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Leif Jokinen - Åbo

Building the largest cruise ships in the world in Turku


My name is Leif Jokinen and I am the honorary consul of Denmark in the beautiful city of Turku (Åbo in Swedish). I am 53 years old, married and have 2 children. For the last 25 years I have worked within the field of LifeScience, first as Managing Director for a Danish pharmaceutical company (H. Lundbeck A/S) in Finland and more recently for a Swedish pharmaceutical company, Karo Pharma AB. My mother is from Norway and her family originated from Denmark. So I know something about Denmark, I understand most of the language and you can most likely understand me quite well, as Swedish is my official mother tongue.

Turku/Åbo and the area where I live has many possibilities that could interest Danish people and businesses. Turku is a bilingual city, as both Finnish and Swedish are official languages. It is situated 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 Turku) and the LifeScience sector, including biotechnology and traditional pharmaceutical industry (Bayer, Orion, Lundbeck, Karo Pharma, 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 world’s largest and finest cruise ships have been built in Turku. 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).

The Corona pandemic in 2020 is naturally affecting the economic environment negatively but Turku, and Finland, have so far been able to maintain the negative effects reasonably low compared for instance to many other regions and countries.


Turku, the former capital of Finland, is also a very beautiful summer city with the Aura river running through the city and has for instance a lively restaurant and club life by the river. Turku is a famous tourist city with a lot of attractions including the closeby Moomin World and for instance regularly being one of the cities included in the international Tall Ships Race event.

There are 2 major universities and several 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 and visited often by international stars and cultural figures. There are normally 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 probably the most captivating. It is a nice experience to take a swim in the ocean, while at the same time watch the largest cruise ships in the world float by.