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Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:57

Helsinki’s World Design Capital Summer

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This summer, there will be even more to see, do and experience in Helsinki. Helsinki’s year as World Design Capital means lots of new kinds of summer events and venues. In addition, the 200th anniversary of Helsinki as capital of Finland will provide unforgettable experiences for visitors.

The Design Pavilion in the courtyard between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture serves as the heart of the theme year and will host many events until mid-September. Another new venue is the Chapel of Silence in Kamppi. The chapel serves as both a quiet place for meditation, and a fine example of Finnish wooden architecture. 

Between June and August, the Market Square in turn will be the site of the Finnish Design Market. 

Cultural Pleasures

Great ways to spend a summer day in Helsinki include a relaxing archipelago cruise, or a meal at an exotic island restaurant. Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is rich in history. In addition to the regular guided walking tours, this summer, a special bicentenary theme tour is being offered to celebrate Helsinki’s 200th anniversary as capital of Finland. World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 will also be celebrated at Suomenlinna with an exhibition by local artists in the 19th-century “Jaakellari” ice cellar.

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is situated on a charming island. Visit the recently renovated Urho Kekkonen Museum Tamminiemi, a beautiful park estate that served as President Urho Kekkonen’s residence during his period in office between 1956 and 1981. 

For music lovers, the new Helsinki Music Centre presents half-hour concerts from 2pm to 4pm on Mondays to Fridays.

The biggest art exhibition this summer is at the Ateneum Art Museum, which will present a major 150th anniversary exhibition of the art of Helene Schjerfbeck until October 14. 

The summer of cultural events culminates during the Helsinki Festival from August 17 to September 2.


Family Fun 

Helsinki is an ideal destination for family holidays. Favorites for families include Linnanmaki Amusement Park, Sea Life Helsinki and the Helsinki Zoo.

At Suomenlinna, a special children’s adventure tour takes visitors on an exciting voyage through time to life in the 1700s. Families will also enjoy tram tours, a day on the beaches at either Pihlajasaari or Uunisaari island, or a picnic in Kaivopuisto Park.

The official program of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 also includes special events for children, including the Children’s Book Cafe at Annantalo Arts Centre.


Food and Entertainment

Helsinki has around 1,200 restaurants serving everything from exquisite gourmet meals to family favorites and a wide range of ethnic restaurants. Visitors should treat themselves to dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant. For a taste of fresh seasonal Finnish cuisine, try one of participating Helsinki Menu restaurants where you can “Eat your way through 200 years of Helsinki’s food culture”.

Helsinki Wholesale Market is a new center for food culture in Helsinki and will be developed into an urban focal point for food culture. The refurbished Kellohalli “Clock Hall” will serve as the main stage for the food and design events of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 theme year.

The popular Restaurant Day will be held again on August 19. Other food culture events include Art Goes Kapakka from August 16 to 25, Delicacies of Finland from August 23 to 25, and the Herring Market from October 7 to 13.


Pop in a Shop!

The City of Helsinki and the Regional Organization of Enterprises in Helsinki are collaborating to organize a Pop in a Shop campaign week from September 3 to 8. The goal is to encourage visitors to discover the many small companies that offer excellent services and unique products. A free-of-charge map has been published in English that lists all the participating shops.

Late Night Shopping in the Design District takes place August 9th. Local shops will stay open on these days until at least 9pm, and special events will be held. Visitors should also visit the district of Kallio, whose distinctive boutiques, galleries, bars and cafes offer a wide range of unique experiences. The Up with Kallio network is organizing the Kallio Block Party this summer on August 4th. 


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