Tag Archives: Helsinki

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters (To The Government) pt.2

Last Friday was the first of many demonstration against Finnish government and it’s many policies that have brought nothing but social and economical devastation. Demonstration brought together over 700 people. Don’t laugh. Finland is a small country population wise and because of its geographical size and long distances, basically only people in Helsinki and its surrounding areas have an ‘access’ to the right to demonstrate. Wouldn’t be a problem but Finland is very centralized country a la DDR and communist Russia and all the decision making and economic power is in Helsinki. I did some calculations and if China had had the same demonstration, there would have been over 178 000 demonstrating.

Puts the whole event in perspective, doesn’t it? Next demonstration will be on 23rd of May. I’m hopeful that there will be at least twice as many people. Here’s another article in English about the demonstration.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. More interpretations of the theme ‘Letter‘ can be found HERE.

To The Foreigners Living in Finland

mielenosoitus, demonstration, Helsinki, Finland, government,

Image via city.fi

“Today, on April 25th, there is a demonstration against the government in Helsinki, Finland. We want a transparent government and end to the corrution. We demand that the budget cuts that only affect those who already have nothing, will be cancelled. We want binding general referendums on citizen petitions that get more than 50 000 signatures. WE WANT FINLAND TO ADOPT ICELAND-MODEL!”

You may think this demonstration has nothing to do with you. But depending on your socio-economic status, your arrival here HAS HAD an effect on many things. Prices, employment, environment and justice system. You may think Finland is rich and that is true. Finland is, its people aren’t. I’m not saying that foreigners can’t move to Finland, I say more the merrier. BUT when you come here, you can’t just pick the icing from the cake, you have to take the bad too. Even if none of the bad things directly affect you, you have to show solidarity and understanding to the Finnish people who are not doing so well. There must be a reason why you left your own country and you were lucky, you were able to leave and find better life for yourself here. This is not a joke anymore, too many people in Finland CAN’T leave because they don’t have any money anymore. Just enough to survive from day to day and paycheck to paycheck.

Things are tough for many people in their own countries. I know from a personal experience that as a foreigner, you get excused many things because “poor thing didn’t know” and if I left Finland again to another country, let’s say France, I would beat many applicants even with my shitty French, just because I’m Finnish and WHITE. I also know that I’d be used as a weapon against native un-employed people. “See, she left her own country and could get a job, you are just lazy!!” How in this scenario I have deserved the job and the French person hasn’t? This happens in every country but now you live in Finland and you have to acknowledge your privilege in it here.

If you don’t believe that Finland is corrupt, please at least check the list of Finland’s human rights violations. Finland gets more conviction at the European Court of Human Rights than the other Nordic countries combined.

The demonstration leaves from the Säätytalo at 17.00 and it progresses to the Eduskuntatalo. Please, be there. Show your support and respect for Finnish people. More information HERE and HERE.

-Thrifty Finn-

Brunch at Yobot

Couple of weeks ago, I went to a street food fair in Helsinki, called Streat Helsinki. Clever, huh? I’m going to write about that in another post but while I was there, queueing for some meze, I got talking with a lady who turned out to be an owner of a frozen yogurt place in Helsinki. She made such a good sales pitch that I decided to go there the very next day!

As per usual…That day I had some hard time getting out of bed and I arrived there just as their kitchen was about to close for brunch. Luckily, they still allowed me to order as I was starving (I hadn’t eaten anything for over 12 hours in anticipation). They offer two kinds of brunches, a sweet waffle buffet or a bagel brunch. I ordered the bagel but as soon as I sat down and saw everyone else’s delicious waffles, I regretted my choice. Instaregret! The next cool app at the market! Hah.

yobot, helsinki, töölö, restaurant, frozen yogurt

While I settled to wait for the food, I got a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of coffee and had some time to enjoy my surroundings. The place is very small. 3 small tables and one larger one in the middle but I didn’t get a claustrophobic feel about it. Later I found out that the smaller tables are there just for the brunch. Anyhoo, I didn’t have to wait long before I got this in front of me:

Salmon! Cream cheese! Melon! Greens! Natural yogurt! Muesli! I didn’t eat this, I inhaled everything. It was good! The delusional health conscious me decided to have ‘just’ the yogurt as dessert but it took total of five minutes to decide that I needed some of that frozen yogurt too…

yobot, frozen yogurt

Looks disgusting, doesn’t it? Just some Dominoes (cookie similar to Oreos), sprinkles and crushed nuts on the deliciousness that is frozen yogurt. Seriously, I could eat this by bucketfuls. TIP: Yobot is not too far (in fact just few minutes walk) from Töölön sairaala, Töölö hospital. If you have a friend there as a patient, a takeaway from Yobot would be a perfect present for the poor thing. I know I would have LOVED it while I was staying there for my op. Not that hospital food isn’t full of nutrients but somehow it just doesn’t hit the right spots…

yobot, frozen yogurt

The topping table and the price list. The way it works is that you get some fro-yo (see, I totally know the biz lingo) from the machine on the right and then you pile on the toppings. You pay according the weight. I know that foreigners balk at the price but Finnish taxation is insane and that’s actually pretty reasonable. But you don’t go there everyday so it’s okay to treat oneself every now and then, right?

