Lahti, Finland named European Green Capital 2021
The first Finnish city to be awarded this title, with an ambition to becoming a carbon-neutral by 2025.
The city is situated on the south side of lake Vesijarvi, the gateway to the largest lake district in Europe. Only one hour by car/train or bus from the capital of Helsinki.
Lahti has since the 1970s been a pioneer in environmental services, with the first project to clean up the lake as it was one of the worst polluted in Finland. In 1997 the first annual environmental week was held to ask residents and businesses to work towards sustainability in the city.
Top sustainable Initiatives in the city:
- Waste management: 99% of household waste is now recovered and recycled
- To become a zero-waste circular economy city by 2050
- Use sustainable modes of transport. Is introducing an urban ski-sharing program (like city bikes in London) so in the winter locals and tourists can travel around the city on the new ski trails.
- Lahti has the first carbon-neutral symphony orchestra in the world
- Since 2019, Lahti no longer uses coal, the city is now heated by recycling fuel and certified wood
This is an amazing achievement by the local people and companies who are fully on board with these initiatives.
It is also a beautiful city in its own right with plenty to do in and around the surrounding areas - ideal for walkers, cyclists, nature lovers and skiers.
In the City:
Take a stroll along the harbour and visit the Sibelius Hall where the symphony orchestra plays and take a walk over on the wooden bridge to Myllysaari Island. Also take a look inside the Church of the Cross that has the most amazing interior. Sport is very important and the city has a ski and sports stadium (football in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter), ski jumps, outdoor swimming pool and forest trails.
Outside the city:
There is plenty to explore on the water by taking a lake cruise through the canals and see the eight-kilometer Pulkkilanharju Ridge and Islands. Take a walk through the Linnaistensuo Swamp on the raised wooden path - the largest natural reserve area in Lahti. A hidden gem is Kelvenne Island, which is located in the Päijänne National Park, where you can find beautiful sandy white beaches.
There is also a ski resort (Messilan) located 10 minutes from the city that has 10 slopes for beginners to intermediates, restaurants and at the top offers spectacular views over the lakes.
Food and Drink:
The local cuisine is all about using local food produce such as fish, game, mushrooms etc. The city also has its own local beer factory and Finnish whiskey that is the only distillery in the world to be located in a basement of an apartment block. Lots of small cafes and bakeries to enjoy local coffee and pastries.
There is a lot to see and do in this area, to find out more take a look here: www.greenlahti.fi/en