I have both the pleasure and the honour of inviting the Annual Meeting of the European Museum of the Year Award 2010 to Tampere on 19–22 May. Ours is a city that boasts dynamic and versatile museums and cultural services, and that is popular with tourists and conference organisers alike. We have 210,000 residents, excellent services, and large lakes and forests very near the city centre.

The City of Tampere was founded in 1779 by King Gustav III of Sweden on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids, between two large lakes. The city’s development from a small village into the most important industrial city in Finland took place in the 19th century when Finland and Tampere were part of Russia. Plenty of red-brick industrial buildings have survived in the city centre as monuments to Tampere's industrial heyday. Now these old factories provide a home for museums, cultural and leisure centres, studios, educational institutions and commercial enterprises. For museum professionals, the industrial city centre is an intriguing place to visit, which is why most of the congress programme is based in this area.

There are about 100 museums in Tampere and the nearby areas, and about 20 of these are included in the European Museum of the Year Award congress programme as venues, trip destinations or places to visit during breaks in the official programme. Art museums, museums of industrial history, and a variety of specialist museums are Tampere’s greatest assets, but there are also plenty of other things to do in Tampere. When Finns are asked to name the best place in Finland, Tampere always comes out on top in the poll. It is the perfect size, not too big or too small. It has many events without being too hectic, and it is both urban and close to nature.

We look forward to seeing you in Tampere in May.

Toimi Jaatinen
Director of Museums, City of Tampere