Final verdict: I loves the place. When I was done eating and enjoying myself, I had a final chat with the owner (actually mother of the owners). The business was started by her American husband few years ago but who sadly passed away some time ago, leaving the business to the kids. When I got there, I thought that this doesn’t look like it was designed by a Finnish person and I was right. There’s something very upbeat about the place and the branding. I asked Jaana about the business side and how is it to run small business in Finland and she said that sometimes it can be very paperwork heavy and some things came as a surprise for them, such as having to apply for special permit to put some chairs outside during summer! We also managed to share some laughs about the culture shock you get when you return as a Finn back to Finland. Apparently we both were shocked that people are so white in here. And we all look the same!

Yobot has a Facebook and Twitter and they are located in Töölö, Runeberginkatu 54 A, 00260 Helsinki.

Thrifty Finn- The foodie

Pinteresting: Finland Edition!


Today, Finland celebrates its 96th year of being independent. Of course many think (me included) that with EU and the threat of Nato and TTIP looming over us, there’s not much independence left. However, today I’m focusing on the good stuff with some help from Pinterest!

Finlande, french, old travel ad, pays de la romance, ranskankielinen vanha matkamainos

Old travel ad via Flickr

I’m a sucker for vintage travel ads. This one captures very well how Finns like to see their country. However, this is the first time I’ve head the word ‘romantic’ in connection to Finland. Oh, well, there’s a first for everything :D

Suomenlinna, sunset, sunrise, Helsinki, fortress, scenery

Suomenlinna- fortress island in Helsinki. Photo via seesbyanni.blogspot.fi

You cannot talk about Finland without mentioning its capital Helsinki. My favourite place in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna-island which is just perfect place for picnics.

aurora borealis, hello lapland, Lapland, Finland, Northern lights

Aurora Borealis on November 30th 2013. Image by Hello Lapland

From summer to winter…This year the northern lights appeared much earlier than they normally do. Already at the end of August the lights were strong and I’ve seen some pretty amazing photos of them from that time. If you, BTW, are interested in said amazing pictures, you should follow Hello Lapland on Twitter and Facebook.

Saana, fell, Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, Finland

Saana-fell in Lapland. Image by Hello Lapland

My love for Lapland is no secret but did you know I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones? Then I probably don’t have to explain this image any further.

rintamamiestalo, punainen, red wooden house, Finland, suomi

Red house. Image by Cubilla Milan.

I chose this picture because it’s quite similar to my grandparent’s house in Lapland and my NEW place here in Espoo. Yes, I finally moved, and now I rent an upstairs of a house. I have almost 15 square meters more space and TWO separate rooms. Which means that I actually have a living space AND a craft space. I also can finally build a big craft table from that 2×4 Expedit WITH wheels so I don’t know what is getting me more excited, the apartment or the idea of the table.

There’s another reason why I chose this picture. After the war against Russians ended and Finland’s independence was saved, returning vets, their families and refugees from Karelia needed places to live. A new type of single family house was developed which was quick to build and also, for the first time, was designed around a single family unit. My grandparent’s house has exceptionally large rooms (as they had 8 kids) but the layout is of that ‘rintamamiestalo’, a vet house.

rintamiestalo, vet house, Finland, war, veterans, Karelia

Rintamamiestalo. Image via Wikipedia

If you are interested in more Finland pictures, HERE‘s the direct link to Pinterest search. And without any further babbling…









Goo-Goo For Guggenheim

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, guggenheim

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, via Guggenheim.org

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love museums. Loved them as a kid, love them now. My highlight in life was my first ever visit to Louvre. I spent there hours! Now, you would think that if an international museum expresses interest to bring a branch of theirs to my neck of woods, I’d be delighted. But I’m not. Because the said museum Guggenheim.

They tried it last year already and managed to get 2 million euros from City of Helsinki. How? They got Helsinki to order an “independent” study of how beneficial the museum would be for Helsinki. The study was done by Guggenheim’s consulting company.

Yes. I know.

Guggenheim, Helsinki

Luckily, Helsinki city council voted against it by a narrow margin of one and we all thought that the project was buried for good. But alas on 24th of September this year, Guggenheim revealed a revised proposal and the fighting in the social media is on. Basically the argument for is that it would bring money and argument against it, is that we don’t have the money to build it.

For me there are many issues. First of all, Guggenheim is mainly known as the McDonald’s of the art world. It’s not going to save Finland’s art&design-scene, it would eat up the minuscule budget there is. Projected visitor count is half a million a year. Guggenheim Berlin was open 12 years and only pulled in little over 1 million visitors that time.

Then there’s the financial issue. In every financing option, the money comes from taxpayers. Guggenheim itself wouldn’t put single penny in it but in fact would get franchising + other fees every year, regardless how much money it actually would bring to Finland. All projected profits for Helsinki and Finland would be coming from tourists staying in hotels, shopping and eating out. And that’s only if those 500.000 visitors would be NEW visitors.

guggenheim, helsinki, twitter This time Guggenheim is taking things seriously. They probably got caught by surprise when they got rejected the first time, thinking that getting money out of Finland would be easy. Since the last proposal got a lot of criticism because it looked like they were working in secrecy, Guggenheim doesn’t leave anything to chances but have a website, Twitter-feed, Instagram-profile and so on. Their social media content is managed by Finnish communication agency Miltton. Tomorrow, they have a Q&A-event at the Artek-store in Helsinki and I might have to drop in to see what it’s all about ;)

Thrifty Finn- Pro Art, Pro Business but Dead Set Against Stupidity