Finland, the world’s happiest nation, showcases Helsinki’s eco-friendly, inclusive vibe with events like Lux Helsinki and Tall Ship Races in 2024.
For the past six consecutive years, Finland has topped the list as the globe’s most contented nation. The capital, Helsinki, is a testament to this accolade, continuously striving to be an eco-friendly, inclusive city where everyone can easily access natural wonders and the sea. In 2024, Helsinki will host two major, free gatherings: the Lux Helsinki and the Tall Ship Races, uniting people in celebration. The city’s waterfront is undergoing further development, and a novel playground is set to introduce children to the world of computing through play, minus the gadgets. Helsinki’s culinary scene is also evolving, drawing inspiration from the city’s historical roots and its diverse cultural tapestry.
Intersecting Art and Science
Lux Helsinki’s 2024 light festival theme, “Art Meets Science,” is set to captivate both residents and tourists with its blend of light art and intellectual exchange. Scheduled from January 3 to 7, 2024, the event features 21 installations scattered across Helsinki, viewable in any sequence from 5 PM to 10 PM. A standout feature this year is a 360-degree installation at Senate Square, enveloping the area’s architecture with three distinct light installations, each offering a unique 20-minute visual experience.
Juha Rouhikoski, the Artistic Director of Lux Helsinki, remarks, “Art, at its core, is an investigative journey, akin to science. Both are pathways to revelations and discoveries for those who seek with an open mind.”
Helsinki fosters innovation through the convergence of diverse thoughts and individuals. Aalto University exemplifies this philosophy, serving as a nexus for art and science professionals to spearhead novel breakthroughs. The university’s new Marsio building, opening on September 3, 2024, will be a hub for dialogue among researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and the public, equipped with cutting-edge digital resources for education and research. The building, named after Aino Marsio-Aalto, aims to ignite radical creativity and pioneering thought.
Revitalizing the Cityscape
As Helsinki continues to grow, particularly its coastline, significant transformations are underway. The iconic South Harbour is set for a makeover with the completion of Stora Enso’s new wooden headquarters. This innovative structure, encompassing a hotel, conference facilities, and a public café and restaurant, emphasizes eco-friendly construction through carbon-storing wood elements. Additionally, 2024 will see the launch of an international architecture contest for a new museum of architecture and design, aimed at enhancing the city’s maritime leisure spaces for all.
Come autumn 2024, Helsinki will debut the world’s inaugural computer-themed playground in Ruoholahti. This unique play area, inspired by Linda Liukas, author and illustrator of the Hello Ruby series, will immerse children in the digital world through physical play. This initiative marks the 110th anniversary of Helsinki’s playgrounds, with plans to introduce more themed playgrounds in the future.
Culinary Delights with a Twist of Happiness
Helsinki’s dining scene is distinguished by its use of pristine, local ingredients, a blend of Eastern influences unique to the Nordics, and a flair for creative and multicultural innovations. The Room, set to open in January, reflects owner Kozeen Shiwan’s life journey from Kurdistan to Finland, embodying his passions for skateboarding, music, art, and fashion. Helsinki boasts three Michelin Green Star restaurants – Grön, Nolla, and Natura – exemplifying the city’s commitment to environmentally responsible dining.
In early 2024, the historic Cajsan Helmi restaurant, housed in one of Finland’s oldest dining establishments, will open its doors after a comprehensive renovation. Additionally, the Hietaniemi Market Hall offers a culinary tour of global flavors, from the Philippines to the Middle East, within its historic walls.
A Seaside Celebration
Helsinki’s coastline stretches over 130 kilometers, dotted with more than 300 islands. The Tall Ships Races, set for July 4 to 7, 2024, will see nearly 50 magnificent sailing vessels, including Poland’s colossal Dar Mlodziez, dock in the Finnish capital. This event, expected to draw half a million attendees, will feature a diverse program including music, Baltic Sea conservation panels, and interactive art. Emphasizing youth education and collaboration, the City of Helsinki will sponsor 100 young individuals to participate in this maritime festival. The festivities will span several key locations along the harbor, offering an engaging experience for all visitors and residents.
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