Virtual Finnish Events for your days of social distancing

Virtual Finnish Events for your days of social distancing

Even though we are all staying at home, you do not need to go without culture! We have compiled a list of Finnish Virtual Culture Picks for your perusal during lock-down. We are looking forward to getting back on track with face-to-face events, but meanwhile, a new compilation of events and tips will be added every week whilst we are under these exceptional circumstances. Enjoy and share with friends!

Antti Tuomainen's book covers. Photo: Pirjo Pellinen
Antti Tuomainen's book covers. Photo: Pirjo Pellinen

Tips published 14th May

This week we delved into YouTube to find some videos/performances:

  • Hanna Brotherus Company premiered a dance piece titled MEN just before the lockdown. A group of men from different backgrounds between the ages of 12 - 85 feel the power and intimacy of touch. What does it mean to be a man ant to connect with other men?
  • Throwback to BBC Proms 2016: Pekka Kuusisto’s  inaugural PROMS performance of  Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto including an epic encore when he made the audience participate!
  • Finnish contemporary circus group Race Horse Company has been touring the world with their daring, funny, ‘boys-playing-in-the-backyard’ –type performances. Have a taster of Super Sunday, White Nights and Petit Mal.
  • Did you know that Finnish comic Ismo Leikola was voted the world’s funniest person in Laugh Factory finals in LA in 2014? There are many clips of his jokes on Youtube, eg his performance  on the Conan Show.

Tips published 7th May

  • Join House of Illustration curator Olivia Ahmad in a Zoom conversation on Friday 8th at 6pm with Durk Dehner, president and cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation in LA, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the legendary homoerotic artist. Ahmad and Dehner, who co-curated the exhibition, will discuss Tom’s artistic versatility, political importance and enduring legacy. There’ll be a Q&A at the end so don’t miss this chance to ask the experts your burning Tom of Finland-related questions.Finnish Institute in London has a lot of other ToF –related material on their website if you are interested in learning more.
  • Also on Friday 8th May at 6pm – 8.30pm Finnish musicians Aleksi Myllykoski with Tapani Rinne will live stream a gig titled ‘Signature Dark’ on facebook.
  • Method Putkisto inventor Marja Putkisto will give six 30 -minute complimentary live broadcast stretching sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting from 12th May at 12noon. Do sign up in advance.
  • Since travelling across borders is not possible at present, why not take a  virtual tour of Helsinki? You can also tour architect Alvar Aalto’s studio.
  • Want to get to know some Finnish literature? My personal recommendation this week is Antti Tuomainen’s light-hearted, laugh-out-loud Nordic Noir. Available from Amazon or as an e-book directly from Orenda publishers.

Tips published 30th April

  • Running out of ideas what to cook/bake during lockdown? Try the Finnish Recipe Generator for new ideas!
  • Helsinki Art Museum, HAM, has opened up a map of public art and covers 500 sculptures, environmental artworks and historical monuments that are found in the greater Helsinki area. About 200 artworks produced under the ‘Percent for Art’ –programme are located in schools, day-care centres, health centres and libraries.
  • Also courtesy of HAM, you can go through a virtual tour of Finnish artist Vilho Lampi’s exhibition.The tour is narrated in Finnish, but you can access the English captions by clicking ‘cc’ on the top right hand corner of the video.
  • Rovaniemi Art Museum has posted ‘how-to’ –videos for miniature art projects suitable for children and adults alike. Why not make a picture of eg. Aurora Borealis?
  • Do you remember Finnish songstress Saara Aalto? She was the X Factor UK runner-up 2016, Eurovision finalist 2018 and Dancing on Ice UK finalist 2019. Saara will give a free concert titled ‘Saara Aalto – Queens Alive! on Friday 1st May at 7pm from her home via her facebook page @saaraaaltoofficial.

  • Are you a bit of a twitcher? You can watch an Osprey family in the Finnish Ostrobothnia region going about their daily business on LIVECAM. They are currently building their nest. You will be hooked in no time! 

  • Last but not least – Finns celebrate vappu on 1st May (May Day BH/Labour Day), normally with outdoor picnics etc. Vappu isn’t cancelled, this year we celebrate at home, virtually. Here are tips how to do  virtual vappu. Remember to stay at home!

Tips published on 23rd April

  • Many of you are familiar with Finnish composer Jean Sibelius but have you heard of the talented Toivo Kuula? Equally talented pianist/conductor Adam Johnson has recorded a whole CD of Toivo Kuula’s compositions, you can listen to it on Spotify.
  • Tove Jansson’s short story The Invisible Child is an important reminder of the power of caring, and it works beautifully as a vehicle for helping children learn about empathy and how important it is to see and to be seen. Listen to the story read buy Tove Jansson’s niece Sophia Jansson.

  • Are you wondering how AI might affect your job and your life? Do you want to learn more about what AI really means – and how it is created? Do you want to understand how AI will develop and affect us in the coming years? Free online course Elements of AI is available courtesy of REAKTOR and the University of Helsinki.

