Jyväskylä is a city and municipality located in Central Finland, 147 km from Tampere and 270 km from Helsinki, near the lakes Päijänne and Keitele. It is the center of the Jyväskylä Region. The site of many education-related firsts in Finland, Jyväskylä is known as a city of schools, the Athens of Finland, and is also famous for its many buildings designed by Alvar Aalto and for hosting Neste Oil Rally Finland, which is part of the World Rally Championship. The city is home of the annual Jyväskylä Arts Festival.
At the end of 2004, Jyväskylä had a population of 83,582, while the Region of Jyväskylä had 163,420 inhabitants. Jyväskylän maalaiskunta (the rural municipality of Jyväskylä), which has its town hall, graveyard and the beautiful church Taulumäen kirkko all conveniently located in central Jyväskylä, will be united with the city in 2009. After the unification there will be over 126 000 inhabitants in Jyväskylä. The Jyväskylä region includes Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän maalaiskunta, Laukaa, Muurame and Toivakka.
The unemployment rate in Jyväskylä is 13.8% (2008).
Due to this, among other things, the city earned the nickname Athens of Finland.
The teacher training college later evolved into the College of Education (1934) and further into the multidisciplinary University of Jyväskylä (1966).
The University of Jyväskylä is one of the most popular universities in Finland. Almost 16,000 students are enrolled to study for a Bachelor's or Master's degree, and the university also offers PhD programs in most of its subjects. Historically, the university has excelled in the study of education, but in the last few decades it has also gained respect in the sciences. It is the only university in Finland offering university-level education in sports, training sports teachers and coaches. Its IT program is the largest in the country in terms of attendance. Including school children, and the students in high schools, vocational schools, the university of applied sciences, known also for its IT program, and the university, the number of students and pupils in the city reaches 40,000, boosting Jyväskylä's reputation as a "student city".