Luxury with a Finnish twist

ESEB2019 showed the way for environmentally friendly congresses

Academy professor Craig Primmer and a group of evolutionary biologists from the University of Turku arranged the ESEB2019 congress in Turku without compromising the principles of sustainable development. In the application phase, Turku beat Prague and Barcelona for the position of congress city. The six-year marathon culminated in August 2019, as 1,300 evolutionary biologists from 50 countries came to Logomo conference venue in Turku to exchange their thoughts on nature, life, and the world.

The scientific yield of the ESEB2019 congress was of the highest quality. This claim is backed by the feedback survey in which science was number one. The second best thing about the congress, according to the participants, was the food. The catering can say a lot about the environmental friendliness of the event, which Primmer wanted to cherish in his uncompromising way.

‘I’ve often been irritated at congresses for coffee being served in plastic cups and lunch being served in a plastic package. With 1,500 participants at an event, the amount of plastic waste is incredible,’ he says.

Primmer praises event centre Logomo and Sunborn Catering for fluent cooperation. The requirements of using no plastic during the congress and providing mostly vegetarian locally sourced food were taken seriously in the kitchen. China on the table, no plastic, organic food made using local ingredients, and plenty of vegetables. Kitchen manager Kristian Karnell of Sunborn Catering listed the customer’s strict catering requests and got excited. The ESEB Congress would put the kitchen into an entirely new kind of a test.

‘I love a challenge! I did lots of background work on planning the menus, and I believe the result was quite good,’ Karnell notes. His words are too modest, as the catering for the ESEB2019 congress was excellent. The guests who came to Turku praised the taste and quality of the food. ‘One participant said that she had participated in numerous congresses over the span of 30 years, and that she felt what was served at Logomo was by far the best she had gotten,’ Karnell says.

Over a period of six days, the Logomo kitchen prepared approximately 25,000 servings of food. In addition to science, the 1,300 evolutionary biologists from 50 countries enjoyed the clean Finnish flavours and locally sourced food with vegetarian emphasis. A vegan alternative was provided for every meal.

‘Regardless of the large number of eaters, we were able to carry out some beautiful ideas. For example, we used fresh wild herbs picked by a local wild herb expert from the Turku region every day.’

The Finnish Olympic Committee hosted the gathering of the next generation sport leaders

The Finnish Olympic Committee recently hosted the concluding forum of the New Leaders Sports Leadership Programme aimed at promoting equality, good governance, and responsibility in sports leadership in Helsinki. The forum brought together top European sports leaders, including President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach and President of European Olympic Committees Janez Kocijancic. New Leaders is a legacy project of Ms Birgitta Kervinen, 2017 IOC Women and Sport World Trophy Winner.

During the past year, 30 young European sports professionals have taken part in the New Leaders training programme, organised as a joint effort between the International Olympic Committee and the European Olympic Committees, and run by the Finnish Olympic Committee. As part of the programme, the participants, many of whom are former professional athletes, have designed action plans on a personal and an organisational level to implement the IOC Gender Equality Recommendations into practice. The IOC is also giving the young generation a voice. A growing number of IOC Young Leaders, a group of inspiring young people from around the world who are using sport for positive change in their communities, have been appointed to the IOC Commissions to bridge the generation gap in the leadership.

Through panel and working sessions, the two-day Forum allowed participants to deliberate extensively on a number of topics and challenges still present in the sporting movement.
Participants exchanged views on the topics of governance and how to entrench gender equality in statutes; equal portrayal and unconscious biases; and how to create inclusive organisations, led by an expert from Olympic Partner Procter & Gamble. At the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, there was and will be complete gender equality, with exactly the same number of male and female athletes competing in the same number of sports and events.

Read more about the Forum here.

Helsinki Central Library Oodi’s first year has been a success

Helsinki Central Library Oodi will turn one year old on 5 December. Opened on 5 December 2018, Oodi had a successful first year, as the estimates for the number of visits have already been far exceeded. Over the year, Oodi has also received numerous awards and a great deal of positive feedback from the public.

The most important one of the awards and nominations was Oodi’s selection as the best new public library of the year at IFLA’s (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) World Library and Information Congress in Athens in August. Oodi also played an important role in the selection of Helsinki as the 2019 Library Municipality of the Year in a competition organised by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

‘Our original goal was to receive 2.5 million visits per year, but this year we will reach 3 million visits. We have already had 2,877,560 visits during this calendar year. We are likely to go over the three million visits right around the anniversary date. A lot of new library cards have been issued at Oodi: 18,400 by the end of October. Over half a million volumes have been borrowed from Oodi this year. When including renewals, the number climbs to over a million,’ says Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara.

Luxury with a Finnish twist

For Finns, luxury rarely means glitter and grand logos. Instead, we appreciate high quality and unforgettable experiences. You can easily find them all over the country – from winter to summer and spring to autumn. For most visitors to our land of a thousand lakes, the pure Finnish air and the unspoiled nature represent the greatest luxury.

In the heart of the capital of Finland it is not a demanding task to find a five-star pillow under your head. The hotel scene of Helsinki is booming and new hotels are opened regularly.

Lapland is one of the best places in Finland, if not the world, to find extraordinary accommodation from cozy cottages to glamping.

The coolest places to stay in Lapland

Forbes recently listed some of the coolest hotels and hotel rooms on the planet – and Finland surely has a lot of them. From the coolest glass igloos to the most secluded luxury glamping experiences, these are just a few of the reasons why Finland is winter wonderland.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Rovaniemi
Located on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, these 60 TreeHouses have a warm, wooden interior which highlights the exclusive Scandinavian design of the suits that combines local tradition and Lappish heritage. You can discover the spectacular views over the Northern skies from the nest like atmosphere of these thoughtfully designed suits.

Glass Igloos on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi and near Pyhä-Luosto National Park
The glass igloos by Santa’s Hotel on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. The glass-roofed, arctic view rooms offer an opportunity to experience Lapland’s ever-changing nature while enjoying the comforts of a hotel room. It is possible to enjoy Northern Lights, midnight sun, autumn colors and polar night. Santa’s Hotel Aurora’s glass igloos are located near the Pyhä-Luosto National Park and offer a great possibility to observe the unique landscape of Luosto presenting itself outside the windows every day in a new way.

Read more here.

Finland Convention Bureau provides complimentary information, consultation and assistance to all congress organizers and meeting planners.
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