  • The virtual stage of Finnish Opera and Ballet brings you The Sleeping Beauty as part of their Stage24 –programme. Available to watch online until 23 Oct 2020.

Tips published on 16th April

  • Among the Trees. This isn’t strictly Finnish but I wanted all of you to see this exhibition whilst it is available online.
    Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s video installation of a 16-metre spruce makes an impressive viewing – as do all the exhibits for that matter.
    Hayward Gallery’s  Director Ralph Rugoff explains some of the works here. Also check out the short review of the exhibition.


  • Ever wondered what a submarine looks like inside?
    Courtesy of the Finnish Military Museum, you can have a Virtual tour of Vesikko, a submarine that has been as a museum since 1973. Vesikko is situated on the island of Suomenlinna (a world heritage site) off the coast of Helsinki.Text in Finnish only but you can click the icons to travel through the submarine.

  • National Gallery’s only Finnish painting, Lake Keitele by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, is their painting of the month.
    Short video and more information here.

  • Acclaimed writer and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce discusses Moomin creator Tove Jansson with Jansson’s biographer Boel Westin on ‘Great Lives’ on BBCRadio4.

  • Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki has installed a few livecams – you can watch dwarf mongoose, pygmy marmosets, white-faced sakis or reindeers going about their daily business.

Tips published on 9th April

  • Ahoy all Moomin fans!
    You can watch new episodes of Moominvalley on SkyOne this Easter.
    If you are interested in reading more about the creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, check these out:
    Inside Tove Jansson’s Private Universe by The New Yorker, ‘Letters from Tove’ review: A Ghost in Moominland by The Wall Street Journal and Your Tove by The Paris Review.
  • If you are into photography, The Finnish Museum of Photography has a stunning collection online.

  • Everybody needs a little bit of Sibelius’s FINLANDia in their lives.  Watch The Lahti Syphony Orchestra playing it in style from their homes. All 62 of them! The Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

  • You can’t stop the music from playing! Music Finland curates a playlist of Finnish tunes that will hopefully lift your spirits, comfort you and hopefully give you a bit of energy. The playlist is updated several times a week with changing themes and genres. Listen here.

  • Finnish National Opera’s version of Don Giovanni is available online from Saturday 11th April until 11th September. The opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles.

  • Tero Saarinen Company’s KULLERVO. When composer Jean Sibelius as a young man encountered the tragic tale of Kullervo in the Finnish national epic Kalevala, the result made Finnish musical history. Now Sibelius’s’ breakthrough work is given a stage interpretation by choreographer Tero Saarinen.

Tips published on 2nd April

  • You can now watch and listen to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s  concerts in the comfort of your very own armchair, streamed online or on mobile app. The pre-concert talk (sorry, only in Finnish) will help to put you in the mood. During the interval you can also meet more interesting people and hear what goes on behind the scenes.
  • Amos Rex, Finnish Museum which won the prestigious Leading Culture Award for New Cultural Destination of the Year – Europe –award, has opened their ‘Generation 2020’ –exhibition for virtual tour.
  • Durk Dehner, co-founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation, takes you through one-on-one tour around the UK’s first public exhibition at the House of Illustration. He covers the backstories and legacies of each of the 70 pieces which make up Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation –exhibition.
  • Easter is fast approaching and, at least some of us, would like to tuck into some Finnish Easter delicacies like Mignon Eggs and Mämmi – despair not! The Finnish Church in London has a ‘web-shop’ and may organise deliveries where possible – do get in touch with them directly and enquire what is available at [email protected]

Tips published on 26th March

  • Finnish film 'Dogs Don't Wear Pants' has been made available for streaming. Synopsis: Juha develops and unexpected but powerful connection with a dominatrix named Mona, following a tragic event in his life that has left him emotionally paralyzed. This is a darkly humorous story of loss, love and the sweet pain of being. It stars the excellent Pekka Strang and Krista Kosonen. Dir. J-P Valkeapää, 2019.
  • Santeri Tuori’s current exhibition Water Lilies’ at Purdy Hicks Gallery has been made available to see online.
    For his Water Lilies -series Santeri photographed ponds over a period of time. The resulting works are layered images with two or more layers on top of each other taken at different time.
  • Ateneum (Finnish National Gallery) has produced 13 short films of the most beloved artworks in their collection, including Ferdinand von Wright, Helené Schjerfbeck and Albert Edelfelt. Ateneum has also created Ateneum Art Gate, an augmented mobile application. Art lovers can use it to explore nine of the main gallery’s most central pieces from outside the museum, as long as they have at least 4 x 3 meters of clear space around them. Instructions how to download the app here.
  • TOP TIP for opera and ballet lovers: Stage24  is the virtual stage of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. You can watch and listen to performances whenever you like. Set the stage in your living room!