City of Light Jyväskylä brightens the days throughout the darkening season.

In the dusk of an evening visitors arriving to Jyväskylä are greeted by light. The city features over a hundred permanent illuminated locations which in the hours of darkness are a source of delight for residents and travellers alike. In the resource-wise City of Light energy efficiency also receives special attention. Read more about the City of Light and the lighting designer Elisa Hillgen’s favourite illuminated locations.

As dusk falls light begins to glitter and gleam in Jyväskylä. The city has invested in quality urban lighting for over 25 years and currently possesses over a hundred permanent illuminated locations. 

–Here in Jyväskylä, for instance, we’ve illuminated building facades and works of art, implemented lighting projects in parks and just about everything in between, explains Elisa Hillgen, City of Light coordinator and lighting designer. 

 According to Hillgen the interesting thing about Jyväskylä’s illuminated locations is that they vary greatly in terms of scale. In places the focus has been on showcasing small details while in others extensive lighting plans have been drawn up and massive locations such as Matti Nykänen’s ski jump and the Kuokkala water tower have acquired illumination. 

–The city’s bridges are particularly well-known. Kuokkala bridge as well as the Äijälä and Ylistö bridges are all visible from different directions to passers-by and those on the water. At the same time for us they are a defining feature: we’re close to waterways and the bridges connect different areas to each other. 

Person admiring the lights of Kuokkala Bridge
Photo: Julia Kivelä

New illuminated locations are added virtually every year in Jyväskylä, with more imposing examples at intervals of a few years. Occasionally something may even be dropped. Hillgen considers that long-term planning of lighting has importance from an urban image perspective that can also be harnessed to boost tourism during the darker period of the year. 

–Visitors pick up on the fact that the city has some wonderful locations. 

Light is also important for the locals. 

–People here regard the City of Light as very much their own thing. Locals show respect on a daily basis for the extensive work that goes into it and the shared environment created. 

In addition to permanent illuminated locations the much-loved City of Light event is a big hit each autumn. During the Christmas period the Jouluvalomaa illuminations in Church Park bring a yuletide atmosphere to the city centre. 

Elisa Hillgen’s TOP 5 illuminated locations in Jyväskylä

Matti Nykänen’s ski jumping hill

”Nykänen’s ski jump is one of my own designs and the most important in my career to date. It is situated in an easily visible spot at Laajavuori and both the discipline itself and Matti’s history mean a great deal to people. The lighting project taught me a lot from a technical point of view. It was touching in all respects and due to the height of the jumping hill a fine project all round to design.  

Lights on a ski jumping hill.
Photo: Helena Kujala

Nero steps on the Harju ridge 

”After extensive refurbishment the illumination of the Nero steps is once again close to the original idea drawn up in 2003. What’s fascinating here is the history of the Nero steps; the stone steps are a beautiful, imposing and protected site. Thanks to the lighting after dark the steps stand out even better.” 


”The new Kangas area of the city features a lot of beautiful nighttime lighting, including a considerable amount of illuminated public art. The surfaces found there are many and varied, as are the materials used in the buildings, which the lighting brings nicely out. Kangas is definitely worth a visit!” 

Lights potrayed on an elephant made from car tires.
Photo: Jiri Halttunen

Kehä Vihreä – Green Loop 

”Green Loop is an exceptional project, a park which runs around the city, in which lighting has been given special consideration in many places. Green Loop features numerous artworks and illumination connected to art, such as art benches and illuminated installations. Green Loop is a perfect fit with the Jyväskylä spirit: here people are physically active in their free time as well as their journeys to and from work, which means Green Loop is for many a transit route. Light is an integral part of the planning process as an area develops.” 

Bridges: Äijälänsalmi bridge, Kuokkala bridge and Ylistö bridge 

”A trio of bridges encountered along Rantaraitti, the path that circles Lake Jyväsjärvi, and each of them is beautifully lit. All three bridges are much photographed locations and wonderfully representative of the Jyväskylä cityscape.” 

Illuminated bridge in Jyväskylä
Photo: Atacan Ergin

Experience the City of Light with a self-guided tour