POWER! Who has it? Who uses it?

15.2.2016 we were invited to Helsinki City Hall (Helsingin kaupungintalo). Our lecturer was professor Laura Kolbe. Professor Kolbe is an expert in Finnish and Nordic history. She is a very good speaker.

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Professor Kolbe told us many details of Helsinki and the history of Helsinki, Finland and other Nordic Countries. And also about the power in Helsinki and in Finland. In the history the ultimate power figure was the Swedish king or the Russian tsar – nowadays the power is shared between trade unions, banks, big corporations, government, insurance companies… and even the Head of the State, the President has some of the power.

We continued with an other guide from Senate square to Finnish Bank (Suomen Pankki) and the House of the Estates. We heard about the holes in the stand of the Snellman’s statue and about the history of Finnish banking.

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The House of the Estates

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We walked all the way to Hakaniemi where the offices of all the major trade unions are located.

We arrived at Helsinki Congress Paasitorni. The reason we were here was the fact that Paasitorni is owned by Helsinki Community Hall (connected with the labor movement of beginning of 1900’s).

I never realized how beautiful the granite building is until we got there. The CEO of the Congress Center was passionate and very knowledgeable about the history of the building and all the little things that took place in there during challenging times in Finnish history. Some of the little things turned out to be big things when the time was right. We were told some insider info about the first female President in Finland, Tarja Halonen. Nothing scandalous, but still interesting 😀

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Lounge of the Paasitorni
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Painting of the first female President in Finland, Tarja Halonen. The dress is a reconstruction of The Hostess of Eura. The dress was found in a grave of a very powerful lady dated back to the late Viking era. Alongside the dress and remains of the lady there were also valuable jewels pictured in this painting. Tarja halonen is also a red headed by choice 😀

All the granite used in the building was mined from the location where the Granite Castle was build. The granite was stored until they could use it in the outer wall.

We were told about the history of the paintings on the walls and about the decorations too.

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All around the aisles there were different tools pictured and they were the tools used in the building process. The CEO said he had not seen the same tool twice in the paintings, but somebody had told him there actually was a pair somewhere.

The CEO let us us also visit the actual tower of the Paasitorni. That’s not something you get to do every day.

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The Tower

 

Helsinki by night
Helsinki by night

Finally. we got more extra: visit to the Ball Room. Our time was up about 30 min ago and still the CEO was willing to show us the beautiful room.

The Ball Room
The Ball Room

This was really interesting day. 🙂

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