Helsinki Day offers nearly 180 free events all over the city

Helsinki’s birthday will be celebrated with a diverse, free programme on Wednesday, 12 June. Cultural centres will be organising live concerts, theatre, circus and a whole host of other experiences. Outsider artists perform on the Esplanade stage and the Stadin slangi association will announce the 2024 Stadin Kundi and Friidu. In addition, Mayor Juhana Vartiainen hosts a morning coffee event for the first one thousand persons at the City Hall. 

Helsinki celebrates its 474th birthday on Wednesday, 12 June. The Helsinki Day festivities include nearly 180 free of charge events all over the city, ranging from concerts to quizzes, from workshops to walking tours and from children’s discos to sports  events. Several parties within the city will open their doors and enable free access to exhibitions and this year also for exemple to the Kallio church tower. The Helsinki Day programme is created together with the residents and various parties within the city through an open call for events.

“The Helsinki Day atmosphere and events embody the spirit of Helsinki at its finest. It is pleasure to celebrate Helsinki’s birthday all over the city with free of charge events organised by the citizens themselves”, enthuses Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki.

Helsinki Day is crowned by the already traditional Dinner under the Sky. The event brings the city residents together in the lush Esplanade Park at 8 p.m. The Dinner under the Sky will close Pohjoisesplanadi street to car traffic between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. 

The programme of the City of Helsinki’s Cultural Centres forms a significant part of Helsinki’s birthday celebrations. The Cultural Centres east and north of the city centre provide a wide range of programmes from morning until evening for residents of all ages. There will be a variety of workshop activities, guided exhibition tours, theatre, open mic stages, circus, murals, dance shows, puppetry and markets as well as plenty of live music, including performances by Arppa, Maija Kauhanen, Hassan Maikal, Stig, Minsku Tammela and Emilia Sisco & Northern Lights. 

The Esplanade stage programme is being curated by Pertti’s Choice, promoter of outsider culture and organiser of the Outsider Art Festival. The OAF Stage will showcase a diverse group of outsider artists – this year, the focus is on music and performing art. The night culminates with a super group of Finnish Hammond organ art, the Salonen- Gustavson-Gröhn trio, celebrating the release of a new album. The Stadin Slangi association will announce the 2024 Stadin Kundi and Friidu on the Esplanade stage at noon.

Morning coffee and awards for merited Helsinki residents at City Hall

The Helsinki Day traditions begin with morning coffee and rhubarb pie hosted by Mayor Juhana Vartiainen at the City Hall, featuring Pop & Jazz Conservatory student duos. During the morning coffee event between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., the residents can also peek into the Mayor’s office and admire the view of the Baltic Sea from the City Hall balcony. Helsinki Art Museum guides will tell about the art works of the City Hall.

At the afternoon Helsinki Day event at the City Hall, the Mayor and Deputy Mayors Paavo Arhinmäki, Johanna Laisaari, Daniel Sazonov and Anni Sinnemäki hand out golden Helsinki medals to merited Helsinki residents. The 2024 awards for science, sports and culture as well as recognitions to artists and research grant recipients of the year will also be handed out. In keeping with Helsinki Day traditions, the Mayor will also greet the Helsinki Day baby at the Women’s Hospital.

Image: Emilia Rautio