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Sign up for the inspiration trip to Helsinki, UNESCO Creative City of Design

Design region Kortrijk loves to inspire. Once a year we head out on an inspiration trip. This year's destination is the creative capital Helsinki, hotspot for design in the far north.

Join us from September 10 to 13, 2024, in the middle of Helsinki Design Week! Register before May 24!

Discover Helsinki with us: where tradition and innovation come together in a vibrant city full of surprises. From humble maritime trade city to an economic center, Helsinki has evolved into a hub for technology, design and education, driven by an unparalleled spirit of progress.

Today, Helsinki is recognized as a center of high technology and innovation, with a strong emphasis on IT, gaming and sustainable development. It is home to some of the world's leading technology companies and start-ups, making it a dynamic and vibrant business environment.

Helsinki is also known as a mecca for architecture and design. The city is home to a diverse mix of styles, from neoclassical buildings to cutting-edge contemporary designs. The iconic works of Alvar Aalto can be admired alongside the vibrant design scene that gives the city its unique character.

According to research, Helsinki is the happiest capital in the world! So while being enchanted by the beauty and innovation of this bustling metropolis on the shores of the Baltic Sea, join in the joyful atmosphere that makes the city so special.

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(Subject to change, visits may still change timing)

Tuesday - September 10 - Arrival

  • Departure from Brussels at 7 p.m.
  • Stay at the brand new and centrally located Radisson Red, a contemporary blend of modern design and art.

Wednesday - September 11 - Architecture & Design


  • We start the day at the iconic Oodi library, where Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer of Helsinki, tells us more about the role and importance of design thinking in both social and urban development projects, of which the Oodi library is already a prime example.
  • From this architectural gem, we start our further fascinating architectural tour of the city by bicycle. From neoclassical, Gothic, Renaissance, art nouveau, art deco, Scandinavian classicism, functionalism, modernism to contemporary styles in one compact city center. We make a pit stop at the brand new “Computer themed playground” reportedly the first of its kind in the world, where children learn about computers and programming through play.


  • We end the bike tour with lunch and then a visit to the Cable Factory, a former Nokia site where telecommunications cables were produced and pulled directly into the sea, today a hotspot for creativity and cultural activity with numerous small and medium-sized businesses.
  • We then take inspiration from a leading design studio in Helsinki for industrial design, digital design, concept and service design (TBC).


Helsinki is a true foodie's paradise. We will dine at YesYesYes, one of the city's many culinary and trendy restaurants, where they excel with vegetarian dishes.

Thursday - Sept. 12 - Business, Education & Design


  • In the morning, we will visit some innovative companies. We start at Planmeca, one of the world's leading manufacturers of digital dental units, CAD/CAM solutions, 2D and 3D imaging devices and software solutions, with a passion for technology, design and innovation.
  • Nearby, we visit Marimekko, a globally known design company known for its distinctive textile designs and lifestyle products. By collaborating with various designers, Marimekko continues to be a source of fresh, contemporary designs that are admired worldwide.
  • This will be followed by an inspiring session “Design for Diplomacy.” In cooperation with Helsinki Design Week and Designregion Kortrijk, the Belgian Embassy organizes a thematic discussion between a Flemish and Finnish designer with a subsequent networking and lunch moment with Helsinki's creative community.


  • We visit the campus of Aalto University, known for its School of Arts, Design and Architecture for its innovative approach and groundbreaking designs. Integrating art, design and architecture with technology and science, students are encouraged to develop multidisciplinary solutions to complex challenges with a strong focus on sustainability and community engagement.


Before dinner, we take a ferry to one of Helsinki's many islands for a typical Finnish evening. Literally immerse yourself in Finnish culture, take a refreshing sea dive and warm up in a wonderful Finnish sauna. Those who prefer to stay dry can enjoy an aperitif with a view of Helsinki Bay. Afterwards, we will enjoy a cozy Finnish dinner together. Kippis!

Friday - September 13 - More Business, Community & Design


  • We will visit various exhibitions within Helsinki Design Week, the largest design and architecture festival in the far north which thereby provides a platform for Helsinki residents to participate in the development of the city. (TBC)
  • At Kone, a global player in the elevator sector and one of the great Finnish examples in terms of applying design thinking methodologies, we visit for an interactive lecture. Their Head of Design, name?, explains how they use design thinking to remain an innovative global player.

For the return trip, we take lunch with stunning views of the city and islands at Lucy in the Sky.


  • 2 pm: departure to airport.
  • Arrival in Brussels at 6:15 pm.
Hotel 2

Practical info

We will stay at the brand new, centrally located Radisson Red hotel, in the middle of the city green.

Participation price incl. flights, hotel, transfers, lunches and dinners, visits:

Price single: 2.485,00 EUR
Price double: 2.685,00 EUR

Price adjustments may be possible due to changes in (airline) taxes and fuel surcharges.

(Not included: possible insurances, transfer to and from Brussels Airport)