. The new method is surprisingly challenging, says Valtonen. − The females are very faithful to their breeding areas. There are female lines in Southern Saimaa that have not been seen elsewhere. When there are so few of these seals, luck has a huge influence on which female lines become more common and which disappear. Next, I intend to see if males move from one area to another, continues Valtonen. The work of a Saimaa ringed seal researcher varies by season. In the winter you are shoveling snowbanks for the seals with the research group and examining conditions with cameras. In the spring, you inventory breeding spots and collect placenta samples from the bottom of lakes by wading, snorkeling and diving. You also fit seals with radio transmitters for behavioral research. In the spring

The varied job of a Saimaa ringed seal researcher

and fall you wait with a heavy heart for the bad news that “your” pups drowned in nets and do laboratory work feverishly.

Valtonen researches the female lines of the Saimaa ringed seal in her work,

- At the start of the year, we will also begin to study the behavioral ecology of

which in practice means eight different genetic lines. She has been able to

the Baltic ringed seal in the Bay of Bothnia, says Kunnasranta.

conduct long-term genetic research, as tissue samples from Saimaa ringed seals have been stored in a tissue bank maintained by the University of Eastern Finland since the 1970s. Through these samples, it is possible to determine whether there have been changes in the population over the last three decades. I have been able to include 215 animals in my newest research. It has been possible to determine the so-called female line for every Saimaa ringed seal by analyzing the mitochondrial DNA, which is only inherited from the mother. The

The Universities of Joensuu and Kuopio joined together to create the University of Eastern Finland at the beginning of 2010. There are nearly 30,000 students at the university when full-time, returning and continuing education students are included. The university employs approximately 2,800 people and has campuses in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna.

genotype, a unique identifier, can be determined from these tissue samples. The


Osuuspankki • Magazine 2012

Invest your assets productively OP-Private offers a complete, effortless and comprehensive investment solution to take care of your assets. Investment decisions are made on your behalf by an active and expert investment committee, which makes sure that your assets are allocated in the best possible way in light of the market situation.

Invest in effortlessness and leisure

OP-Private at your service

North Karelia’s Cooperative bank OP Private will save your time and provide the best conditions for successful investments. Individuals, companies and communities have taken OP-Private into use. It is an excellent opportunity for all investors, regardless of whether or not they are customers of the bank. We welcome you as a customer!

Olli Herttuainen investment manager tel. +358 (0)50 444 2295

Arto Auvinen Portfolio manager, tel. +358 (0)500 658 654 (on leave until 30.6.2012)


Jani Vänskä Portfolio manager tel. +358 (0)50 443 3541

Kirsi Toivanen Portfolio manager, tel. +358 (0)50 430 6461

Maarit Hourula Head of investment tel. +358 (0)50 563 3563

Tuija Kettunen Portfolio assistant tel. +358 (0)10 256 4264

OP-Private team’s new professional Leena Rauvola Portfolio manager, tel. +358(0)50 550 9264

Achieve success

Do you have hidden assets? You could be pleasantly surprised just by doing a little bit of maths. When

- Cooperation begins with a meeting where we analyze the amount of assets,

examined with an expert, your own home, car, cabin, land or forest plot and

the willingness to take risks and the life situation. Some people have decades

savings accounts can reveal themselves to be quite the asset.

of experience in investment, others have none at all. Targets, such as whether you want to safeguard, increase or transfer your assets for example to the next

As life passes by, many Finns accumulate assets almost without noticing,

generation have an effect on our portfolio recommendations.

which is capital in the same way as investments or bonds are. Do you have hidden assets?

You can deal with your portfolio manager easily at any of the region’s OP branches. The portfolio manager is supported by the OP-Pohjola group’s expert services and tools such as the investment research, which was awarded

Individual time saving

a prize by Pohjola Tutkimus and analyses carried out by cooperative partners.

It’s worth sitting down with an expert if you don’t have the time, will or skills

- Our service contains lots more. We specialize in e.g. home and property

to take care of your assets. Help from an expert can guarantee the best result

asset management, legal needs of families and even long-term tax planning.

as markets change quickly or if conditions are uncertain.

There are also numerous additional services such as the OP-Visa Platinum, an international payment card with many special benefits.

All North Karelia cooperative banks offer the OP-Private service, which is a personal and contract-based asset management service. Using the service you can choose an appropriate alternative for investment from interest products

Steady growth

to shares and from investment funds to insurance. OP-Private North Karelia’s services have been well-received. - Our service is very individual and tailored as customers and their situations differ. How the assets have accumulated and what the customer wants to

- There is a clear need for the service. Our customer numbers have grown from

increase can change from person to person. We have received lots of positive

year to year and we believe they will continue to grow in the future. Our asset

feedback on how we are genuinely interested in our customers by taking

management unit has steadily recruited new personnel; new competence and

into account the effect a customer’s family can have on their entire financial

plenty of experience in investing.

situation. Caution and expectations of revenue can also have a large effect on the investment strategy that must be made individually, explains Head of

There are many kinds of investment customers. Entrepreneurs or customers

Investment at OP-Private North Karelia Olli Herttuainen.

who have sold their business are one group besides those with inherited assets. There are also many people who have accumulated assets through their own work. Associations and foundations are regular customers.

How can we help? - Successful people, all of them, and very different and interesting. The secret You can choose from two options for the OP-Private asset management

to success would seem to be work in one way or another, even though luck has

service. The customer can choose to completely delegate the management

its own part to play, reveals Herttuainen from his own experience.

of investments or use a personal investment consultant. With a complete letter of attorney asset management contract, a designated portfolio manager will make investment decisions on the customer’s behalf based on a strategy compiled with the customer. If the customer chooses an investment consultant, the customer makes the final decisions supported by active consultation with the portfolio manager.

