Picture: Laura Rotko / Visit Helsinki
For a city of only half a million inhabitants, Helsinki enjoys a remarkably rich mix of cultural fare, offering the sort of variety available in the large European or North American metropolises.
IN HELSINKI, shows in general are well-attended; the most popular theatre and opera productions are sold out for months in advance.
With good reason, Helsinki can be described as an important cultural meeting-point.
Not surprisingly, the cultural fare is concentrated in indoor venues and during the cold, dark time of the year, since sunshine and rising temperatures prompt the locals to head for their summer cottages or – perversely – to take off abroad for holidays.
All the same, there are things going on in Helsinki even during the summer months. The Helsinki Festival (August 17th–Sebtember 3rd, 2017) was put into the late August / early September slot precisely because the seaside town is then enjoying the warm, dusky evenings of late summer, a time of crayfish parties and yacht regattas.
The two-week Helsinki Festival, with its concerts, dance and theatre productions, and art shows, is dotted around the entire city.
One immensely popular tradition at the Festival is “Art Goes Kapakka” (kapakka = pub, local), in which artists strut their stuff in downtown restaurants and watering-holes. Having brightened Helsinki’s August nights since 1995, the festival continues to delight with multi-sensory art.