"I have lived in Espoo for most of my life. My earliest clear memories are from playing Indians in the forests and on the cliffs, and having the whole neighbourhood going sledging in the winter.

Now as a family man, nature is still important, but so is the sense of security here, fine new schools and services within easy distance. Espoo is developing so rapidly that is makes your head spin.

The success of Espoo Metro Areena lies with the people of Espoo and the capital region. Espoo Metro Areena is an easily accessible multi-purpose arena, where ice hockey, volleyball, basketball and floorball are played, but it is also a venue for music, dance and seminars. The metro station that will be close by will significantly raise the number of events at the arena, as will the continuous development of other services.

Espoo is an entrepreneur’s best friend. For example startup companies can easily find premises, and communities and facilities to support their business. Espoo assists Espoo Metro Areena by developing the services around it and by profiling itself as a highly innovative city. Being international is and will be one of the strengths of Espoo."

Patrik Ekman, CEO of Espoo Metro Areena

"My first contact with Espoo was through the architecture of my parents Kaija and Heikki Siren. They designed buildings for Otaniemi and Tapiola, so I got know Espoo well, even though I lived in Helsinki.

In 1974 I moved to Espoo with my family and a year later founded the Hevosenkenkä Theatre, the first professional theatre in Espoo. The city had to be taught the cultural ropes, as people were used to enjoying the cultural offerings of Helsinki. Espoo soon grew into a city of culture.

In Espoo, I have enjoyed great concerts at the cultural centre and theatre performances as well as my weekly cinema experiences in Kino Tapiola. I take pleasure in the nature and seafront in my daily walks. Tapiola swimming pool is one of my favourite places. Our home church is the Otaniemi chapel designed by my father; its altarpiece – a nature scene – never fails to move me.

I love the long shoreline in Espoo, the nature that surrounds us everywhere and the feeling of living space. The beauty of the sea always excites me – whatever the weather. The seafront is like the jewel in the crown."

Kirsi Siren, Director of the Hevosenkenkä theatre

"I was born in Espoo, so Espoo and all its glory is all I’ve ever enjoyed. Tapiola and its density excite me in particular; I can easily get to my piano lessons and find many other places to visit such as Tapiola Library, WeeGee and Barona Areena.

My recent success in the 10th Leevi Madetoja Piano Competition can be partly attributed to the convenience of the Espoo Music Institute and my school: both are located near each other so precious time isn’t wasted – and no opportunities lost.

At the Espoo Music Institute, I have had the pleasure of performing with orchestras, performed in – and attended – frequent concerts, and spent time with my musical friends.

I also have found time for interesting projects outside school: sending phones up into the stratosphere to film the curvature of the earth, remaking a snowboard, and creating a wearable learning device for figure skaters."

Jamin Hu, Student at Etelä-Tapiola Lukio and Espoo Music Institute

"I first stepped foot in Nuuksio national park in 1986, and its unique, wild mood blew me away. Since 2002, Green Window has provided nature tourism services in Nuuksio; you can for example bathe in a smoke sauna, hike in the wilderness or try out snowshoeing.

When Oliver Phelps, star of Harry Potter films, listed his ten favourite destinations, Nuuksio national park was sixth on his list. Phelps described Nuuksio as one of the most picturesque parks he has ever visited. My company Green Window received special thanks from the star for good service.

Espoo is a great place for kids, and I’ve raised my four children here. I’ve been fortunate to have the greatest nature experiences here with them. I hope all Espoo residents are proud of their city and its great nature, where the sea and the forest shake hands."

Pekka Väänänen, Green Window entrepreneur

"Espoo has a successful art-lending-library – an artotheque – proof of how many people in Espoo appreciate fine arts. I have been happy to see the city of Espoo support my art and grant me scholarships.

During the heyday of Tapiola’s Honka dynasty in basketball I had many great experiences of Espoo. During the summer, I can take a bus to swim in Espoo’s clean waters. At the moment I am particularly glad about Espoo’s project, where garbage cans around the city are made beautiful through art."

Tyko Elo, Chairman of the Association of Espoo Visual Artists

"The first professional music organisation in Espoo –Espoo Music Institute – is 52 years old. It has grown into one of the largest art institutions in Finland, and is recognised internationally. In our affectionate approach, the child is the focus, even though our musical goals are kept high.

Espoo’s support has been key in developing the Espoo Music Institute, as has the active collaboration with schools, day care centres, art institutions, festivals and companies in Espoo. Networking is easy and natural here.

Espoo’s image may be a bit clichéd. After I moved here 15 years ago, I have come to know a culturally vibrant and artistic Espoo. I wonder if Espoo residents notice how breathtaking musical experiences are available just around the corner. The performers, at festivals in particular, are simply world class.

I love the archipelago of Espoo where I charge my batteries time and again. A memorable end to the summer season is a dip in the clear waters of the lake in the middle of Pentala Island.

Espoo is dynamic and optimistic, qualities which many cities lack. Right next to the capital, oxygen flows freely and there’s room to breathe."

Paula Jordan, Headmaster at the Espoo Music Institute

"The TOTEM theatre has a novel idea: bringing theatre to children – at their primary schools. We have faith in Espoo, and the city of Espoo has shown great faith in us, even though we do not represent mainstream theatre. I have been able to be true to my own art form.

Espoo combines rural life with the possibilities of the capital. Service and shopping centres located in different neighbourhoods serve both efficiency and a slower pace of life in a trendy manner. Espoo is an open city that listens and confers, and it has room to breathe, with nature close by.

Even though we are located near the motorway, nature is also present at our office. We have hares, squirrels, birds and very loud pheasants scurrying around our apple trees. In the autumns we enjoy the apple crop and in the early summer the wild herbs that we harvest carefully."

Päivi Rissanen, Artistic Director of the TOTEM theatre