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Leif Jokinen - Åbo

Does size matter? - Building the largest cruise ships in the world in Turku

Hi,

My name is Leif Jokinen and I am the honorary consul of Denmark in the beautiful city of Turku (Åbo in Swedish). I am 48 years old, married and have 2 boys. For the last 20 years I have worked within the field of LifeScience, mostly as Managing Director for a Danish pharmaceutical company (H. Lundbeck A/S) in Finland, Scandinavia and also recently for East Europe. My mother is from Norway and her family originally comes from Denmark. So I know at least a little about Denmark, I understand most of the language and you can most likely understand me quite well, as Swedish is my official mother tongue. For some strange reason spoken Danish sometimes is difficult for Finnish people to understand but usually we figure things out quite well at the end.

Turku/Åbo and the area where I live, have many possibilities that could interest Danish people and businesses. Turku is a bilingual (both Finnish and Swedish are official languages) city by the Baltic Sea, which connects us to Denmark (in addition to the partly common history that we have). The closeness to the sea explains the major industries in this area, the most important being ship building (Meyer) and the LifeScience sector, including biotechnology and traditional pharmaceutical industry (Bayer, Orion, Lundbeck, BioTie). The City of Turku supports both industries, for instance by having established a cluster of shipbuilding actors to a ”Blue Industry Park”. Some of the worlds' largest and finest cruise ships have been built in Turku and this industry is currently thriving with over 5000 people working for it – size does matter in ship building. Naturally there is a wide sector of different other industries in the area, of which you can find more information on the city website (www.turku.fi).

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I like the city very much not only because of it's beauty, with the Aura river running through it, the lively restaurant and club life, but because of the active cultural and educational field. There are 2 major universities and 4 separate university faculties in the city. Every fifth person in the city is a student. This brings life to the city and you can really feel it. Also the cultural sector is vivid. There are more than 900 cultural events every year in Turku, which was actually chosen as the cultural capital of Europe in 2011.

But at the end of the day it is the sea and the archipelago that is captivating to me. A nice experience to take a winter swim through a hole in the ice, while at the same time watching the largest cruise ships in the world float by....

Hilsen,

Leif

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Tarja Laakso, who is assisting with the consular matters at the consulate in Turku and        honorary consul Leif Jokinen.