Helsinki will celebrate May Day 2023 this coming extended weekend with many fun events throughout the city. The city’s six neighbourhood Cultural Centres will set the stage already before the big day with several pre-party events. For example, the Maunula House will host a free Vappu Sing-along at 18.00 on Friday, 28 April, and the Stoa Cultural Centre will stage a free Vappu Disco for children and the young at heart on the same day at 13.00.
One of the most anticipated events during Vappu festivities in Finland is the so-called capping of Helsinki’s Havis Amanda statue. This year, the Aalto University student union will carry out the rotating duty of carefully placing a white Finnish graduation cap on the statue’s head. The capping will take place at 18.00 on Sunday, but a programme with speeches, music and a dance performance will begin in the vicinity already at 16.00. A screen will be set up on Esplanadi Park to help people who are farther away follow the proceedings.
Vehicles moving through the city centre of Helsinki on Sunday, April 30, May Day Eve, should note that the area around the Market Square and the Esplanadi streets will be closed to motor traffic from 15.00–20.00. Traffic restrictions keep pedestrians and motorists safe, as the crowds on May Day Eve tend to spill over into the streets. Those who are planning to attend the capping are advised to reserve enough travel time and avoid the more congested routes on your journey.
The pool that normally encircles the Havis Amanda statue will be empty during this year’s proceedings, as the statue will be removed for renovation after this year’s holiday is over.
Vappu concerts and parades
On Monday, 1 May, Helsinki’s residents will gather to picnic and celebrate May Day at different parks in the city, primarily Kaivopuisto and Kaisaniemi. Different Vappu events such as concerts, May Day parades and lunches will be arranged throughout the capital.
May Day Matinee performs with real swing this year, as the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra joins another local institution, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Legendary May Day Matinee On Monday, 1 May at 12.00 and 14.00. Tickets 9,50-46€.
First aid workers patrol city on e-bikes, support available for young people
The City of Helsinki’s Rescue Services will introduce new first aid e-bikes in association with the May Day celebrations. In large crowds, paramedics on bicycles can reach people who need assistance faster. First aid e-bikes have most of the same equipment on board as ambulances.
First aid e-bikes will be on duty in the city centre area from May Day Eve 14.00 to 2.00 on May Day, and then again on May Day in the Kaivopuisto park 8.00-20.00. Rescue Service ambulances will also be in use normally.
A youth aid operation will be organised in Helsinki city centre and districts on the evening and night of May Day Eve. The purpose of the operation is to interact with and assist young people under the age of 18. The aid operation involves a total of about 95 professionals and volunteers.
Health and social services in Helsinki on May Day
Helsinki residents will also receive the health and social services they need during May Day.
Helsinki prepares for May Day celebrations with toilets and bins
The City of Helsinki will arrange temporary waste bins, platforms and metal barrels for smouldering grill waste for people celebrating May Day in central Helsinki and Kaivopuisto. This year, the recycling of plastic, glass, cardboard and biowaste will be tested in Kaivopuisto Park.
HSL public transport over the May Day bank holiday
On Sunday 30 April and on Monday 1 May, a Sunday service will operate. Additional public transport services will operate both on 30 April and on 1 May. Tram routes will be diverted in downtown Helsinki on 30 April from 3.30pm.