Helsinki’s Cultural Renaissance: How the City’s Unique Programs are Enhancing Lives from Childhood and Beyond

Helsinki’s Cultural Renaissance: How the City’s Unique Programs are Enhancing Lives from Childhood and Beyond

HELSINKI, May 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The World Happiness Report has anointed Finland as the world’s happiest country for the six straight year. Now Helsinki, Finland’s capital, reveals three ways in which art and culture play pivotal role in fostering a good life from early childhood. Studies have attributed Finnish happiness to high-quality education, affordable healthcare, social stability, and work-life balance. Making art and cultural services accessible to a wider audience has also positively contributed to overall happiness. The City of Helsinki has been a leader in making cultural experiences more affordable and appealing to a broader audience, all while maintaining world-class standards.

HAM Helsinki Art Museum, is a shining example of this commitment, looking after a vast collection of 10,000 works of art that belong to all of Helsinki’s residents. Roughly, 2,500 of these pieces can be found in public spaces across the city, from schools and day-care centers to public parks. This is thanks in part to Helsinki’s Percent for Art policy, which has allocated approximately one percent of construction project budget for public art since 1991.

“Events and cultural experiences in Helsinki are designed for everybody, regardless of their socioeconomic status. We call it a Nordic approach to art and culture – a key enabler of a good life”, says Mari Männistö, Culture Director at the City of Helsinki. “To make the impact real – and the ensuing happiness long-lasting, Helsinki is singularly focused on serving its residents from retirees to toddlers”, she continues.

To better understand the Nordic approach to art and culture and to maybe inspire other cities and countries, Helsinki is featuring three real-life stories on the topic.

Introducing Culture to Children at an Early Age

Helsinki’s Culture Kids Program is a unique initiative inviting all children born in and after 2020 to participate, it has already attracted 13.167 participants and counting. Impressively, between 66-69% of children born in 2020 or 2021 and living in Helsinki are currently involved in the program. Each child is assigned a cultural operator who sponsors them and offers their family personal experiences with the arts, including invitations to at least two cultural events each year that are tailored to the child’s developmental stage and designed to promote their family’s well-being. 

“Every child has an assigned cultural institution, which becomes the familiar go-to place for the child and its family. More than 30 art and cultural organizations are engaged. The kids are annually invited to two events until they start their free basic education. For them, these cultural events are free of charge”, explains Mari Männistö.

Co-creation with Cultural Actors, Schools, and Libraries

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is doing more than just playing music for concert-goers, it also has innovative outreach programs. The Orchestra is part of the Culture Kids program – the whole program was originally their idea – and it regularly collaborates with schools, music institutes and educators in the Helsinki area.

“We invite schools and student groups to general rehearsals for free and collaborate with music institutes to organize Little Overture – concerts before symphony concerts. In addition, we are taking part in the Orchestra Academy of the Helsinki Music Centre. It creates a unique learning environment in orchestral music for future professionals, studying in the world-famous Sibelius Academy”, Aleksi Malmberg, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

There are also multiple free chamber music concerts in public libraries free-of-charge for all ages. Helsinki’s 700,000 residents are served by an exceptionally wide library network: 37 in total across the city.

Helsinki Biennial – an international contemporary art exhibition organized for the second time this coming summer – also provides an excellent example of this co-creation approach. They have developed teaching materials on the Thinglink platform that are available to teachers, and they form part of the cultural curriculum for fifth graders in Helsinki inviting all 5th graders to visit the Biennial free of charge.

Giving Space for Youth to Have Their Own Voice Heard

Amos Rex, one of the most popular art museums in Helsinki, is currently showcasing, Generation 2023, an exhibition which features the thoughts of young people in today’s unpredictable world. The exhibition shows art by 50 artists aged 15–23.

“This triennial was born out of joint discussions between Amos Rex and the Helsinki Youth Services. Now every three years we give space to very young artists. This is one of our boldest ventures. In their works, young artists seek new ways to approach the most pressing issues of our time; the state of nature and its coexistence with humankind, norms related to gender identity and appearance, and digital exhaustion”, explains Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex.

The exhibition is open until August 20th in Helsinki.

Unleash your curiosity about Finnish culture in Helsinki

While the above examples showcase Helsinki’s rich cultural offerings from the perspective of children and youths, the city has much to offer people of all ages throughout the year. With a diverse range of unique cultural events and experiences planned for 2023, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

There are multiple great exhibition openings, such as Albert Edelfelt a key figure of Golden Age of Finnish art, in Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, and world-famous Tom of Finland in Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Helsinki Biennial, a contemporary art event, taking place for the second time in summer 2023, June until September.

When traveling to Helsinki,, the official website of the city marketing company Helsinki Partners, is the local guide for discovering the most inspiring sights, events, and novelties in Helsinki.

More Information

Leena Karppinen
Senior Manager, PR and Communications
tel. +358 40 334 6384
[email protected], your local guide to Helsinki’s hottest restaurants, saunas, sights and events.

The following files are available for download:

Amos Rex, Generation 2023,Ritni-Alen,StellaOjala

Finland Helsinki events, Julia Kivela

Amos Rex Mika Huisman

Culture Kids, Helsinki City Museum 2023 Maarit Hohteri

Children drawing Vallila, Aleksi Poutanen

Alicja-Kwade-Big-Be-Hide-37 HAM/Maija Toivanen

Adrian Villar Rojas,The Theater of Disappearance, 2017, NEON Foundation,Photo_Jorg Baumann

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Culture Kids, Petri Anttila

SOURCE Helsinki Partners

Originally published at
Images courtesy of

The post Helsinki’s Cultural Renaissance: How the City’s Unique Programs are Enhancing Lives from Childhood and Beyond first appeared on Old Post Books.

Art - Old Post Books originally published at Art - Old Post Books

Elizabeth Banks and Archer Roose Launch the Elizabeth Banks Book Club Previous post Elizabeth Banks and Archer Roose Launch the Elizabeth Banks Book Club
Free Movie of the Day: Sci-fi action movie Riot Girls Next post Free Movie of the Day: Sci-fi action movie Riot Girls