A city of culture
Helsinki is a dynamic city of culture. Cultural offerings are diverse, and the cultural climate fosters innovation and supports world-leading achievement.
The city has rich architectural layers. It offers residents and visitors a variety and frequent musical performances from classical to popular. A dozen professional theatre and dance companies offer performances ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary. Close to a hundred museums have something for everybody, from art to excitement for children.
The City of Helsinki is an active supporter of art and culture. The City is the second biggest financier of culture in Finland. Culture plays an important role in the City’s strategy, policies and decision making.
The City of Helsinki’s cultural activities are administered by the Cultural Office, which promotes art, culture and creativity. The office supports culture with grants, and it produces cultural activities at its many venues by itself and in cooperation with other organizers. The activities include arts education.
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012
Helsinki is World Design Capital in 2012, so designated by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid).
World Design Capital is a biennial designation given to one city at a time. It is a city promotion project that celebrates the accomplishments of cities which have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and to improve social, cultural and economic life.
Helsinki was named World Design Capital in November 2009 and thus became the third ever World Design Capital, following Turin of Italy (Torino, 2008) and the South Korean capital Seoul (2010). The fourth World Design Capital is Cape Town, South Africa (2014).
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 celebrates design with more than 300 events and projects throughout 2012, consisting of public events, exhibitions and development projects that look at ways to improve cities and everyday life with new solutions.
Culture for everybody
Helsinki’s rich architectural layers comprise many styles and iconic buildings from the early 19th century to the present. These styles include Neoclassical and Art Nouveau (Jugend), which was influenced by Finnish National Romanticism. Helsinki has been strongly shaped by functionalism. The Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) sea fortress is a UN World Heritage site dating from the 18th century and offers a window to Helsinki’s and Finland’s history.
Helsinki offers residents and visitors a variety and frequent music performances from classical to popular. The city’s new music hall, Helsinki Music Centre, opened in 2011 and is the new focal point of music in the city.
A dozen professional theatre and dance companies offer performances ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary. Close to a hundred museums have something for everybody including children.
A large number of festivals satisfy diverse tastes, from heavy metal to circus. The biggest of the festivals, Helsinki Festival, is Finland’s largest arts festival and features the most varied programme on the nation’s annual cultural calendar. Helsinki is the stage of dozens of cultural festivals each year.
A literate city
Helsinki residents are avid readers and consumers of library services. Helsinki City Library’s more than 40 public libraries and the HelMet Web Library are some of the most used City services. The city is developing a new Central Library, a “library of the future”, which will be a new centre of culture in the heart of the city.