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Helsinki doesn’t need Guggenheim

December 1, 2016

Yesterday Helsinki City council voted against the construction of a Guggenheim museum in the city by a vote of 53–32.

This was the right decision and I honestly hope that this is the end of it.

I have loosely followed the issue since it became headline news a few years back. I have always been against the idea of building a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki, for several reasons.

Helsinki already has really fabulous museums that deserve our support: Atenium, the National Museum, Kiasma (not so fabulous, but anyways… modern art is not really my thing), the Finnish Nature Museum (Luomus) and many others. I think the museums we already have in the capital should be a priority. We should be supporting the Finnish art, culture and historical scene. We do not need imported culture in Helsinki. That is what travelling exhibitions are for.

Money: Let’s face it, and excuse my language, the Finnish economy is shit right now and why on earth would Helsinki city officials allow the expenditure of taxpayer money for something as exclusive as Guggenheim? We are facing budget cuts of BILLIONS of euros from the education budget, so how can we possibly pour desperately needed taxpayer money into a foreign venture? As much as the proponents of Guggenheim Helsinki tried to say it would be funded by private money — I say bollocks. The taxpayer would have been paying for it in the end.

Guggenheim is exclusive. With the outrageous costs surrounding the architectural competitions, initial studies, building of the museum and future licencing fees (which no doubt would have come from the pockets of the taxpayer, in spite of what Guggenheim supporters said), who would be able to afford to go to such a place? On the surface Guggenheim is a brand and business, which means money, competition and profit, not community and collaboration.

In fact, I agree with everything that Pedro Aibéo wrote in this article.

I really hope that this will be done and buried now. The farce has gone on long enough.

I apologize for the profanity, but this sums up the feelings of many people who are opposed to Guggenheim establishing a museum in HKI.

I apologize for the profanity, but this sums up the feelings of many people who are opposed to Guggenheim establishing a museum in Helsinki.

GIVEAWAY: To celebrate Finland’s 99th birthday

November 29, 2016

I have long mulled over the idea of having a giveaway for people who follow this blog here on WordPress, on Facebook and on Twitter.

So now that I have the idea in my head and the prizes in hand, this is your task – just in time to celebrate Finland’s 99th birthday on December 6. I also want to thank all of the people who have followed Life in Finland for so long – thank you!

Surely you have 99 reasons to love Finland. Tell me about some of your favourite memories of visiting Finland (if you have ever been here – feel free to share a photo or two) – or if you have never been here, but love Finland all the same – tell me what you would want to do if you get the chance to visit. Or if you’re not originally from Finland, but live here – what do you love about living here?

I will send along the following (postage paid) and top it off with something sweet, maybe salmiakki or Finnish chocolate.🙂 Candles by Havi and Finland plate by Sagaform.

You have until December 7, the day after Independence Day to complete your task. Be sure to include your name and mailing address in your response. E-mail me at: kiviaho13 [AT] hotmail . com** (No worries, I will not be collecting people’s information, I will only use it to send the prize to the winning entry.) I will announce the winner later next week.

Carmen P.

P.S. I am afraid I have to exclude my family members from this giveaway – you know who you are!😉

**P.S.S. NOTE: I may compile your responses into a future blog entry – so please let me know if I have permission to publish your response! I do like hearing from you after all.🙂

Picture of the Day

November 28, 2016

I have been so busy lately (basically living at the arena!) that I have barely had time to register Christmas in my mind. Halloween is long past, Remembrance Day (November 11 in Canada) is long past and it is now less than a month before the big day.

I actually saw the inside of a mall for the first time in ages and was happy to see these really nice decorations at Iso Omena in south Espoo.

The dusting of snow we got last night was nice, it’s actually a lot lighter outside again.

P.S. The food at Harald, the Viking restaurant at Iso Omena was fantastic, the whole reason why we were at Iso Omena yesterday evening.🙂

Where are the champions of women’s and girls’ sport in Finland?

November 8, 2016

My eyes have been opened over the last few years with regards to how little attention is paid to women’s and girls’ sport in Finland.

Recently the media made light of Teemu Selänne’s “return to daycare” as a “godfather” (he was once a daycare teacher, before he made hockey his life). What I couldn’t help noticing is the glaring lack of GIRLS in any of the pictures that have been taken while he’s been hanging out with the kids.

In the article, he gives some advice, one piece of it being: “Be an example.” Well the media has to do a far better job of regularly presenting Finland’s sporting women as examples.

As the mother of a girl involved in sport, I’ve only recently (in the last year or so) come to understand how little we see of Finnish sporting women being presented as role models for girls. I know they’re out there, but where?

In many cases they are among the best in the world at what they do! Let’s see…

  • Susanna Tapani (a member of both Finland’s national teams for ringette and hockey)
  • Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (and virtually every other member of the women’s national cross-country skiing team)
  • Kaisa Mäkkäräinen (biathlon, 61 podium finishes at the World Cup level, including 19 victories)
  • Mira Potkonen (the only Finn to win a medal at the Rio Summer Olympic Games)
  • Amanda Kotaja (one of Finland’s best female athletics Paralympians)
  • Lotta Lepistö (who won a bronze medal in cycling at the recent Road World Championships in Qatar)
  • Emma Terho (former Finnish National Hockey Team player, now sitting on the board of the Finnish Hockey Association)
  • Saara Niemi (former Finnish National Hockey team member, now the Development Director for girls’ hockey in Finland)
  • Nooralotta Neziri (a current standout on the track and field scene in 100m hurdles)
  • Wilma Murto (an up and coming standout in women’s pole vault)
  • Petra Olli (the first female wrestler to win a World Championship medal, silver in 2015)

A lot of these women make headlines, but only when they seem to do something significant in the eyes of the sporting press.

Plus there are women in team sports blazing trails along the way: Marjukka Virta, Anna-Kaisa Raesola, Pauliina Ojala and three others who have played 500 or more games in the national league in ringette. Riikka Noronen has played more than 500 hockey games at the national league level. Surely there are remarkable milestones like these in other women’s sports in Finland, but why haven’t we heard about them?

We rarely hear about any women’s team sports in the press. The Little Miss plays handball – it’s a whole world of its own, primarily played by Swedish speaking Finns – and we never hear about it. I love handball – love watching it anyways.

How about some more press for the women who play basketball, volleyball, ringette, hockey, soccer, floorball? Where is it – or am I missing something? I wrote about my involvement in the World Ringette Championships which were held in Helsinki at the turn of the year. Unfortunately, they were very much overshadowed by the World Junior Hockey Championships which were also in town at the same time. The Finnish junior hockey team got themselves on a stamp for winning… So why didn’t Finland’s senior national ringette team get a stamp too? They also hold the title of “World Champion.” I even gave feedback to Posti, expressing my exasperation. Their answer: We made the stamp based on popularity and current trends. Hmph!

Team Finland and Team Canada at the World Ringette Championships

Team Finland and Team Canada at the World Ringette Championships

I attended a business and sporting event in Helsinki that was held during the recent World Cup of Hockey that was played in Canada. Looking back I think there were less than five women in the crowd. The presentations felt a little exclusive, especially the one by a charity that has focused on involving disadvantaged people in sports. There were no pictures of women in the presentation… And when I made that remark to a friend of mine, he responded by saying that the girls were watching – or something like that. I was too annoyed to record his response.

There is hope on this front. Back in October – finally – and for the first time ever (that I have noticed) there was a sports event put on by Monaliiku that focused on integrating immigrant refugee women into the sporting world in Finland. It’s. About. Time. By all reports on Facebook, the event was a success and will be organized again next year.

A couple weeks ago on Twitter, some people I follow were posting bits of information from a sports seminar being held in Finland. Men and mainstream team sports like hockey and soccer get the lion’s share of sports funding in Finland, women and the lesser known sports (even where Finland has a world champion – for example, Matti Suur-Hammari, men’s para snowboarding) get very little. One of the development points for all sport in the country is to get more women coaches into the fold. Will it happen? Some of the attendees seemed to think so, because the request has come from the athletes themselves.

As a ringette coach, it’s been interesting to see how many men are among the legions of devoted coaches in ringette, quite often DADS because their daughters are involved in the sport. One of the development goals in ringette (2014-2018) is to get more women into head coaching roles. Currently the head coaches of the Finnish senior and junior ringette teams are men, as are the assistants. While success of the teams has been tied to terrific coaching over the years, it’s time to get some women lined up when the change of the guard comes.

Girls Hockey Day – where are the champions for that? I’d like to see some big names of men’s hockey in this country supporting the girls, they deserve it!

On the hockey front I did make a bold prediction earlier this year. Finland’s women’s hockey program (as will others) will be on par with Canada and the US in about 10 years. Why? Girls are finally getting the attention and the coaching they deserve. They’re on the ice longer and there is definitely more focus on developing players that have multi-skill sets that come from other sports. Kids in sport here are encouraged to do different sports that are unrelated to one another and that’s a good thing.

The end of the year brings annual reviews and in Finland, the race for Finland’s athlete of the year. While the candidates have not yet been announced, there’s a sure bet that some of Finland’s best sporting women will be on that list. Will the Finnish sports writers stand up and give them the honour they deserve? Well, I think that Leo-Pekka Tähti deserves to be Finland’s athlete of the year for 2016, but that’s another story.

P.S. I will be visiting this topic again…

(Update November 11) P.S.S. This entry has also been published (with permission) on the website of the Female Coaching Network.

HOCKEY: Women’s Four Nations Cup being played in Finland

October 21, 2016

Calling all women’s hockey fans (and I came across this by accident because it’s not really being advertised anywhere!) The Women’s Four Nations Cup is being played in FINLAND this year from November 1-5 at three different venues in Kerava, Järvenpää and Vierumäki.

This tournament highlights some of the best women hockey players on the planet!

The schedule is as follows:
Tues. 1.11 klo 18.30 Sweden – USA (Vierumäki)
Tues. 1.11 klo 18.30 Finland – Canada (Järvenpää)

Wed. 2.11 klo 18.30 Canada – Sweden (Vierumäki)
Wed. 2.11 klo 18.30 Finland – USA (Kerava)

Fri. 4.11 klo 15.00 Finland – Sweden (Vierumäki)
Fri. 4.11 klo 18.30 USA – Canada (Vierumäki)

Sat. 5.11 klo 14.00 Bronze medal game (Järvenpää)
Sat. 5.11 klo 17.30 Gold medal game (Järvenpää)

Admission is FREE for games at Vierumäki. Games on November 1 and 2 are EUR 5 for adults and free for kids under 13 years of age. Admission to the finals (both games) is EUR 10 for adults and free for kids under 13 years of age. Tickets are also on sale at the door.

See more in Finnish here.


Worth a visit – Haikaranpesä

October 19, 2016

A couple weeks ago we all headed out to do some shopping. Now, I am a lover of all things spontaneous and fun, so I suggested that we should go for lunch at Haikaranpesä (rough translation: stork nest), and old water tower-turned restaurant and events venue in the south part of Espoo.

The tower was built in 1968 and underwent renovations just a few years ago. The restaurant is really nice and the views – well fabulous! It’s not a cheap place to eat, but the food is great. I have been there a few times over the years and it’s always a pleasure to visit.

When we were there a couple weeks ago, the weather was sunny – so you can imagine how nice it was to look out over the sea. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Random thoughts

October 19, 2016

Hello, I apologize for my absence lately – I really got hammered by a bad cold virus almost three weeks ago. I was feeling so bad… I should be good now for the next five years or so!🙂

Quite often I ask myself a lot of rhetorical questions… I decided I should start writing them down. Below is a selection of random thoughts I’ve had recently on daily happenings in life in Finland. I suspect this will be the first installment of many with this title.

* Over the last few months I have noticed a lot of news reports on fraud, tax dodging, abuse of power, and so on by various Finnish people in positions of power.  How do these things not affect the transparency index for this country? Finland is becoming more corrupt by the day! Just last week, a politician in Finland voiced alarm about so-called “buddy capitalism” in this country. Worth a read.

Stories of people in powerful positions abusing their power (and getting charged and convicted for it) appear to be more common. What on earth is wrong with people? Driven by greed…??

Transparency International still gives Finland a high score, however, with Finland’s government getting high marks for integrity – third in its 2016 assessment.

* Why on earth are we reading so much about moldy schools in Finland? Is the construction of facilities that house and teach our children not worthy of sound investment – so that shit like this doesn’t happen again, again and again? (Excuse my language, I find the whole issue infuriating.) How much money is spent on repairing these structures? Why not do it right in the first place? Take your choice of media and search for it, it seems like a weekly thing in the local papers here. Moldy structures are unacceptable. Period.

* If you jaywalk, you might get hollered at by an elder. Observed last week in Tapiola (Espoo)…

* Now and then I observe elderly people rooting through public garbage cans looking for bottles and cans (which have a refundable deposit). It seems sad that for many of them every cent counts.

* I still marvel at this time of the year when I head to work early: the number of people who do not use lights (front and back) when they are cycling and the number of pedestrians and bus riders who do NOT use reflectors. Someone on a public discussion board called the use of reflectors in Finland “over the top,” which I think is complete bollocks. Using a reflector when you’re moving around as a pedestrian is wise. Be seen!

* I know the new club house at Tapiola Golf is really nice, but why does it have to be lit up like a Christmas tree at night when there is no one there? Seriously, what a waste of electricity!

* Do you still withdraw cash from cash machines? Some banks are mulling whether consumers should be charged for withdrawals, while others have already started charging customers for cash withdrawals. Danske bank already started back in 2015.  Starting in November Nordea bank customers will be able to make four free withdrawals per month from cash machines (ATMs) and then be charged 40 cents from every ATM withdrawal after that. Nordea customers are not happy by the sounds of it.

While there are predictions that Finland will be a cashless society by 2029, it seems that we still need physical cash in our hands in the interim.