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Liikunnanohjaaja selkäpuolelta kuvattuna. Image Hanna-Kaisa Hämäläinen

Jyväskylä - The Capital of Sport: Some background for the strategic choice

Jyväskylä is known for its Rally, students and Alvar Aalto. The city is known to be lively and the residents active. Sportsmen and women also know well that the only Finnish Faculty of Sport Sciences, and the industry’s top research institutes like KIHU (Finnish Institute of High Performance Sport), LIKES (Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health) and the JAMK University of Applied Sciences Sport Business School are located in the city.

Jyväskylä is truly proud of this international sport exercise, but what is the overall picture of Jyväskylä’s sport and how is it known elsewhere in the country or internationally?

We decided to investigate the matter further and turned to JAMK in 2016. The issue was investigated in connection with exercise and sports events and other events. The respondents of the survey were locals, non-locals and foreign visitors, totaling 1477 people.

91 % of locals, 84 % of non-local residents and 79 % of foreigners felt that Jyväskylä is an exercise and sports city. The statements highlighted different active and successful sports clubs in the local community, Jyväskylä’s exercise and sport opportunities, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences and the Rally in Finland.

These results contribute to the assumption that we are in a city where exercise and sport play an important role and it is visible from the outside. We strive to actively promote and strengthen this image in Jyväskylä.

A major step forward was taken in the autumn of 2017, when the City Council decided that one of the four strategic points of the City strategy is that Jyväskylä is the Capital of Sport. This choice illustrates that physical activity and its promotion is a substance for the whole city of Jyväskylä.

It is important to note that exercise in Jyväskylä is a very wide-ranging phenomenon, ranging from physical activity that promotes the well-being of residents to international top-level sport. We follow a two-year exercise barometer for the exercise activity of the residents, but likewise we have built a path to grow into a top athlete in the city and make Jyväskylä the best place to work out.

We are also self-critical and as a traditional seminar city we always strive to develop our own expertise. In exercise and sport, this involves improving conditions, promoting research and development, and continuously increasing cooperation between different actors.

With these things in mind among others, we have accepted the challenge and are developing Jyväskylä as The Capital of Sport.


  • Finland's most inclusive Neighborhood Sports Sites - program
  • Finland's largest outdoor gym Rantaraitti
  • 15 sports parks
  • 360 sports facilities
  • 220 active sports clubs
  • Over 70 sport-genres of hobby-possibilities
  • 500 kilometers of ski trails, paths and jogging tracks
  • Laajavuori outdoor and recreation area in the center
  • Water sports gems AaltoAlvari and Wellamo
  • Green Ring - recovery and relaxation in nature

Well-being through life

  • Exercise and nature-oriented early childhood education
  • Schools on the Move - program
  • School sports clubs
  • Sports and exercise classes
  • Getting to know sports for free
  • ExerciseVeturi 9-12 v.
  • ExerciseLaturi 13-19 v.
  • Wire-groups for job seekers
  • Free sports counsel
  • Free transfers to swimming pools
  • Kipinä-card for sports services or cultural destination
  • Kilo - Guard activity
  • Senior 65+ card
  • Free of charge assistive service
  • Rehabilitation activity
  • Cardiac patient’s exercise path

Combining education and sports

  • Sports and exercise classes
  • More than 1,000 athletes in the Jyväskylä Sports Academy Program, agreements with the University of Jyväskylä (JY), the University of Applied Sciences (JAMK) and the Educational Consortium (GRADIA). The aim is to make Jyväskylä the best place to study and work out.
  • A combined sports service between academies, Jyväskylä Academic Sports

Competitive sports at the highest level

  • Finland's only faculty of Sport Sciences
  • International Research Institute for Olympic Sport - KIHU
  • More than 1,000 students at the Sports Academy
  • LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health 
  • Master Olympic Training Center, an international top-level sports city training center
  • Sports club success