Finland flexes its soft power muscles with Dubai, Tokyo architecture
The Finnish government is building spectacular pavilions in Tokyo and Dubai that aim to sell the nation to potential investors through architecture, nature and weather. The projects are being funded by Business Finland, with the aim of recouping some or all of the costs through partnerships with private industry. With a white exterior, dark lakes and a wooden gorge, the Snow Cape Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 draws inspiration from Finland’s snow-covered winter landscape. In Japan, the elegant Metsä Pavilion will be constructed ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games to reflect the longstanding woodworking traditions of both Finland and Japan, with an emphasis on putting Finnish wood in the spotlight. Read more at our original story here.
Estonia trips down, booze imports up
The number of trips made by Finns to Estonia last year declined, but the amount of alcohol imported to Finland by travelers is increasing. That’s according to a new study released Thursday by the The Travel Research Company TAK. The amount of alcoholic beverages increased by 26% last year compared with the year before: imports of beer, cider and long drinks were up almost 40% alone. However, imports of hard spirits fell by 30%. Ferry trips from Finland to Estonia fell by 3%. TAK talked to a thousand passengers at ferry ports who said the reason they brought more booze back home is because of alcohol taxes in Finland, with one in three people saying cheaper alcohol is the only, or significant, reason for traveling to Estonia.
Parliament debating time change initiative today
Members of Parliament will get the chance to debate an initiative to change Finland’s time zone today. A citizen’s initiative calling for a permanent move to summer time attracted more than 54,000 signatures last year, and handed over to Parliament in November. The initiative says there is so little light during winter, especially in the afternoon and evening, that a move to permanent summer time would help alleviate this. An extra hour of light in the evening could provide better conditions for people who want to get out and about, as well as make conditions more safe for work and school travel.
Helsinki Council approves ice stadium plan
Helsinki City Council voted 70-12 in favour of re-zoning to build a major new ice sports centre in the downtown area. The Helsinki Garden project bring a 16,000-seat ice hockey stadium to Taka-Töölö, a new home venue for the HIFK ice hockey team. It will mostly be underground but there will also be shops, offices and housing built as part of the new complex. The development is being funded with public money and opposition in the council to the plan came mainly from the Left Alliance. The city says it will make money by selling the plot of land to developers, and from tax revenues as well. The current ice hall will be converted into a smaller venue with training rinks.
Penkkarit processions celebrate high school study leave
High school seniors across the country celebrating today with noisy and colourful penkkarit parades. Although some events already took place last week, it culminates today. It’s a tradition that dates back generations, when seniors marked the last day of school before study leave and spring exams. The students dress up in costume, and ride around in trucks throwing candy at bystanders. The trucks are often decorated in a theme, with home-made banners on the side trying to stand out from the other schools in the parade. Watch our video from the colourful and noisy 2019 penkkarit procession in Espoo.
Thursday morning weather
It’s another mixed start to the weather forecast all across the country today with mild temperatures pretty much everywhere except the far northwest around Kilpisjärvi where the temperatures start the day around -15°C. Elsewhere expect rain, sleet and wet snow – and plenty of cloud cover as well.