INTRODUCTION TO FINLAND
Best place to live
Newsweek draw this conclusion based on health, economics, education, political
environment and quality of life. Not only does Finland rank first overall, it
is also the best small country, the best high-income country and the best
country for education. Whether this is due to the climate we let for you to
“It’s difficult to get close to a Finn, but once they warm up to you, they’re
very nice, sincere and trustworthy. I find it inspiring to be with Finns.” –
“Yes, yes, and again yes! I’d absolutely love to come again. This country
offers so many opportunities, and there’s so much to discover.” – Marianne,
More information: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2010/08/15/best-countries-in-the-world.html
Experience Finnish nature – pure adventure
Let the nightless nights, mirror-smooth lakes, foaming rapids and tranquility
of nature capture your soul. Why not rent a cabin with a sauna next to a lake
and experience the Finnish dream for a week? Wild North is Finland’s most
versatile nature adventure tour operator. Their accommodation possibilities
around Finland range from wilderness cabins to luxury cottages. Wilderness
cabins are traditional types of lodging surrounded by nature and fitted with
only basic amenities for fishing, hunting or hiking trips.
More information: http://www.villipohjola.fi/sivustot/villipohjola/en/Sivut/default.aspx
What about Finnish sauna? – Be courageous and say yes
Sauna is an essential part of Finnish culture and a place of tranquillity to
be approach with respect. For generations sauna was a place where people were
both born and prepared for their last earthly quest. It is estimated that
there are two million saunas all over Finland. Companies and institutions have
their own saunas. Unlike in many parts of the world the purpose is to throw
water on a basket of rocks heated by the wood or electric stove.
Basic etiquette is simple. You first take your clothes off – using swimming
trunks is acceptable for foreigners – and shower before going in. Otherwise,
there are few rules. You can take refreshing shower or pop in the lake now and
then. You may also be handed a bunch of birch branches with which to
flagellate yourself. This stimulates the blood circulation and gives a fresh
More information: http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=160067&nodeid=41800&culture=en-US
Midsummer – where’s everyone, what’s all this light?
Finnish summer does arrive every year after the long period of darkness and
cold. This reflects also in the Finnish people – we truly want to make the
most of our summer. The awakening, especially in the north, is impressive.
Birds return from far away countries and trees fill with leaves.
In the cities the silence can surprise the visitors. It is particularly quiet
during Midsummer in late June when most Finns migrate to the countryside, lake
or seashore for burning bonfires, couple of saunas and generally having fun.
Midsummer is when the sun is at its highest and shines the longest. In most of
the country, especially in the north, the sun does not set at all, or just
drops briefly below the horizon before rising again. We have discovered that
July is the best holiday month. Finns move to their summer cottages with a
sauna or rent one for a week or for the whole vacation. They offer a place to
relax – to stare at the calm waters, think deep and live a simple life.
July in also the time for the great summer festivals, with Savonlinna Opera
Festival and Pori Jazz among the most internationally acknowledged events.
Finnish summer bursts with all kinds of events for those with cultural
More information: http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=165671&nodeid=41800&culture=en-US
Finland at the border of east and west
Until the middle of the 12th century the area now Finland was a political
vacuum, though interesting to Sweden and the Catholic Church, and Novgorod and
the Greek Orthodox Church. Even raging Vikings avoided treacherous Finnish
waters and deep forests occupied by tribes with magical powers. Sweden came
out on top, as the peace treaty assigned eastern Finland to Novgorod.
As a consequence of Swedish domination, the Swedish systems took eventually
root in Finland. Feudalism was never part of this system and the Finnish
retained their freedom, although often heavily taxed and thrown around in the
turmoil of internal and external conflicts.
The Reformation reached Sweden and Finland, and the Catholic Church
consequently lost out to the Lutheran faith. Thanks to the Reformation written
Finnish was created in the mid of 16th century, and during the resulting War
of Religions in Central Europe the thankful Swedish king let the Finns used
his coat of arms still in use.
Russia conquered Finland in the 1808–1809 war. Finland became an autonomous
Grand Duchy, which proved to be crucial step on the way towards independency
more than a century later. More troublesome times at the turn of 20th century
ended in one of the most radical parliamentary reforms in Europe as Finland
moved to a unicameral parliament and universal suffrage. Finnish women were
the first in Europe to gain the right to vote.
