1999 Convention Helsinki



Contents

Welcoming Messages

1999 Convention

Programme

General Information
  Finland
  Helsinki
  Travel Info

Convention Excursions

Post Convention Tours

Important Dates

Registration Information

Registration Form



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General

Information
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Finland
Finland is a modern Western country located in the north of Europe with a total land area of 338 000 sq. kilometres. It is a land of forests and lakes with clean cities, prosperous countryside and lots of open space and nature.

Between Sweden and Russia you will find this modern country of high living standards, advanced technology and stable democracy. Finland is the link between East and West with cultural influences from both areas and is a member of the European Union.

The area was first settled by the Finns some 2500 years ago. After the Crusades in the 12th century Finland became a part of Sweden. During the period from 1809 to 1917 it was a self-governing Grand Duchy under Russian rule, proclaiming independence in 1917.

   Population

The population is over 5 million. There are two official languages in Finland : Finnish is spoken by 93 % of the population and Swedish is the mother tongue for 6 % of the population. Finland is a very accessible country for foreign visitors since fluency in English is quite high.

   Nature

The closeness of nature greatly influences the Finnish way of living. You will be surprised to find natural designs in an urban setting. One can only admire the magnificent nature and its impact on culture, arts, designs, culinary and sports.

   Time

The time in Finland is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time (GMT). The time difference between Eastern US Standard time and Finnish Standard time is 7 hours.

   Weather and Finnish summer

The charm of the summer season is a unique characteristic of Finland. After the harsh Arctic winter the relatively short summer is beloved and long awaited. Nature adorns the landscape, from June to September all is bright and verdant, the trees are green, the meadows are in full bloom and the lakes and sea gleam in deep blue. The mean temperature in July is +20 C (69 F) and there are more than 15 hours of daylight in Southern Finland.
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    Helsinki
Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a lively city with half a million inhabitants and more than one million people live in the metropolitan area. Helsinki was founded in 1550 and it has been the capital since 1812.

The city has a beautiful location right at the Gulf of Finland which creates a lovely seaside atmosphere throughout the downtown area. The sea and the string of islands in front of it are dominant features of the landscape.

Helsinki is a human-sized city and very safe for visitors.The facilities are superb, services excellent and it is very easy to get around.All major shops are located in downtown area within easy access. Finnish design products such as glassware, textiles, jewellery and woodenware make excellent souvenirs. The shops are open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Major departrnent stores have longer opening hours until 9 p.m.

In Helsinki there is naturally a wide selection of restaurants for your culinary delight.The menus reflect the season and during the summer you can enjoy fresh berries and fish.

It is no surprise that Helsinki has been selected as one of the European Capitals of Culture for the year 2000 !
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    Travelling Information
   Travelling information and airport transfer   

Major international airlines fly direct to Helsinki International Airport from most major capitals and cities in Europe, USA and Japan.

Helsinki is also easily accessibie by boat from Sweden, Germany or Estonia and by train from Russia.

Downtown Helsinki can be convenientiy reached from Helsinki International Airport by bus or taxi. Finnair buses depart at 20-minute intervals.

   Visa and passport

Finland is a member of the European Union and visas are not required for citizens of EU-countries. A valid passport is required. Citizens from other countries are kindly advised to contact the nearest Finnish embassy for further information.

   Convention air carrier

The official carrier of the Convention will be Finnair. Finnair has special summer rates. For more information, please contact your nearest Finnair office or your travel agent.

   Travel insurance

Travel insurance is recommended.This should cover trip cancellations, flight insurance, loss of luggage etc. for the length of your trip. For more information, please contact your travel agent or insurance company.

   Electric Current

Standard electric current in Finland is 220V (50 Hz). In case your equipment requires different voltage, an electrical converter is needed.

   Currency

The currency of Finland is the markka ( FIM) which divides into 100 pennies. Most Finnish services accept major credit cards. Travellers' cheques are accepted at banks, travel agencies, hotels and many shops. Banking hours are Monday-Friday 9.15 a.m.-4.15 p.m.

Tipping is not expected in Finland.

   Public transportation in Helsinki

The public transportation system of Helsinki includes bus, tram and metro services. A single ticket is valid for one hour inside the Helsinki city border.

Taxis are readily available, have meters indicating the fare and tips are unnecessary.
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