Finland 100 centenary year has begun!
The centenary year of Finland’s independence has begun. In the Finnish capital Helsinki, the year started with an unprecedented urban New Year’s festival in the centre of the city. Initial estimates put the number of participants at the Finland 100 grand opening festivities around 130,000. At midnight at the Kansalaistori Square and Töölönlahti Bay, there were around 100,000 people present. According to the information available at the moment, the event has been going calmly.
“Staging the event called for major efforts involving over one thousand people and over 300 performers – my heartfelt thanks to all of them! The general mood in the grand opening reflected the profound enthusiasm with which us Finns have embraced our centennial year. We’ve now launched this fabulous year on the chosen theme of Together and I’m convinced that a lot of other memorable events lie ahead,” says Ossi Luoto, the chief producer of the Finland 100 Grand Opening.
The opening event was organised jointly by the Finland 100 secretariat, the city of Helsinki, the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle and a wide range of other partners in the Töölönlahti Bay area. Aside from Helsinki, centennial celebrations were held in several other localities in Finland and abroad on New Year’s Eve.
“It was a great honour for Helsinki to host the grand opening of the centenary year in collaboration with the Finland 100. I wish to thank all those involved in creating a fantastic festive mood and staging the party of the century. The opening will be followed by a wide range of programme-packed events which will culminate in the Independence Day celebration in Helsinki on the 6th of December. From the tourism point of view, it’s great to see that the centenary year has also been recognised internationally,” says Mayor of Helsinki, Jussi Pajunen.
The round-the-clock event offered a diverse programme for all the family, great experiences and a lively festival atmosphere. The centenary year was declared opened by the Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and the evening was crowned with midnight fireworks launched from Töölölahti Bay. Because of the street party of a lifetime, Mannerheimintie street was closed to traffic between Kiasma and the National Opera for the evening from 8:00 pm to 02:00 am.
”According to the information available at the moment, the event has been going outstandingly well, when comparing to the number of participants, and for the time being we haven’t had any larger problems. People obeyed the ban on fireworks and came to enjoy the great Finland 100 fireworks show. We’ll hope that the journey back home goes as smoothly as the overall event,” says chief inspector Jussi-Pekka Lämsä.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company provided live coverage of the celebrations to Finland and abroad on TV1 and Yle Areena attracting a peak audience all over the world, especially in Europe and North America.