Forming good image of Hämeenlinna

Jouko Astor

I don’t really know what I should understand under the term of creative industries because it is such an open term that it could include almost everything creative. If we think about what we do here - we had here architect´s studios, advertising agencies, music producers, graphic designers, photographers, cinema, contemporary gallery, art museum, and so on. So, sometimes I just think that everything that is happening here could be part of cultural business or creative industries from our point of view. In the middle of 90´s we started to do this kind of things that are nowadays called creative business or creative sector and I think you can call it whatever you want - it doesn’t really matter that much.

The city of Hämeenlinna has only 66 000 inhabitants, the region has about 170 000 inhabitants. There are things that bring us audience only from the city and there are other things that invite audience from the whole Southern Finland area so sometimes we operate at local level and sometimes we operate nationwide. For example this year we had four international scientific congresses here and of course they brought audience from all over the Europe. We have also concerts or entertainment events that bring people from all over Southern Finland and we have some contemporary music concerts and contemporary art exhibitions that invite only limited audience from the city. So many things are happening and all the scales are being used.

We are aware of positive impact we have for the development of the city although it is difficult to describe yet. Well, one thing is that this Verkatehdas Arts and Congress centre is important thing for people living here. About 75% of them (older than 15 years) consider Verkatehdas as their place. About the same percentage of people think that it was a good and wise idea that city used tax-payers money for this investment. And we also have reports about how we are seen in the national media. I think we are forming part of a good image of city of Hämeenlinna and this area is a vital space, it is a good place to live and we are important for people. The more diversified is the composition of our audience, the stronger and more vital we are.

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Jouko Astor

Jouko Astor

Managing director of Verkatehdas in Hämeenlinna, Finland

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