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Finland/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

According to recent statistics, there are more than 2 000 traditional (mainly rural) "club-houses" and more than 93 major cultural houses and centres. The former were originally local arenas for political, educational and cultural mass organisations and they are still meeting places for village and communal activities. Some of the latter were constructed for the use of national cultural, political or educational associations, but at present most of them are owned by cities and offer premises for citizen's various artistic and cultural activities. The 1980s was a period of intensive construction of cultural centres around the country, such as the Tampere Hall - congress and concert centre (1987), which is the biggest in the Nordic countries. The latest big cultural centre is the Sibelius Hall (2000) in Lahti, with the Main Hall having 1229 seats.

The congress and concert centres created a national network of congress and concert centres which operated more or less on an informal basis. In 2010 this network was formalised as an association called Cultural Centres Finland to further enhance co-operation and joint productions. They provide important venues for publicly subsidised companies, especially symphony orchestras at a reduced price.

Much of the more modern "club-type" activities are carried out and financed within the publicly supported system of adult education; but there is also an emerging new "third sector" which operates in small networks of voluntary organisations and small business firms in the different fields of new media, media arts and new ICT / Internet applications. The restaurant and entertainment sectors maintain, increasingly, club-type organisations for their core customers.

In three main cities (Helsinki, Tampere and Turku), there are cultural centres which function as carrefours for immigrants and minority groups. At the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Culture, a network of children's cultural centres was established in 2003. The network has 11 centres (2011), most of them in the main cities; they are financed jointly by the state and municipalities.

The biggest cities have cultural houses spread around the city. The City of Helsinki has four multipurpose cultural houses, and in addition one house for immigrants' cultural activities (Caisa) and one for cultural activities of children (Anna). The four multipurpose cultural houses in Helsinki are also members of the European network of Cultural Centres-ENCC.

There is also a recent trend of turning old factories and spaces into cultural venues and cultural centres. The oldest is the Cable Factory in Helsinki (1990), and it has been followed by such venues as Verkatehdas in Hämeenlinna (2008), Korjaamo in Helsinki and the newly opened Logomo in Turku (2011). The Cable Factory, Verkatehdas and Korjaamo are also members of the European network TEH- TransEurope Halles and are active in international co-operation.

Chapter published: 25-04-2017

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