The whole program has now been published – The city will be filled with free events

Helsinki’s birthday will be celebrated with a versatile free programme on 12 June. Cultural centres will offer live gigs, circus performances, open-air dances and a number of other experiences. Outsider artists will perform on the Esplanade Park bandstand and Helsinki slang speakers’ association will reveal this year’s Stadin Kundi and Stadin Friidu. The City Hall will host a morning coffee event, and awards and commendations will be given.

Helsinki will throw a party on Monday 12 June, as the city turns 473 years. Helsinki will celebrate the big day by hosting almost 170 free events across the city, from concerts to street theatre, a disco in the park to a night-time basketball tournament. The Helsinki Day programme has been compiled through an open call to produce events together with residents and various organisations in the city.

The crowning glory of the day will be the traditional Dinner under the Helsinki sky. The event will gather people around a shared dining table on the leafy Pohjoisesplanadi at 8 p.m. Dinner under the Helsinki sky was first organised ten years ago, and Pohjoisesplanadi will be closed to cars from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The City of Helsinki cultural centres will offer an extensive programme from morning to evening, with something for people of all ages, including a variety of workshops, magic shows, art, games, great food, theatre and circus performances as well as a wonderful selection of live music by artists such as Arja Koriseva, Yeboyah, F, Marion Rung, Paleface, Figaro, Kyösti Mäkimattila & Varjokuva and Orquesta Bomba Buena.

The Esplanade Park bandstand programme is organised by Pertin Valinta, a promoter of outsider culture and organiser of the Outsider Art Festival. The OAF Stage will showcase a diverse group of outsider artists, and this year’s theme is literary art and its many manifestations. The event will feature artists, performance poets and rappers from the literature mentorship programme supported by WSOY and Pertin Valinta.

Morning coffees are served and meritorious Helsinki residents are awarded at the City Hall

Helsinki Day will kick off with a cup of coffee and a slice of rhubarb pie at the City Hall. The event will be hosted by Mayor Juhana Vartiainen and visitors will be entertained by Helsinki-themed music played by DJ Mikko Mattlar. Visitors will have a chance to peek into the Mayor’s office and enjoy the views over the sea from the City Hall balcony during the morning coffee event.

“Helsinki Day is a big day for us all, a day to proudly and loudly celebrate our fine capital city. The events will take over the city and remind us of what it is that makes Helsinki such a unique and fantastic place. I’m so proud of our dear Helsinki, and this year I’m especially thankful that we can mark this special day in a safe, clean and open city”, Mayor Vartiainen rejoices.

The Mayor, together with Deputy Mayors Anni Sinnemäki, Paavo Arhinmäki, Nasima Razmyar and Daniel Sazonov, will award golden Helsinki medals to ten distinguished citizens. In the evening, awards in science, sports and culture will also be presented with commendations to Helsinki-based artists of the year and the recipients of research grants. The Mayor will also follow Helsinki Day traditions by greeting the Helsinki Day baby at the Women’s Hospital, and Helsinki slang speakers’ association, Stadin Slangi ry., will reveal this year’s Stadin Kundi and Stadin Friidu.

Helsinki Day will also see the official opening of the city’s summer streets and the Espa area trial of new traffic arrangements

Changes have been made to the traffic arrangements and services in Kasarmikatu, Erottajankatu and the square outside the Design Museum so that these areas are protected from traffic; everyone is invited to enjoy the summer city with added furniture and greenery. The Esplanade traffic trial sees the streets become single lanes to give room for terraces and bicycle lanes as well as open spaces for the public to spend time in. The opening, held on Helsinki Day, will bring different events to the area, such as a competition to decorate lampposts with flowers and flower workshops.

The full Helsinki Day programme is available online:

Photo: Petri Anttila