“Finns are ranked as some of the most literate people in the world, as well as some of the most prolific users of libraries. On average, every resident of Finland borrows 16 items from a library each year.” – from Finland.fi.

When I was seven or eight years old I guess, my mom regularly took me to the public library behind the big shopping center on what was yet to become Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis.

I think it has been all those years since I had the general light euphoria and sense of well-being that came with being in such a lovely, peaceful, well-meaning place as Oodi, the new main Helsinki public library last week.

Opened to acclaim last December, on Independence Day eve, Oodi (“ode” in Finnish) is a library, but it’s more than that, it’s a gathering place, a community center, and a dramatic demonstration of one of the ways Finns feel it is appropriate to spend €98 million of public money.

Besides books for borrowing, there are conference rooms, studios for recording and editing audio and video projects, a theatre and various workshops with sophisticated equipment for, for example, laser cutting. There are 3-D printers and extra-wide photo printers and there is plenty of space to spend the day working on your project, or just lounging about.

Again from Finland.fi:

“The biggest technical innovation by far is the ‘Cube,’ a room with smart walls,” says Vänttinen. “A person can use huge touch screens to transform the room into almost anything through 3D virtual reality. Artists are already planning to use the Cube for digital immersive art exhibitions, and medical students would like to study surgery there, using it as a virtual operating room.”

Let’s have a look.

It’s in a central downtown location, just off Mannerheimintie, main street. It’s beside Musiikkitalo, the Helsinki Music Center, home to the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, close to Finlandia Hall and across the street from parliament.

Spacious and well attended.

This is a 3-D printer. There’s a suite of these for hire.

Sewing machines, all in use.

These folks are inspecting the industrial-sized printers available to print your advertising banner, or whatever you might need that’s over a meter wide.

The kids behind glass in these adjacent suites are playing virtual video games.

Three floors, seating throughout.

The top floor, with books in Finnish and other languages. Borrow games, comics, graphic novels, cds, movies, training courses for any number of languages and disciplines.

For a sense of the pride of place with which people hold Oodi, this row of chairs faces an outdoor terrace for events, and beyond it, that’s the parliament building across the street.

See collected photos from this slow trip around the world here.

Quotes: Rocket-Propelled Dutch Politician

36-year-old Thierry Baudet is the latest shiny new thing in Dutch poliics.

His Forum for Democracy party, started only in 2016, scored an unpredicted, and some would say, troubling success in Dutch elections last weekend and will have the most seats in the upper house of parliament.

“I am ideologically against the EU, against the internal market, against the open borders, against the euro, against the whole thing,” Baudet says.

“Bert Wagendorp, a columnist for De Volkskrant newspaper, placed Baudet firmly in a political tradition started by Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated 17 years ago.

“Baudet is the third stage of the Dutch populist rocket launched by Pim Fortuyn in 2002, further boosted by Geert Wilders and now being sent to the moon by Baudet,” he wrote.”

From The naked populist: Thierry Baudet stuns the Netherlands.

(2018 photo by DWDD via Wikimedia Commons.)

Saunas on wheels1 / Saunas sobre ruedas1 / Saunas sur roues1 / Saunas com rodas1

Saunas on wheels in Finland, via Sartenada’s blog.

Travels in Finland and abroad

In English:

Holy smoke – Gathering of mobile Saunas. Part1.

Can You imagine that there exist Saunas on wheels? Can You imagine that they meet every summer? I guess that nobody. Since 2005 in Teuva there has been organized mobile Sauna gathering. In 2016 they were cancelled. When You see my photos, You might say in Your mind that ‘they are crazy those Finns’. Imagination has been free when planning and building mobile Saunas. Delightful is that the idea had spread abroad, which was touchable, because there were also Saunas, from Poland, Italy and Germany. My post is in two parts.

Many Saunas were warmed up, because smoke was coming from chimneys and afternoon there were possibility to have a Sauna in them.

Teuva – where? Nearby the western coast in south Ostrobothnia. Distance from Helsinki is 381 km / 267 mi and from Oulu 404 km / 251 mi…

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