Parliament approved the declaration of independence in 1917. However, it took
a bitter civil war before Finland became a republic. 20 years later the young
nation was tested when it stood practically alone but unified in the Winter
War against the Soviet Union for the legendary 3.5 months. Later in 1941
Finland entered in the “Continuation War” as a cobelligerent with Germany when
Germany attacked the Soviet Union. This war ended in armistice in September
During the era of Cold War, the Finnish presidents worked to increase
Finland's latitude in foreign policy by pursuing neutrality. The upheaval of
the 1980´s and 1990´s led to a more liberalized atmosphere. Eventually,
Finland became EU member in 1995.
HELSINKI – NATION’S CAPITAL
1.2 million inhabitants have packed in Helsinki and the surrounding
metropolitan area including cities of Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa. Helsinki
is the natural location of both government and trade. In addition, Helsinki
was the World Design Capital in 2012. More information about the sights and
services in Helsinki can be found: http://www.helsinki.fi/eng/
Helsinki Week 7–15 June 2013 kick-starts the summerhttp://www.helsinkiviikko.fi/en/home
of Helsinki – Gourmet food and wine festival in Finland 13-16.6.2013http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/en/
possibility to test a wood-heated Finnish Sauna (bring your own swim suit if
you wish to dip in the sea): http://www.kulttuurisauna.fi/
PLACES TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF HELSINKI:
Espoo – unique combination of regional centres and wilderness
The city of Espoo, established 1972, has grown rapidly to become the second
largest city in Finland with a population of ca. 250 000. There is no clear
centre in the city, but five regional centres, each size of a medium-sized
Finnish city. It is easy to get around Espoo. In addition to public transport,
you can hire a car or a bike. If you like to see Espoo from different kind of
angle, choose a cruise and get to know Espoo inshore.
Espoo's nature is an astonishing experience offering beauty and tranquillity.
The unspoiled nature of Nuuksio National Park is worth exploring only few
miles away from the hectic city life. There are almost 30 kilometres of
trekking trails. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a bear also
known to visit Nuuksio.
Haltia - The Finnish Nature Centrehttp://www.haltia.com/en
Too wild? Choose a guided architectural tour and see a building designed by
Alvar Aalto or join a theme cruise in Espoo archipelago. Please have a look at http://www.visitespoo.fi/visitors_guide.
Close to the venue
Exhibition centre WeeGee, Ahertajantie 5, Espoo
museum of modern art, Ahertajantie 5, Espoo
Gallen-Kallela museum, Gallen-Kallelantie 27, Espoo
birds showroom & shop at Rovio’s headquarters
A scheduled boat
carries you swiftly to and from the islands in Espoo archipelago. Departs from
Nature trails & bird-watching
Porvoo – jewel of a town just an hour from Helsinki
Porvoo has lots to offer all year round. Picturesque Porvoo, the second-oldest
town in Finland, invites exploration and offers historical treasures, design
shops, fashion and fine dining.
The town's main landmark is Saint Mary's Cathedral, a building with origins in
the late 13th century. The aroma of tar hangs in the air in and around the
cathedral, a reminder that it has been bombed, burgled and burned several
times – most recently in 2006 in an arson fire.
The cathedral is surrounded by a charming old town where some houses are
several hundred years old and still standing strong. Porvoo once held status
as an important cultural centre, and many significant historical figures lived
and worked in the town.
More information: http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=198507&nodeid=41815&culture=en-US
Hanko – Finland’s southernmost town
Hanko is a cosy small town accessible from Helsinki by train or car. Hanko
offers nice accommodation by the sea, excellent restaurants and small cafes.
You can also visit the small boutiques in the pedestrian street in downtown
Hanko. Hanko is regarded as the sunniest place in Finland, and as a seashore
town it offers some 30 km of beaches. On the way to Hanko by car you can also
visit the the medieval Raseborg Castle founded at the end of the 14th century.
More information: http://tourism.hanko.fi/2007/?pid=&lang=en
Tampere – all bright and alive
With a population of well over 200,000, Tampere is the largest inland city in
the Nordic countries easily accessible by car or train from Helsinki within
two hours. Founded in 1779 on the banks of the Tammerkoski Rapids, Tampere
evolved into the most industrialised locality in Finland during the 19th
century. Thanks to the new city planning, former industrial areas are alive
again: cafés, restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums and galleries.
There is a lot to see in Tampere: original Finnish architecture, breathtaking
lake sceneries, magnificent glacial ridges, beautiful parks and lush forests
right next to the city centre - and what could be better than a lake cruise on
a beautiful summer’s day?
More information: http://www.visittampere.fi/tampereallbright