Green city of Lahti – Finland’s hidden gem near Helsinki

Located less than an hour by train from Helsinki, Lahti is one of Finland’s emerging growth centres. Selected as the European Green Capital in 2021, the city is known for its growing, progressive university, extensive environmental expertise and circular economy innovations.

Lahti Mayor Niko Kyynäräinen highlights that Lahti’s attrac­tiveness is linked to the strong growth of the university and the environmental expertise in the city, which is among the best in the world. 
With a current total of 7,700 students and 1,300 employees, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT University) is growing fast. It ranks in the top 1% of universities in the world in its fields and is among the top ten universities in the world in terms of climate action. 

-    LUT University is at the cutting edge of global megatrends. Clean energy, e-mobility and the circular economy form the strong core of the university, around which companies operating in the Lahti region can find both new business oppor­tunities and skilled employees, Kyynäräinen says. 

Lahti supports LUT University’s research into alternative propulsion and is involved in the launch of new profes­sorships in electrical engineering and sales. The elect­ri­fication of mobility is also supported by a new programme in electrical and automation engineering at the LAB University of Applied Sciences.
-    In Lahti, sustainable solutions are developed for the needs of the whole world, while building more diverse cooperation between the academic and business communities. Companies looking to grow stand to benefit from this momentum, Kyynäräinen says.

 Niko Kyynäräinen-Tomi Tura-kesä 2024.jpg

According to Tomi Tura and Niko Kyynäräinen, companies based in Lahti value their location: In the nationwide Municipal Barometer conducted by Suomen Yrittäjät, Lahti ranked second among cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants


Location, service networks and cost efficiency as key assets

According to Tomi Tura and Niko Kyynäräinen, companies based in Lahti value their location: In the nationwide Municipal Barometer conducted by Suomen Yrittäjät, Lahti ranked second among cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants

Niko Kyynäräinen believes that Lahti’s location, service networks and cost efficiency cannot be overemp­hasised. 
-    Distances within the city are short, and the Helsinki Metro­politan Area is less than an hour away. The costs of housing, business premises, land and labour are lower than in the Helsinki Metro­politan Area, and skilled employees are readily available. People can travel by train from Lahti to Helsinki in three quarters of an hour, and the main Finnish ports of Vuosaari and Kotka-Hamina are just over an hour’s drive away. European route E75 also passes through Lahti.

According to Kyynäräinen, the joint Airport Line project with the state will reduce the travel time from Lahti to Helsinki Airport to as little as thirty minutes.

A city of many business oppor­tunities

Niko Kyynäräinen explains that the expansion of the city’s hotel capacity in the coming years will provide better oppor­tunities for year-round tourism and the organisation of major inter­national events. 
Lahti is an inter­na­tionally renowned city for winter sports, having already hosted seven FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The city is currently bidding to host the Championships again in 2029. 
-    Lahti offers unrivalled sporting oppor­tunities and outstanding lake scenery. Sports also offer a wealth of business oppor­tunities in the Lahti region, from event tourism to the manufacture of sports equipment and clothing. In addition to the Lahti Sports Centre, there are two Olympic-level sports training centres in the region.

Lahti Region Development LADEC, a joint development company of the munici­palities in the region, also coordinates several business cooperation networks, such as the Maritime Cluster, Grain Cluster, Green Elect­ri­fication of Mobility Cluster and the Lahti Sports Hub, which develops the local sports business ecosystem. 

LADEC CEO Tomi Tura notes that Lahti’s attrac­tiveness and appeal are experiencing their biggest boom in decades. 
-    The interest is evident in the record number of relocation customers and new investments in the Lahti region, especially in e-mobility, the food industry and the circular economy. An interesting emerging field in the Lahti region is ICT and software expertise, which are being further strengthened by LUT University’s investments.




Kempower is growing and going global

Kempower, a manufacturer of fast charging solutions for electric vehicles, has been an exceptional success story. 
In 2021, the company had around 50 employees. In 2023, Kempower employed over 700 people and had a turnover of almost €300 million. The company has 12 subsi­diaries around the world and a second production plant in the United States, in addition to the one in Lahti. 

According to CEO Tomi Ristimäki, the global elect­ri­fication of mobility is in its infancy. The biggest upheaval will occur in heavy-duty vehicles, whose electricity demand is many times higher than that of passenger transport. 
-    We are constantly exploring and inves­tigating business oppor­tunities in new regions in addition to Europe and North America, with the Asian market currently in our sights.


Tomi Ristimäki points out that Lahti has a fantastic cooperation network in the elect­ri­fication of mobility, Lahti GEM.


The Megawatt Charging System for heavy-duty vehicles developed by Kempower plays a key role in reducing both Finnish and global carbon dioxide emissions. It is being further developed at the Electric Mobility Research Center (EMRC), a joint project between Kempower and LUT University, which strengthens inter­disciplinary research on e-mobility and advances the company’s own product development. 
Kempower is also involved in the Lahti Region Green Elect­ri­fication of Mobility Cluster (Lahti GEM), which has grown in a short period of time into an active cooperation platform for more than 40 operators. 

-    Located at a transport hub, Lahti offers excellent logistical connections. LUT University’s profes­sorship in electric trans­portation, the EMRC and the electrical engineering programme at LAB University of Applied Sciences will support both our product development and the availability of workforce in the future. Lahti currently has a fantastic cooperation network in the elect­ri­fication of mobility, Ristimäki says. 

kempower.com  |  Lahti GEM


Lahti Facts

- European Green Capital 2021
- 4th most sustainable city in the world (Corporate Knights 2023)
- economic area with more than 200,000 inhabitants, nearly 10,000 enterprises
- less than an hour to Helsinki, 48 minutes by train
- LUT University: TOP 300 – Times Higher Education World University (THE) ranking

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