71 • Magazine 2012

Northern Karelia in a sultsina shell* Northern Karelia is the easternmost region of

• 14 municipalities, of which 5 are cities

Finland, with Joensuu as its regional capital. The

• Regional capital is Joensuu

region’s other cities are Kitee, Lieksa, Nurmes, and Outokumpu. In addition to the cities, Northern Karelia also includes the municipalities of Ilomantsi, Juuka, Kesälahti, Kontiolahti, Liperi, Polvijärvi, Rääkkylä, Tohmajärvi, and Valtimo.

• Main industries are forestry, wood, foodstuffs, plastic, metal and stone • Top companies in Northern Karelia include Abloy Oy, John Deere, Kesla Oyj, Stora Enso, Tulikivi Oyj, Nunnanlahden Uuni Oy, Suomen Kiitoautot Oy, Autotalo Laakkonen, Tokmanni, Varaosamaailma, Pohjois-Karjalan Osuus-

The region of Northern Karelia

kauppa, Mantsinen Group Ltd Oy.

The city of Joensuu

• Educational opportunities: University of

165,872 Population (as of Nov. 30th 2011)

Eastern Finland, North Karelia University of Applied Sciences, North Karelia Educational Federation of Municipalities, North Karelia vocational school

73,668 Population (as of Nov. 30th 2011)

• Koli is the highest point of Southern and Central Finland (347 m)

+297 Net population increase in 2010

• The easternmost point of the continental EU is in Ilomantsi • 302 kilometers of common border with Russia. The border station in Niirala sees roughly one

6,469 Primary school students (autumn 2011)

million border crossings each year.

2,585 km2 total area, of which roughly 70% is forest

• 10% of the population consists of undergraduate students • Travel destinations include Koli National Park, the traditional Karelian village of Bomba in

43,854 Secondary and/or post-secondary graduates

Nurmes, Outokumpu mining museum, Finnish Stone Center in Juuka, Kitee animal park, the

2,200 lakes, of which Lake Pielinen is the country’s fourth largest lake

Artisan quarter in Joensuu, and the Ruunaa rapids • Summer festivals include Ilosaarirock in Joensuu, Rääkkylä Kihaus Folk, Lieksa Brass Week • Sports events include the Karelia Rowing Tour, the Marathon of Dangers, the Pogostan Hiihto

*The sultsina is a tortilla type roll filled with rice porridge. You’ll find them in North Karelia along with many other local delicacies.


27 % Post-secondary graduates (of those over 15 years of age) • City theater attendees 33,789 (2010)

and Ahman hiihto ski tours, as well as the scenic

• Museum attendees 34,386 (2010)

ski tour of Kolin maisemahiihto and the Ruunaan Koskihiihto rapids skiing

• Attendees at the events and activities of the city’s youth services 47,561 (2010)

Northern Karelia

Joensuu Petrozavodsk Sortavala St. Petersburg

Helsinki Stockholm

Tallinn Moscow

Distance from Joensuu

75 Valtimo

Outokumpu 47 km Kitee 69 km Lieksa 93 km Nurmes 126 km

Nurmes 75






Kuopio 137 km


Mikkeli 209 km Koitere

Lappeenranta 234 km



Jyväskylä 247 km Tampere 394 km Helsinki 437 km • Approx. 1 hour by plane Sortavala 134 km Petrozavodsk 370 km St Petersburg 410 km





Joensuu Liperi





Tohmajärvi 70


Niirala’s international border crossing

Tallinn, flight connection to Tallinn 26.3.2012 • Approx. 1 hour by plane


73 • Magazine 2012

Welcome along to meet us! and the many faces of North Karelia are involved in the following events: Pielinen Karelia Development Company Ltd •

Nordic Travel Fair 2012 - exhibition at the Helsinki Exhibition and

Convention Centre 19.–22.1.2012

Finnish Nursing Exhibition at the Helsinki Exhibition and

Convention Centre 22.–23.3.2012

Own Home 2012 Exhibition at the Helsinki Exhibition and

Convention Centre 29.3.–1.4.2012

Finnish National Skills Competition Taitaja 2012 – in Jyväskylä 25.4. 2012

Karjalan Messut (Karelian Exhibition) in Joensuu 8.–10.6.2012

Karjalankatu 12 FI- 75500 Nurmes Tel. +358 (0)40 104 5930

We offer business advice for companies interested in investing in North

Regional Council of North Karelia

Karelia and migration services for people who are looking to move here.

Pielisjoen linna, Siltakatu 2

We look for the necessary experts and authorities from municipalities and

FI-80110 Joensuu

different organisations, so that moving and investing in the region can take

Tel. +358 (0)13 267 4700

place as smoothly as possible.

Joensuu Regional Development Company JOSEK Ltd Länsikatu 15 FI-80110 Joensuu Tel. +358 20 721 8770

Karelia Expert Tourist Service Ltd. is a regional North Karelian tourism organisation, which is responsible for the area’s common tourism marketing, product development, production of conference and congress services, sales of tourism services and tourist information. We serve North Karelia’s tourists all year round in Joensuu’s Carelicum and in our other offices around

Central Karelia Development Company

the region.

Keti Ltd Kiteentie 13 A

Karelia Expert Tourist Service Ltd.

FI-82500 Kitee

Koskikatu 5, FI-80100 Joensuu

Tel. +358 (0)13 411 400

Tel. +358 (0)400 239 549

The shortest way to North Karelia:


Matkailu • Artikkelin nimi


The Magazine showcases the travel, working, living and business opportunities in North Karelia. The content of the publication continues on and expands on the region’s online service at

A new job • A new life • North Karelia

VisitKarelia Magazine  
VisitKarelia Magazine  

The Magazine showcases the travel, working, living and business opportunities in North Karelia. The content of the publicati...