Helsinki’s Mayor reveals plans to make the world’s happiest people even happier

By Linnéa Pesonen

Photo: Getty

Celebrating Finland’s appointment as the happiest country in the world for seven years straight, Helsinki’s Mayor reveals some of the city’s upcoming additions and events that are bound to make the residents and visitors of the Finnish capital even happier

For seven years in a row now, Finland has been chosen as the happiest country in the world, as per the World Happiness Report. No shade to the rest of the Nordic countries, as Denmark nabbed second place, followed by Iceland and Sweden, respectively, while Norway came in seventh.


At this point, many must be wondering about the secret behind these consecutive wins – what makes Finns so happy? One answer could lie in Helsinki, which, despite its relatively small size, has blossomed into a buzzy hub for culture, art, fashion, food and nature in recent years.

And there’s more to come. To celebrate the occasion, Helsinki’s Mayor, Juhana Vartiainen, has shared three exciting announcements about what’s on the horizon.


New Museum of Architecture and Design

Alvar and Aino Aalto, Vuokko and Antti Nurmesniemi, Maija Isola, Eero Saarinen… these are just a few of the world-famous Finnish design and architecture greats who have left a lasting impact on Finland’s design heritage. While Helsinki already boasts a Design Museum and a Museum of Finnish Architecture, the legacy of these creatives will now be showcased on an even bigger stage, as the city has announced plans and funding for a brand-new Museum of Architecture and Design, which will merge the two existing sites.

One of Aalto's most popular designs, the Stool 60, featured in Vogue Scandinavia's August-September 2022 issue. Photo: Johanna Laitanen

Aalto vase, from Vogue Scandinavia's August-September 2022 issue. Photo: Johanna Laitanen

“The people of Helsinki trust the city to organise functional services and...access to experiences such as culture and nature,” says Vartiainen. “The new Museum of Architecture and Design planned for Helsinki is just one concrete example of how we are investing in the future of our city and the wellbeing of our residents.”

In April, Helsinki will launch an international design competition with a covetable top prize: designing the upcoming museum, set to open by 2030. The two-part competition seeks an “architecturally unique approach, aiming to provide the framework for world-class museum operations and create vibrant urban spaces in Helsinki’s rejuvenating South Harbour area.” Start drafting your ideas, as the competition program will be unveiled on April 11.


The Michelin Guide’s Nordic ceremony

In exciting culinary news, Helsinki has been selected as the venue for the upcoming Nordic Michelin Guide ceremony. Taking place on 27th May at the Savoy Theatre and the Helsinki City Hall, the event attracts the top names in the industry to the Finnish capital, where the latest Nordic restaurants to receive Michelin stars will be unveiled. This marks the second consecutive time that Helsinki has had the honour of hosting the prestigious ceremony. Expect a vibrant celebration showcasing outstanding chefs and eateries and the distinctive food scene that Helsinki and the rest of the country have to offer.

Michelin-starred Helsinki restaurant Nolla. Photo: Nikola Tomevski

Photo: Nikola Tomevski

“We are thrilled the Michelin Guide has chosen to organise one of the world’s most famous restaurant events in our city this year,” says Vartiainen. “It is an esteemed acknowledgement of Helsinki’s versatile food culture, which includes everything from high-quality fine dining and food industry innovations to berries and seafood from our local natural environment. We hope that as many residents of the city as possible will also have the opportunity to enjoy the event’s atmosphere and flavours.”


More hot newcomers

While the luxurious new Hotel Maria has already opened its doors, more additions are arriving in the coming months that are sure to spice up Helsinki’s hotel scene.

After months of construction and renovation, Stockholm’s popular Hobo Hotel is expanding with a new sister property in the Finnish capital. Set to open on 15th April, Hobo Helsinki occupies a prime location in the bustling downtown area. Not only will the boutique hotel offer stylish accommodations, but it is also poised to become a vibrant hub for the city’s creative community, where guests can gather for cocktails or coffee surrounded by a hip vibe.

In the newly-opened Toppa, every nook and corner has been designed and curated by Alvar Aalto. Photo: Martin Sommerschield and Dan Skugge

Photo: Martin Sommerschield and Dan Skugge

Another high-end hotel opening in Helsinki this spring is NH Collection’s latest venture, the Helsinki Grand Hansa. Housed within two historic buildings in the heart of the city, the site offers a five-star stay in its luxe rooms boasting modern Scandinavian decor.

Last but not least, you might have already heard about the new hotspot, the restaurant Toppa, which just opened in one of Helsinki’s most iconic, Aalto-designed buildings? Open from day to night and offering flavour-bursting street food with a twist, Toppa features vibrant bites courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Tommi Tuominen. We predict this restaurant – and its expansive terrace – to become the upcoming summer’s place to be.