Build it and they will come.

Tampere Talent Ambassador Ashley D Penn

I love the Finnish winter. I just wish it was 6 months shorter! People often ask me why I have chosen this little-known country that most of my friends back home in the UK seem to think of as being a bit “north of the wall”. Finland has a unique charm to it that is hard to put into words. There is a phrase I use on occasion – ‘In the depths of winter and the hights of summer Finland is a truly beautiful place!’

Like many others, I came here to study part of my undergraduate degree. I met a girl and took her back to the UK with me as a souvenir. We decided to move back here when our first daughter was two. This had nothing to do with the first-class education system with consistently high PISA scores. Nor did it have anything to do with affordable property values, better work-life balance, Europe’s cleanest air, nor the best social and gender equality. It definitely had nothing to do with Finland being the happiest country on the planet. I mean, why would anyone want to move to such a country? OK, those reasons  may have had some influence on our decision. It certainly wasn’t the weather.

Why the heck Tampere?

Confession time. I don’t actually live in Tampere… I love  Tampere. Yes. I work there. True. I do all my socialising there. Of course! But, I actually live in Nokia; a tiny “city” just outside Tampere. I have city envy and would love to live in Tampere. However, we decided to live close to family in the countryside around Nokia. Still close enough to easily get to Tampere in half an hour, but in the countryside. In fact, I think that easy access to unspoilt Finnish countryside is one of the defining features of Tampere.  

Build it and they will come.

One day I’ll be an old grey(er) hipster reminiscing on how I loved Tampere before it was cool. There are so many exciting  things happening in/to Tampere at the moment. So many, in fact, I was inspired to write about them in this article Tampere: The Most Exciting City You’ve Never Heard Of.  It won’t be long before the world-class stadium is built, the whole deck area and transport hub are completed, and the  innovative wood construction housing is developed in the up and coming Vuores. Soon the tram will be zipping between Hiedanranta, the city centre, the University Hospital, and Hervanta. As the city evolves, I’ll be able to say I was there when it was all being built, (and even played a small part in its development. – More on that story later).

Tampere’s got Talent

Lots of it. It’s quite well known that Tampere is a centre for innovation and technology. However, there is a lot more going on under the surface. That’s one reason why together with friend and fellow ambassador Selene Gama we organised  the Talent Tampere and Hope Fest events to showcase local international performing talents in Tampere. Although I am not a professional musician, I am a keen amateur enthusiast. Professionally I am a landscape architect and writer. I write articles on a variety of subjects and have published a book on roof gardens. Part of my job involves attracting international interns to work in our company. This means every day I am selling Tampere as a great place to live and work. I truly believe this, and I think that is what drives me to be a Tampere Talent Ambassador.

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