Culture Café: Finland
Moomins, Northern Lights, Lapland, Salmiak – what else comes to mind when you hear about Finland? Well, thanks to our Finish students we have learned all about that and more at our Culture Café dedicated to Finland.
Briefly touching on the country’s rich history, we moved to learn about some of the most interesting places of the country. The capital, Helsinki, is situated on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and is a place to visit any time of the year. While there, be sure to visit one of the art galleries or take a short trip to one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – sea fortress Suomenlinna. When you are done exploring the capital (of course, do not forget to come back sometime, it will welcome you with open arms), take a trip to other cities, like Porvoo. Porvoo is the oldest town in Finland, it has been inhabited since the Stone Age, so it definitely can offer you a lot. Turku is a cultural and scientific center. Every year it attracts thousands of tourists to its cathedrals and variety of museums, as well as rock lovers – the island of Ruissalo in Turku hosts one of the oldest music festival in Europe – Ruisrock. It will be held for the 49th time this summer.
You cannot not talk about Lapland when talking about Finland. Lapland is the northeast part f the country and the perfect spot if you wish to experience the Northern Lights or White Nights. If you want to hunt down the breathtaking Northern Lights, you have more chances to do so if you come here. The Aurora Borealis can be seen in Lapland for almost 200 nights from the late autumn to early spring. Of course, there is still no guarantee that you would actually see it, since the weather has to be practically perfect. And do not miss your chance to meet the real Santa Claus, or as you would call him in Finnish, Joulupukki. His residence is located nearby of Rovaniemi, and you can chit-chat and take a photo with Santa in his office (mind the office hours, he is a busy man). And on the opposite side of the country, in the southwestern town Naantali, you can meet the other famous Finish characters there. We are talking about Moomin World, of course, thematic park based on the beloved characters of Tove Jansson’s books.
There is something that might surprise you about Finland – you are probably using Finish technology every day without realizing its origin. Nokia is a Finish phone company and one of its engineers Matti Makkonen is considered to be one of the developers of SMS technology. Finnish-American engineer Linus Torvalds has created Linux and Git. And the name Rovio Entertainment probably does not say much to you, but you would have to live under the rock to not know of the company’s most famous creation – Angry Birds.
We want to thank our presenters for sharing with us their country’s history and culture. There’s still so much to learn about Finland but this Culture Café was a great start. Now, don’t mind us while we go for a relaxing evening in a traditional Finnish sauna.
Text: Evgenia Senkina