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Trading centre for dynamic growth – Tampere has become the fastest growing urban centre in Finland

A central location, astonishing population growth, and affordable housing make the continuously growing Tampere an attractive marketplace.

“The Tampere region is currently the fastest growing region in Finland. Unlike Helsinki, for example, growth in Tampere isn’t limited by its location by the sea. Not even the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the number of people moving to Tampere, unlike it has with Helsinki,” says Timo Antikainen, Business Development Director at the City of Tampere.

Currently, the number of people living in the Tampere city region is 400,000, and there are 25,000 businesses. As an economic area, Tampere serves the entire Pirkanmaa region of 525,000 residents.

The cost of living is lower here than in Helsinki, which increases the purchasing power of those who live in Tampere.

The Tampere region has become the second largest cluster in terms of population after Helsinki. The population of Tampere has grown at an astonishing rate over the last 10 years: the Tampere city region attracts an average of 5,000 new residents every year.

“This trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Quite the opposite – the population growth is increasing. By 2040, the Tampere city region will have half a million residents,” says Antikainen. 

The Tampere region has excellent prospects for growth, which is reflected in forward-looking investments. Growing trade and selection of services and strong innovation are attracting more and more companies and employees to the area.

Innovative university city

The attraction of Tampere can be explained by its reputation as an innovative university city. The age distribution of the city’s residents is exceptionally young, with approximately 40% aged 20–40, compared to elsewhere in Finland, where the share is approximately 25%. Educational opportunities are also exceptionally good. The city has almost 50,000 students in universities or universities of applied science.

“Tampere is the city of the future, with strong professional potential and a comprehensive start-up network. Due to the young age distribution, we’re in an excellent position when it comes to dependency ratio functionality,” says Antikainen.

Investments in the event economy and strong start-up activity are attracting companies and experts to the region.  

In recent years, the city has made several large-scale investments, of which Nokia Arena, the artificial island project in Lake Näsijärvi known as the Dubai of Tampere and the new carbon neutral residential areas have also gained international exposure.

“The city is known as a hub of high technological expertise, which is attracting both companies and professionals to the region. Tampere ranks second in Finland behind Helsinki in terms of the balance between incoming highly educated residents and graduates moving out of the region,” Antikainen says.

Ratina as the city centre’s main attraction 

An attraction that adds to the appeal of Tampere city centre is the Ratina shopping centre, which opened in 2018 and attracts 5.7 million visitors annually.

“Ratina, which was elected the number one shopping centre in the city, and Nokia Arena, which was built next door, have changed the focal point of the entire city centre. The new tram line further increases accessibility to the locations and makes the services of the city centre available to tens of thousands of residents,” Antikainen says.   

The first routes of the new tramline opened in 2021, and the entire tramline is scheduled to be completed by 2024. Tram connections run through the new residential areas, making the services of the city centre available to tens of thousands of new residents.

According to Shopping Centre Manager Mervi Ahola, Ratina is one of the shopping centres in Finland that has been able to significantly increase sales during the pandemic.

Ratina and the new Nokia Arena have changed the focal point of the city centre and attract visitors from all over Finland.

“In 2021, our sales increased by more than 20% compared to 2020, and we added 10 new brands to our shopping centre. The Periscope restaurant, which is known as the landmark of Tampere, and the playground Ratinan Riemu also attract visitors further and further from the city.”

In addition to the domestic tourism boom influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ahola believes the large investment in customer experience and services for families with children – as well as active cooperation with other actors in the area – is the reason for the growing popularity.

“We all have a desire to build a dynamic centre. During its first three years of existence, Ratina has claimed its place as the new attractive and enticing commercial centre in the city centre. We will develop our service and store offering to meet the needs and desires of our customers,” Ahola says.

Ratina, which has been elected the number one shopping centre in Tampere, has increased its appeal despite the challenging years of the pandemic. Excellent services for families with children, international brands, and diverse customer benefits also attract customers from outside Tampere.

An attractive hub in the heart of Finland

Tampere’s position as a hub in Finland is also reflected by Rajaton seutu, a report produced by MDI Public Oy, which states that as much as 94.2 per cent of the country’s population lives within 500 kilometres of Tampere. According to Antikainen, Tampere’s location outside the Helsinki metropolitan area represents tremendous potential for the retail sector. 

“The cost of living is lower here than in Helsinki, which significantly increases the purchasing power of those who live in Tampere.”

New apartments are being built in the urban area at an accelerating pace. The Ranta-Tampella and Viinikanlahti residential areas are being constructed near the city centre. The construction of the Hietaranta residential area is scheduled to begin in 2024.

Nearly 95% of Finland’s population lives within driving distance of Tampere.

In cooperation with Ratina, the Periscope restaurant, which is known as the landmark of Tampere, has successfully managed to scrap the idea of a typical shopping centre restaurant. In the summer of 2022, you can go to a sauna and swim in the jacuzzi of the biggest rooftop terrace in the Nordic countries.

The new tram line along which tens of thousands of new homes are being constructed is accelerating the development of residential areas. The first routes from the city centre to Hervanta, Ratina and Kauppi opened in 2021, and the entire route is expected to be completed by 2024.

“In addition to the growth in permanent residents, there is constant growth in domestic overnight visitors. Finland’s popularity as a travel destination is also growing internationally, which is attracting tourists to the country. We expect Nokia Arena to become the new hub for national and international events, which will be supported by the services of Ratina and numerous new hotels,” says Antikainen.

Tampere challenges Helsinki:

  • The second largest and fastest growing metropolitan area in Finland.
  • A lower cost of living than in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
  • Easily accessible from different parts of Finland.
  • Renowned as an innovative start-up city.
  • Population with a high level of education and an exceptionally young age distribution.
  • The growth in services and investments in the event economy are also attracting tourists.
  • The proximity of the sea does not limit growth, as it does in Helsinki.
  • Proximity to nature supports the comfort of living.


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