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Last updated : Nov 2009
Helsinki Culture Guide
Helsinki Culture Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Although young by some European standards, Helsinki is alive with cultural activity. After World War I and Finland’s independence from Russia, the country boomed both culturally and economically. Helsinki is Finland’s hot spot for many cultural events.

The major annual events take place in the summer, although there are productions throughout the year.

The largest concerts are shown at :

The Hartwall Areena,
Areenakuja 1
Telephone number: (020) 41997
Website: www.hartwall-areena.com
Tickets prices start from €33.

The Hall of Culture,
Sturenkatu 4
Telephone number: (09) 774 0270
Fax number: (09) 7740 2777
Website: www.kulttuuritalo.fi
Tickets start from €3.50.

Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory),
Taliberginkatu 1C
Telephone number: (09) 4763 8305
Fax number: (09) 4763 8383
Website: www.kaapeli.fi/cablefactory,
This building used to house a Nokia factory and now resident to over 100 artists.

For the latest events, visitors can pick up a copy of Helsinki Happens or visit the online theatre listings (website: www.teatteri.org).


The Ticket Theatre Information Centre
Meritullinkatu 33
Telephone number: (09) 135 7887 or (0600) 11616
Fax number: (09) 135 5522
Website: www.tiketti.fi.

Tickets are also available online, through Finland’s nationwide ticket retailer:

Lippupalvelu Oy
Telephone number: (09) 613 8611
Fax number: (09) 6138 6299


The main concert hall for national and international acts is:

Finlandia Hall,
Mannerheimintie 13E
Telephone number: (09) 40241
Fax number: (09) 446 249
e-mail: finlandiahall@fin.hel.fi
Website: www.finlandia.hel.fi, which is

Finlandia Hall is home to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Robert Kajanus during 1882.

The Hall of Culture (listed above) is also used. Concerts are staged by the students at the:

Sibelius Academy of All Music,
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 9
Telephone number: (09) 405 441
Website: www.siba.fi/welcome-eng.html.

Details of the times of performances and programmes are available from the customer service desk at the City of Helsinki Tourist Office.

Chamber music is held in various venues, including churches such as Temppeliaukio, Lutherinkatu 3 (telephone number: (09) 494 698. Fax number: (09) 496 366). The works of Jean Sibelius are popular with Helsinki audiences, although the works of rising stars, such as Magnus Lindberg, are also performed locally.

The Finnish National Opera, the Suomen Kansallisoopera , has its residence at The Finnish National Opera House,
Helsinginkatu 58
Telephone number: (09) 4030 2211
Fax number: (09) 4030 2305
e-mail: liput@operafi.fi
Website: www.operafin.fi
Tickets start from €12.


There are 2 main venues, both showing mainly classical productions including Ibsen, in Finnish.

The Finnish National Theatre (Suomen Kansallisteatteri),
Läntinen Teatterikuja 1B
Telephone number: (09) 1733 311
Website: www.nationaltheatre.fi

Helsinki City Theatre (Kaupunginteatteri)
Eläintarhantie 5
Telephone number: (09) 394 0422, tickets or 39401, information fax number: (09) 394 0244
Ticket prices range from €6.50 to €42.


The Finnish Ballet School also has its residence at the Finnish National Opera House (see listing above), with tickets starting at €5.

For further information on all the other various dance companies throughout Helsinki go online to : website: www.danceinfo.fi.


Helsinki has many cinemas. Each week, a programme showing times and venues is published by the City of Helsinki Tourist Office. Local Box offices open an hour before the first show of the day.

The Finnish Film Archive requires membership, which costs €3.50 and allows 1 ticket to all performances. The archive shows classic and cult films.

The Finnish Film Archive,
Pursimiehenkatu 29-31
Telephone number: (09) 615 400
Website: www.sea.fi/english),

Mainstream films can be seen at one Helsinki's multiplexes:

Kaisaniemenkatu 2B
Telephone number: (0600) 944 944),

Forum 1-7,
Mannerheimintie 16
Telephone number: (0600) 007 007), and

Salomonkatu 15
Telephone number: (0600) 007 007).

Tickets for each cost €0.70 and virtually all films are screened in their original soundtracks, with subtitles in Finnish and Swedish.

Finnish theatre is highly acclaimed and a large part of which can be attributed to a Finnish filmmaking fraternal team, Mika and Aki Kaurismäki. The brothers set some of their films in Helsinki, including Mika’s gangster flick, Helsinki Napoli All Night Long (1987) and Aki’s take on Dostoyevsky’s classic Crime and Punishment (1983).

The Helsinki Film Festival is held during September each year. For further details contact the following:

The Helsinki Film Festival
Telephone number: (09) 6843 5230
Fax number: (09) 6843 5232
e-mail: office@hiff.fi
Website: www.hiff.fi

Cultural events

Cultural highlights include:

Juhannusvalkeat, the midsummer bonfire festival associated with the Feast of St John in June), held on Seurasaari Island. One of the busiest stages in Helsinki, with live acts all day throughout the summer, including folk dancers and string quartets, is the Esplanadi Park bandstand.

In February, J L Runeberg (one of Finland’s best-loved poets) is commemorated on Runeberg Day, a day of cake eating.

May Day marks the beginning of summer and is celebrated with vast amounts of alcohol.

July sees the Jazz and Tango Festival when there is open-air dancing on Seurasaari Island.

The Storyville Jazz Club hosts jazz events in July.

For Contemporary music lovers, there is the off-beat Helsinki Music Nova. From the end of August, for 3 weeks, the Helsinki Festival, a huge arts festival celebrating dance, art and music, heralds the finish of summer.

Literary Notes

One of Helsinki’s more noted writers and commentators is Eino Leino, whose work, Helsingissä (1905), documented life under the Russians.

Another work outlining this era is by Maila Talvio, who wrote Itämeren tytär (1929-36), a trilogy about 18th-century Helsinki.

The widely acclaimed author, Mika Waltari, penned the trilogy, Isästä poikaan, describing 3 generations in Helsinki from the 1860s to the mid-1930s.

Other social commentators have included Anders Cleve, whose short stories in Gatstenar (1959), describe life in 1950s.

Helsinki and Alpo Ruuth, whose book Kotimaa (1974) documented a young working-class couple’s life in the 1960s.

More recent works include Rosa Liksom’s popular collection of short stories, Yhden yön pysäkki (1985).