With its location in the Arctic Circle and its vast Arctic know-how, Rovaniemi is the undisputed Arctic capital of Finland and the European Union. The City’s Arctic profile is a key concept in the Rovaniemi City Strategy. As a result of extensive development work, Rovaniemi has become a leading global travel destination of Arctic tourism.
The extensive cooperation of the current Arctic Council began with the meeting of Ministers of the Environment from Arctic countries in Rovaniemi in 1991. The city’s role in Arctic cooperation has been reinforced by the Arktikum house, which was built to celebrate 75 years of Finnish independence, and the adjoining Arctic Centre in particular.
With its location in the Arctic Circle and its vast Arctic know-how, Rovaniemi is the undisputed Arctic capital of Finland and the European Union. The City’s Arctic profile is a key concept in the Rovaniemi City Strategy. As a result of extensive development work, Rovaniemi has become a leading global travel destination of Arctic tourism. Different tourist groups visiting Rovaniemi are exceptionally representative of different nationalities. Rovaniemi’s great appeal has led to the extensive, recent building of tourism-related projects. More accommodation options, a diversifying restaurant culture, high environmental quality and improved travel connections are helping to enhance Rovaniemi’s international development.
Finland’s position as Chair of the Arctic Council, which began in May 2017, will elevate Rovaniemi’s collaborative role. Ministers of the Environment from Arctic countries will meet in Rovaniemi next year, after a 27-year break, and the meeting between Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which ends our position as the Chair, will be held in May 2019. In the meantime, meetings will be held between officials, which will provide an opportunity to demonstrate regional expertise in Arctic matters.
As a continuation of the Rovaniemi process that began in 1991, the City of Rovaniemi, the University of Lapland, the Arctic Centre and the Arctic Society of Finland organise Arctic Spirit conferences focusing on current topics related to politics, research and business. The conference of November 2017 will bring an additional flavour to Finland’s chairmanship and add collaboration between Arctic areas and cities to the agenda. The conference will also have strong representation from the European Commission and the UN.
The City of Rovaniemi is bringing its own strengths to the developing network of Arctic cities. We are also one of the leading cities in the global Winter Cities Association, where Rovaniemi’s special responsibility is Arctic design. The city owns the Arctic Design Capital trademark, within the framework of which international collaboration is being developed. This development work is being implemented through a close partnership with the University of Lapland Faculty of Art and Design, Lapland University of Applied Sciences technological studies and businesses located in the region.
As a result of the above-mentioned processes, Rovaniemi will see plenty of Arctic activity, which will vastly benefit local residents. More frequent conference and research operations, growing tourism and investments will improve services and bring in money and work for residents. On the other hand, it is important for residents and other actors to take account of the Arctic aspect in their own lives and work. It could have an impact on image building for Rovaniemi.
The profiling of a single city within an internationally large group of cities requires the involvement and commitment of various actors both locally and nationally.
I invite everyone to make an active contribution with the goal of promoting the international development of Rovaniemi and Finland!
Esko Lotvonen, Mayor of Rovaniemi