Mayors of Helsinki and Tallinn meet, attend FinEst Twins conference in Estonia

The Smart City Exchange Forum, associated with the FinEst Twins project, will take place in Tallinn on 25–27 January 2023. Before the conference, Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen and Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart will meet and discuss cooperation between the two cities for 2023–2024.
In their meeting on 8 April 2022, Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart and Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen signed an updated version of their cities’ collaboration agreement.
In their meeting on 8 April 2022, Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart and Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen signed an updated version of their cities’ collaboration agreement. Photo: Helsingin kaupunki / City of Helsinki

Collaboration priorities between the cities of Helsinki and Tallinn will include intensifying cooperation in the field of innovation, enhancing the general appeal of the region, and the joint effort to improve the health of the Baltic Sea. The mayors last discussed their collaboration in April 2022. 

– Helsinki and Tallinn’s close cooperation aims to not only enhance urban environments so they can ease the mobility of people, goods and services, but also to advance opportunities for business success and give birth to something new. Coming up with novel ideas demands a wealth of ideas and versatile know-how, and our cities’ excellent cooperation in this area creates the ideal platform for this. It also opens up this innovation to fresh international partnerships, said Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen.

In addition to their one-on-one meeting, the mayors will meet the police chiefs of both cities to discuss the heightening of Helsinki and Tallinn’s security cooperation. 

Smart City Centre of Excellence construction underway

A multidisciplinary FinEst Smart Cities Centre of Excellence is being built in Tallinn as part of the FinEst Twins project. The centre will act as a headquarters for all leading smart city actors and stakeholders in Estonia, as well as a conduit for close, long-term and high-level knowledge-transfer and research and innovation partnerships with Helsinki region counterparts.

The project will create a significant cross-border smart city innovation platform, capable of attracting international expertise and investment. It will also to act as a springboard for the exportation of Finnish-Estonian knowledge and combined service solutions on a global scale.

FinEst Twins project 

FinEst Twins is a seven-year project that began on 1 December 2019. Of the EUR 32 million in funding the project received, 15 million was a grant from the European Union’s Horizon2020 research and innovation programme, while the remainder originated from a European Regional Development Fund grant co-funded by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. The consortium behind the project includes Finland’s Forum Virium Helsinki and Aalto University and Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Tallinn University of Technology. Forum Virium Helsinki, for example, is leading a EUR 1.67 million effort to build an Urban Open data platform and a Living Lab for smart cities development. 

The annual conference of the Finest Twins project is called the Smart City Exchange Forum. The third forum in this series will take place on 25–27 January 2023. Forum participants will present flagship examples of Helsinki and Tallinn’s city-to-city research and innovation collaboration.