In 2009 Helsinki, Finland launched Invitation to Helsinki, an innovative ongoing program focused on building lasting relationships between the national capitals of Washington, DC and Helsinki, Finland. During March and April 2009, 12 talented Washingtonians responded to an open invitation to Helsinki, traveling on separate journeys. Hosted by their Helsinki counterparts, they experienced the city on both professional and personal levels, documenting their ongoing discoveries in travel journals featured on this web site and in MyHelsinki.
During May, twelve themed days of programming hosted by the Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC spotlighted each of the participants' fields and their flowering Helsinki relationships against the backdrop of MyHelsinki, the popular exhibition showcasing the Invitation to Helsinki program participants’ Helsinki discoveries and impressions. Finnish hosts joined their new Washington colleagues and their local networks to engage in a series of dynamic and thought-provoking seminars and meetings. The exchange fostered opportunities for expanded networking while fueling continued exchange between the two cities’ leading experts.
As these virtuoso thinkers evolve their Helsinki relationships, they open a world of transformative cross-cultural collaborations that builds upon their initial Helsinki experience, bringing benefit to the two communities and beyond.
Greater Helsinki, the capital region of the Republic of Finland, is the commercial, political and cultural capital of Finland. Situated on the Baltic Sea, Greater Helsinki consists of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen and surrounding 10 municipalities, creating a home for 1.3 million people. In the year 2000, Helsinki was the official European City of Culture, while celebrating its 450th anniversary.
Helsinki is unique among Northern European cities. The lifestyle of this northern city is full of contrasts, with events and activities ranging from world-class ice hockey to a leisurely swim in icy water after a hot sauna.
Helsinki's rhythm is laid back yet at the same time refreshingly active in terms of both the number and quality of restaurants and nightclubs. Feast on a cup of coffee and a doughnut at the market square or dine at a two-star Michelin restaurant - you are bound to bump into friendly, helpful Finns in either place. Helsinki's identity has been formed by cultural influences from both East and West.
Everything is nearby - Helsinki is a pocket-sized metropolis that is ideal for visitors!
In Washington, DC, you'll enjoy access to fascinating, FREE attractions and historic sights. Touch a moon rock, marvel at the Hope Diamond, view Dorothy's Ruby Red slippers or explore Native American culture at the Smithsonian Institution's fifteen Washington, DC area facilities. Discover treasures like the Gutenberg Bible at the Library of Congress, the only da Vinci painting in North America at the National Gallery of Art and historic documents like the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.
Invitation to Helsinki is implemented under the patronage of Mr. Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki and Mr. Pekka Lintu, Ambassador of Finland in Washington, DC.
Invitation to Helsinki is produced for the City of Helsinki by Pluto Finland.
The main exhibition for Finnish Design Month in Madrid, will take place 4 November 2009 – 10 January 2010 at the Contemporary Art Center in Matadero.
The inspiration for the exhibit is Helsinki, which is evident in the exhibition as well as in the corresponding events. In Helsinki design has been made a central strategy. Design is close by, for everyone all the time, fused into the lives of its citizens in the entire capital city region.
The varied and interactive exhibition will have over several hundred products from Finnish companies and designers representing many different design areas and viewpoints.
Helsinki was presented in the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C. through an exhibition in May 2009. Over 8000 visitors came to see and feel Helsinki and twelve Washingtonians' experiences in the city.
See pictures from the exhibition and related events here.
My journey to Helsinki has not officially begun, but I've been talking about it with a number of people over the past few weeks. One of the things I plan to do is to shoot a short documentary - and I'm still refining the concept for it. Once I have a definitive directly I'll post more about that here.
I'm reading my draft itinerary and digging deeper into:
Day one on jet lag and loving Helsinki! I am a american southern boy where the warm welcome of "hey" is special, indeed to be hei, hei-ed made me right at home. Everywhere my eyes danced seeing buildings and sculpture tell stories from ancient times, to revolutionary moderns, to emerging moderns.
Indeed, the Kalevala Spirit permeates everywhere and is luminous at the breathtaking exposition now on in the Museum Ateneum! Details, big concepts, and a fluid echo of Hei has made my first day a great day! On the trail of the Spirit of Place; the land of trees and water has opened a quiet jewel of design.
I just finished writing up a document on "Creating a Citizen Driven Ideas and Problems Sourcing Platform, and associated Providers to Needs Matching System."
The PDf and video are here: