I got a wonderful opportunity to visit Haltia, the new Finnish Nature Centre, a few days before the grand opening. The kind people in Haltia invited a few bloggers to see how the place looks like yesterday 28 May. They are planning to open the place on Friday 31 May.
The Centre is situated in Nuuksio, one of our national parks, right here in Espoo. This is how they describe the Centre themselves:
Haltia is a new type of visitor centre, bringing all of Finland’s nature under one roof and closer to the visitor through both the building’s facilities and its stunning exhibitions. Nature from all over Finland can be experienced in the Helsinki region!
The story of Haltia is loosely based on the Finnish national epic, Kalevala. The story is worth checking out. All the names, the architecture and design revolve around a bird laying its eggs. The maiden of the air is also involved. It’s pretty intriguing, if you’re interested in traditions and culture!
I know every exhibition is constructed until the very last minute, and that’s how it looked like in Haltia, too.
But honestly speaking, the place is very impressive in many ways. In this post I’ll focus on what they have to offer, and in a later post I’ll tell a bit more about the architecture and ecological technology they’re using.
In addition to admiring gorgeous architecture and skillful wooden constructions, you can experience the five seasons of Finland. Five? We’re often told that Finland has four seasons, but actually, you could divide the winter into two: autumn winter and spring winter, and that’s what Haltia has done. If you visit Haltia, you’ll understand first-hand what I mean with my daylight countdowns!
Haltia presents all the 37 natural parks of Finland. While you learn, experience and wonder about the beauty of our nature, the seasons change around you in this main exhibition hall.
They are planning to tingle all your senses. The eighteen-metre-long animated landscape will help you step right into nature. You’ll hear, see, sense and smell the nature. You can follow the development of a raindrop, walk on an interactive map of Finland, check out the Green Belt Area of metropolitan Helsinki, visit nature at night in the Nocturnal Hike room, check out the sleeping bear in its den and visit many other animal dens.
I think Haltia might resemble the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo as for the exhibition techniques. Worth a visit. Tickets only 7 eur for adults, under 7-year olds for free, and discounts for e.g. teenagers, students and senior citizens.
The building stands on a tall hill with a magnificent lake view. Tall pines and lake Pitkäjärvi (link in FIN) take your breath away on the large wooden terrace, and great outdoor activities all around will eat whatever energy you still have left in you. If you don’t have the right gear, they’ll rent it for you, be it rubber boots or a kayak. Haltia is accessible, and there’s even a nature trail Maahisenkierros, which can be experienced on a wheelchair.
Have I mentioned that pine trees are my favourite kind of forest? There are plenty of pines around Haltia.
And, at least for the upcoming summer, you can take the 40-minute bus ride to Haltia directly from downtown Helsinki. They’ve really made it easy this time. How often you get to visit a national park by a local bus?
[edit 30 May: fixed some typos and added links]
♥ In the meantime: Today was an interesting day for Finnish design, as a major case of plagiarism came out related to Marimekko.
♦ Song of the day: Isac Elliot, New Way Home (really, this kid is like 12 years old, from my hometown Espoo, and pretty popular it seems). When I was 12, I was listening to Michael Jackson from a tape. Nowadays the 12-year-olds are turning themselves into successful pop stars on the internet.