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Helsinki Celebrates Culture and Design in 2022

Support for events and the arts are markers of strong civil society. Events and culture can restore wellbeing, trust and a sense of unity amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Dynamic event and cultural sectors of society are in line with the Helsinki City Strategy and elements of general wellbeing in Helsinki. On these principles, Helsinki celebrates culture and design in 2022.

The year 2022 will strengthen the domestic and international position of Helsinki as a city of compelling events and notable cultural venues. Several new first-rate venues will open doors in the city. New cultural policies and grants will create conditions for a wide range of leisure activities.

Helsinki was the World Design Capital of 2012. Today, 10 years later, the outcomes of the design year are seen everywhere in the city. They include various services provided by the city government, the vibrant maritime Helsinki with shorelines open to the public, new types of business and events, and grassroots activism. In sum, Helsinki has shaped the city with the help of design.

Design is embedded in everyday life in Helsinki. Design is a tool to improve the city and to create solutions to people’s needs.

“In 2022, we will be looking back at some of the key learnings of the past 10 years, while working towards a future where design continues to play a key role for us in building a better city. The years to come will see the completion of exciting initiatives, such as a computer-themed playground designed in collaboration with the amazing Linda Liukas, and a much-anticipated new museum of architecture and design,” says Helsinki Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris.

The cultural venues of Helsinki have been distinguished by remarkable architecture throughout the capital city history. One of the most notable of them is Finlandia Hall by Alvar Aalto, both a key architectural attraction and an important event venue in the city.

Finlandia Hall will go under renovation in January 2022. A new modular building, Pikku Finlandia (meaning Little Finlandia), will serve as a temporary venue to replace Finlandia Hall in the interim. This wood building was designed by Aalto University’s architecture student Jaakko Torvinen.

Pikku Finlandia will be a living room for citizens with its cafés and terraces, and it will serve as an arena for live music, festivities and congresses. The building’s design concept was inspired by a Finnish boreal forest with views through trees. Whole untrimmed tree trunks serving as load-bearing columns create a forest-like atmosphere, while the design utilizes nature’s own engineering and so reduces processing. After its first use at Finlandia Hall, the building will be moved to another location in Helsinki to serve as a school or a day care centre.

There are only a few buildings in the world dedicated solely to dance. Tanssin talo (House of Dance) by JKMM and ILO Architects will be Finland’s first landmark venue promoting dance. Opening on 2 February 2022, Tanssin talo will operate as a community and platform combining all the diverse forms and contents of dance. The building is located next to one of Helsinki’s most important cultural venues, Cable Factory, which operates in factory buildings dating from the 1940s. The architecture of the new building takes its inspiration from dance, playing with illusions of lightness and heaviness. During the opening year, many internationally renowned choreographers and dance companies will be visiting and performing at the venue.

A ballet company was founded at the Finnish Opera in 1922, just over four years after Finland became an independent nation. So the company, today the Finnish National Ballet, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022. The company’s first performance on 17 January 1922 was Swan Lake, and a new choreography of this ballet by David McAllister will kick off the centenary in January 2022. The year honours Finnish culture and history with several new ballets, for example about composer Jean Sibelius and the other based on Aleksis Kivi’s classic novel Seven Brothers.

Iuliia Tore