The public park party in the Töölönlahti Park and on the Kansalaistori Square mark the opening of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 8 July. The summer day’s programme is abundant and its main theme is sustainability. The opening event is also the kick-off for the Töölö Bay activity event, where the participants walk, jog or run together around the world in 180 days for the Baltic Sea.
Among the themes of the presidency, Finland has chosen to highlight climate change as an important part of the opening celebrations. Artist Kaisa Salmi’s artwork called Plastic Mama will be mounted on the Kansalaistori Square. Made of recycled plastic by the artist and thousands of volunteers, Plastic Mama is a baroque dress that will soar to a height of ten metres.
Finland’s and the EU organs’ EU playing field tent brings together the citizens and the decision-makers to discuss Finland’s Presidency and the European Union. Some more laid-back activities for visitors of all ages will also be on offer at the tent: play table football or get your face painted in biodegradable glitter colours.
The programme continues through the day. The day will hold a rock’n’roll workout with the Finnish band Waltari, brushing up dance moves at traditional partner dances, a sweat-inducing beach sauna or enjoyment at a park picnic.
The City of Helsinki arranges the opening ceremony of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in cooperation with the Prime Minister's Office, the Europe Information at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the EU Parliament’s and the European Commission’s representation in Finland as well as the Helsinki Cup.
Launch of the Töölö Bay activity event
The summer day is also the start of the six-month Töölö Bay activity campaign. The goal is to go around the Töölö Bay by walking, running or jogging and accrue kilometres worth a journey around the world to the joint odometer.
The Töölö Bay round is 2.2 kilometres and the earth's circumference is approximately 40,000 kilometres, or 18,182 times the circumference of the Töölö Bay. If the Töölö walkers, joggers and runners manage to accrue a sufficient amount of kilometres in six months, then Helsinki will make a €50,000 donation to the protection of the Baltic Sea. Thus, like the Government, the City of Helsinki does not hand out gifts to the meeting guests of Finland’s presidency and the aim is rather to direct Helsinki’s immaterial gift to the protection of the Baltic Sea from plastic waste.
Photo: Katri Lehtola/ Keksi Agency / Finland Promotion Board