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Helmi on Tour – February 2015


taikinahelmiThis picture cought my eye on the fence that protects Kiasma´s,- the museum of contemporary art – renovation in the heart of Helsinki. I just could not leave this picture unpublished and without sharing. Maybe I will get you attention now, since this includes a kind of  idea of the Helmi students opening their eyes On Tour.  The Sami demonstrators had added their commentary on the poster of Finland and the human rights.

This time ON TOUR  the 10th February we were observing bits and pieces of the culture of Helsinki, learning history and life and listening to wise learned specialists and professors.


We started our tour at the City Hall, where Nora Couavoux introduced us the Virka-gallery,a large public area on 1st floor of the building.There are lots of interesting information to be found, brochures and maps are available to all.


Helsinki is changing constantly. The biggest plan to be materialized is the former cargo harbor areas on the downtown coastline now being under development to new residential areas and venues for new businesses, traffic and space for the people and nature. Interesting innovations are developed in constructing the energy saving buildings, waste management and traffic. Laituri is the place for more information: http://laituri.hel.fi/

The Senate Square


The Senate Square is the most important place for Helsinki guides. There one can learn the history of Helsinki and Finland from the beginning of the era of Gustav Vasa who founded the city at 1550. The City Museum on Sofiankatu gives all necessary details of all eras of Helsinkis existence.

The History of Finns begins already from approximately 3000 years BC, but Finland officially started to exist first as a nation 200 years ago and the Senate Square is a symbol for that.


The Senate Square is the place that expresses the ideas of Alexander I of Russia, who conquered Napoleon together with the Russian winter and united the eastern part of Sweden, that is Finland, as an autonomous Grand duchy part of the Russian Empire. This status was declared at the Porvoo Diet in 1809 http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porvoon_valtiop%C3%A4iv%C3%A4t

The emperor commissioned the design of the Senate Square from a German architect Carl Ludwig Engel. Mr. Engel is in charge of also many other buildings in Helsinki. EngelHe lookd like this and you can find more info here: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Ludvig_Engel

The layers of building a city can be observed from history, there are several good books. I just started reading a book of the Senate Square by Anja Kervanto Nevanlinna & Laura Kolbe: Senaatintori – Suomen sydämessä. Siltala 2012.

And one of the best sources of the post II World war is this:

Helsingin historia vuodesta 1945. 4 : Voimat jotka rakensivat Helsinkiä 1945-2010 / Anja Kervanto Nevanlinna

There was a nice story in Hesari last week of Helsinki´s statues taking selfies, really worth of viewing:



And don´t miss this: http://www.vihreatsylit.fi/?p=6805

The Cleaning Day and other great ideas

We the took us to the Bock  House to listen to two lessons, first given by Jaakko Blomberg who is an activist and works with a group organising free events in the city. Their succesful days are the Cleaning Day, Dinner under the sky of Helsinki, Hoffice etc. Get more information from here  www.yhteismaa.fi.  Ravintolapäivä – Restaurant Day has also become a great success and on that day everybody can put up an own restaurant and sell food on the street or at home or at any other suitable venue. http://www.restaurantday.org/fi/


Helsinki between the Eastern and Western Europe

kolbeThen Laura Kolbe lectured of Finland´s position in the north between Eastern and Western Europe.


She started on showing and explaining to us how the established  powers have been manifestated also on the Helsinki city masterplan. The structures of power are shown in other European cities, too in almost the same way. The Senate Square has been a stage of the powers that represent the republic.


In this picture Mannerheim is bestowing the power of the country  from the military forces to a civil administration after the Civil War of Finland in 1918.


Finland is a rural country where three major powers in the course of history have united people – plus the Swedish speaking minority. These groups are the Conservatists, The Agrar Center Party and The leftist Social Demmocratic party. The labour movement marches on the Senate Square in the picture above.

In the city centre of Helsinki the powers of the military force, the church, the governement, the education, the temples of industry and trade, power of the banks and maybe a little hidden inside the buildings also the power of multinational ownership of the valuable real estate is located.

gayThe modern Finland is fragmenting into several social groups and currents and one example of today´s manifests is the march of the gay movement on the Senate Square. The Academic world is in connection to the square as the University of Helsinki and the National Library stand on the western side of the Square.laakerinlehdetlaakerinlehdet

And the formal events of the academic ceremonies give the sense of science and drop a few laurels on the cobble stones.