Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall is an architectural masterpiece designed by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Its exterior complements the local landscape and nearby park, while the inside features asymmetrical and curvy structural details, along with natural materials and colors. The multipurpose venue hosts concerts, meetings, other events, and a gallery.The Basics
Aalto’s plan for Helsinki included a grand square and avenue flanked by cultural buildings, including the Parliament House, which was first thought of by Eliel Saarinen in 1917 when Finland became independent of Russia. In 1961 Aalto, who is sometimes called the Father of Modernism across Scandinavia, drew up plans for a grand center in Helsinki, and he continued to modify them in 1964 and 1971. Finlandia Hall was built between 1967 and 1972, with the Congress Wing following in 1975. The building shows many of Aalto’s signature touches, such as few right angles, design around existing trees, and the use of Italian marble and Finnish granite.
The building is open to the public only via guided tour and during events. Consider the art and backstage tour, on which you can learn more about the hall’s works of art. Walking tours of Helsinki typically pass by the venue but don’t always offer inside access.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Finlandia Hall is a must-see for architecture enthusiasts and first-time visitors to Helsinki.
- The city plans to renovate Finlandia Hall starting in 2021, but the venue should operate normally during this time.
- The hall’s Café Veranda is open on weekdays and two hours before concerts begin.
- The art gallery is free and open to the public.
- All of Finlandia Hall’s floors are accessible to wheelchair users. Loaner wheelchairs are available at the service desk.
Finlandia Hall is located on Töölönlahti Bay, close to the Parliament House, Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and Helsinki Music Center. Main bus and railway stations are within walking distance. Grab tram 4, 7, or 10 and get off at the stop for the National Museum. There’s also a taxi stand outside the hall.
When to Get There
There is no permanent schedule for guided tours, so check the Finlandia Hall website for current information on dates and times. Performances and shows, featuring everyone from drag queens to symphony orchestras, are held throughout the year; the event schedule is online as well.Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral
Another popular architectural attraction, the neoclassical-style Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral, which was designed by German architect Carl Ludwig Engel, features zinc rooftop statues of the Twelve Apostles, green domes, and a stark white exterior. It’s about a 10-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from Finlandia Hall, and is accessible by public transportation.