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Rovaniemi: the (good) life at 30 degrees below zero

Frosty streets, eternal nights and a penetrating cold characterize winter in the Finnish Arctic Circle. Its capital, Rovaniemi, reaches 30 degrees below zero and its inhabitants suffer all the discomforts of living half a year under a blanket of snow. However, at the same time, nothing prevents life from flowing in Rovaniemi. Museums, galleries, bars, discos, restaurants and many other activities shelter from the cold winter and keep warm in this icy part of the world. This is life at 30 degrees below zero. This is how its inhabitants enjoy themselves.


The best museum on this side of the world explains in great detail how the people have been able to survive historically amid the blackness, cold and desolation of the Great North. Arktikum It is a beautiful building chaired by a glass of more than 150 meters that houses several rooms dedicated to explore the samis past but also to ask what climate change holds for them. Animations, touch screens, models or even a room to simulate northern lights explore a culture almost as inhospitable as unknown.

Arktikum or life in the Arctic © Arktikum


One of the most important groups in Finland is Rovaniemi. They are called Lordi (is the name of their leader), and since they managed to win against all odds the 2006 Eurovision Festival, their rise has been unstoppable. Six hard rock albums in the purest Nordic tradition and a monstrous staging have enshrined them as a national product. Like the sauna, Lordi is authentic made in Finland. All members of the group are Rovaniemi's favorite children and even have a place with his name. The Lordi's Square (Lordi Square) is the main meeting point in Rovaniemi and one of the places most visited by neighbors and tourists since it is the entrance to the Sampokeskus shopping center. Its charm is proportional to your degree of freak. It is mandatory to take a picture next to the plaque on which the Lordi's printed hands are.


If we say that the best of Rovaniemi is out we are not mistaken: fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, husky sledding safaris, skiing, northern lights, reindeer ride, camping in the open… everything is possible. The only condition is to be well equipped and oriented so as not to get lost in the dark. It is advisable to contact a specialized company to advise us on the activity to choose. In Rovaniemi the best is Safartica, specialists in nature activities well for specialists as for the whole family. There is something for everyone and surely you will freak out with anyone.

Finnish Lapland: Christmas in the Arctic Circle © Álex del Río. Text: Kathryn Maier, Sara Tucker, Marta Sahelices and Gema Monroy


A look at the galleries of the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Lapland give an idea of ​​the artistic level of the region. Visual arts, design of industrial products or art media They are some of the disciplines shown. Students create works of art for their thesis or other works that take the form of exhibitions, performance or artistic events. Is also Gallerian male (Shadow Gallery), the only private gallery in Rovaniemi and a reference point for artists of very different nature who seek to publicize works. A good place to put the artist in contact with the patron. His exhibitions change every three weeks.


This central restaurant (Ravintola in Finnish) is worth more for its careful decoration than for its food. El nili recreate a typical Sami construction almost perfectly, including even the lichen of the wood that surrounds its walls. It has more in common with the Poney Inn the Pisador of The Lord of the rings than with a restaurant in a city of 50,000 inhabitants. Rather rock tables and reindeer-covered chairs convey the warmth of a hunting shelter. There is also a lack of wooden utensils and all kinds of cutlery manufactured. Ideal for trying smoked salmon with Arctic alders and the traditional reindeer meat with cranberry jam.

One of Ravintola's dishes © Ravintola Nili


Kauppayhtiö It is the trendy place for young people like Ed Chigliak, the young Indian Doctor in Alaska. It is the meeting place for many of the students of the University of Lapland, which is based in Rovaniemi. A warm and welcoming place to chat, study, read, listen to music or buy. Its peculiarity is that Everything inside is for sale. Decorated with a hodgepodge of 80's objects, also houses inside handmade clothes and vintage products. It has free wifi and some scary salads for eight euros. At night the tables fold, and dance.


Do not wait a year. If Santa Claus did not go to your house this year and you are in Rovaniemi, go ask for explanations. He lives eight kilometers away, in the Santas Claus Village right on the Polar Circle line, and is there all year. Reindeers, lights, firs ... 365 days of Christmas a year. Ah and there are also goblins that are there at your service.

Santas Claus Village: Santa Claus all year round © Santas Claus Village


This building is the only thing left of the original Rovaniemi after the Nazis destroyed the city (and much of the Finnish Arctic Circle). Located in an old bus station restored by Juhani Pallasmaa, today it is a museum that transports the vanguard to this side of the arctic border. Opened in 2011, the Korundi House of Culture belonging to the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. The central axis of its exhibitions is the North.

Works exhibited at Korundi House of Culture © Korundi House of Culture


Despite the intense cold, at night it is quite easy to find a place in which to have a drink and watch live music. The best for the quality of its performances and its wide capacity is Café Tivoli, an old theater-disco in which, before the current youth of Rovaniemi, their parents already danced. The Tivoli regularly programs concerts and is the only hall in the city where Lordi has performed. From Wednesday to Saturday it opens until 4 in the morning.

Much smaller but very cozy and central is Paha Kurki, a rock music venue decorated with electric guitars and other musical fetishes. Variety of drinks, free Wi-Fi, board games, darts and great music to spend a pleasant evening while the cold rages. Another option is the Grande, a typical bar-brewery to listen to metal. With a smoking room and a faint atmosphere, it also occasionally hosts live performances by beginning groups. To dance, the best option is Doris Night, located in the central Sokos Hotel Vaakuna and with several VIP lounges.

One night at the Tivoli Café © Café Tivoli

Video: Exercise #TridentJuncture 18 Live Demonstration to Distinguished Visitors, 30 OCT 2018 (March 2020).

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