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Visiting Finland is always a good idea, and especially during the summer, when the weather is fairly warm, everything is green and flourishing and the days are long. To these pages, we have gathered you some basic information about Finland and the Helsinki region with places to visit with your free time, especially, if you are planning to come with the family and stay a couple of days after the conference.

Finland is a safe country, and most of the people speak some English, so getting around shouldn't be a problem. We have a reputation of being silent and reserved, but that is just the surface.

The Finland has a reputation for high tech innovation and strong hi-tech expertise in the fields of forest improvement, neural networks, low-temperature physics, and of course communications.

Finland has its calm side, too. Finns like to enjoy the surrounding beautiful nature. To enjoy the life, a Finn does not always need any complex arrangements, just a visit to a simple cottage and sauna by the sea or a lakeside is enough -- there are 188 000 lakes in Finland and 81 000 islands altogether in the archipelagos of the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. And if there is no time to travel close to the water, there are well over one million saunas in private apartments in Finland, in the country the population of which is just above 5 million.

Facts and about Finland

Member of the EU since 1995
President of the republic: Mrs Tarja Halonen.
Population: 5.2 million
Area: 338 000 square km, 10% water, 69% forest
Climate:Cold winters, fairly warm summers.
Official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is spoken by
91.3% of the population and Swedish by 5.4% of the population.
Religion: 85.6% Lutheran, appr. 1% Orthodox
Currency: Euro, since 2002

Mean temperatures in Helsinki

January: -4.2 C
February: -4.9 C
March: -1.5 C
April: 3.3 C
May: 9.9 C
June: 14.8 C
July: 17.2 C
August: 15.8 C
September: 10.9 C
October: 6.2 C
November: 1.4 C
December: -2.2
(Source: Finnish Meteorological Institute)

Length of the day in Helsinki area:
December 21st (winter solstice, the shortest day): 5h49min Sun rises
at 9:24, sets at 15:13
June 21st (summer solstice, the longest day): 18h56min, sun rises at
3:54, sets at 22:50.
(Source: Almanakkatoimisto)

General information about Finland and the Helsinki region can be found from these sources:

Virtual Finland: A great site of information about Finland ranging from Politics and society to arts, people and travel. Stories, maps, everything.

Helsinki Tourist Information:
The tourist information center of Helsinki in the Internet. Lists of attractions and events, maps, general information.

Espoo Convention & Marketing:
The tourist information center of Espoo.

Map of the capital region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa):
Includes a search with the address or the attraction name.

Journey planner: How to get around in the Helsinki region with the public transport. Fill in the origin and destination of your journey, and this service will tell you which transports to take and when, and it shows your route on a map as well.

Below are listed some attractions in the Helsinki metropolitan region. Click links to get to the respective webpages of the attractions. Complete lists can be found from the tourist information web pages. We recommend a visit to the Suomenlinna Fortress and the Seurasaari Open Air Museum.

helsinki_relax.pdf (492Kb)
Helsinki – A small guide to recommendable restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs.

Ateneum Art Museum
Ateneum Art Museum holds the largest collection of Finnish art from 1750 to the 1960s. The museum is conveniently located at the City Center, near the Central Railway station.

Gallen-Kallela Museum
The museum is located at the studio of the Finland's national artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and presents a rich variety of his work: paintings, drawings, graphics, sculpture etc. The museum is located in Espoo, some 15 minutes by bus from the Conference venue.

Heureka, Finnish Science Center
Heureka, located in Vantaa some 20 minutes by train from the Helsinki City centre, houses scientific exhibitions. There are over 200 exhibitions in the main exhibition, with many activity points for the whole family as well as two temporary exhibitions. In June 2005 the temporary exhibitions are Music and T-Rex-the disputed dinosaur.

Helsinki City Art Museum
Helsinki City Art Museum has three museums in Helsinki: Tennis palace art museum in Kamppi (near Bus station), Meilahti art museum in Meilahti (near Seurasaari), and Kluuvi Gallery.

National Museum
The National museum of Finland presents Finnish life from pre-historic times to the present. It is located near the Helsinki City centre.

Sea Life Helsinki
Sea Life Helsinki, connected to Linnanmäki Amusement Park, is a new aquarium in which the underwater life from sharks to native Finnish freshwater species can be admired.

Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Linnanmäki Amusement Park is the oldest amusement park in Finland suitable for the whole family. The rides include a wooden rollercoaster built in 1951 which is the most popular ride in the park, and 36 others. In the area there is also a wide range of restaurants, video games and a museum.

The conference venue is at Otaniemi, which is a campus area of nearly 14000 students, over 6000 researchers and a great number of technology companies, in the spirit of the architecture Alvar Aalto.

Seurasaari Open Air Museum
Seurasaari Open Air Museum is located in a beautiful green island (Seurasaari) a fifteen minute walk away from the Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa, some kilometers from the Helsinki City Centre. The island itself is a tranquil spot in the city area, favored by the townspeople for picnics and walks. Perhaps you will even meet a tame squirrel or two.

Suomenlinna, Viapori-Sveaborg Fortress
The Suomenlinna Fortress is located on the islands just off the Helsinki and was built in the middle of the 1800th century by the Swedish to protect the city. It also belongs to the UNESCO world heritage list as a monument of unique military architecture. There is a regular ferry-boat connection to Suomenlinna from the Market Square.

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