Finlandia Hall and the City of Helsinki have different views on the future of Little Finlandia.
Little Finlandia (Pikku-Finlandia), originally built as a temporary space during the renovation of Finlandia Hall, has become a real attraction at the Töölö Bay, according to Finlandia Hall manager Johanna Tolonen—and the event organizers who regularly fill the architecturally inspiring interior and the visitors who fill the terrace in the summer seem to agree.
But representatives of Finlandia Hall and the City of Helsinki disagree on how the future of Little Finlandia should look like.
Helsinki wants to use the building as a temporary home for daycare centers and schools. Anni Sinnemäki (Greens), the deputy mayor for the urban environment, however, said to the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat that, while the park needs a year-round meeting place or cafe that is open to everyone, “this place is not necessarily Little Finland.”
Tolonen hopes that the building will remain in its current location for the rest of the decade. Finlandia Hall has made this proposal to the City of Helsinki, but the matter has made little progress on the table of the city’s decision-makers.
For now, Little Finlandia is allowed to stay at the Töölö Bay until the end of 2025. Finlandia Hall is currently undergoing renovations, which will be completed between 2024 and 2025.
Tolonen has suggested that the modular wooden building could be dismantled if necessary, leaving the cafe section at the Töölö Bay.
“There’s no other year-round cafe at the bay, and I’m afraid there won’t be one either, because it’s so difficult to get a permit,” Tolonen said.
But demolition, according to Sinnemäki, is not a likely option.
“Schools and daycare centers also need a kitchen,” she said.