It is one of the most affluent capitals in Europe, but people here lead their life in quite low profile. Displaying the national characteristics of sisu, people on this cold and bleak land have managed to get economically prosperous and regard themselves as the happiest in the world. Located near the Arctic Circle and the sea coast, this city is beautiful but not garish, clean and peaceful but not boring, ancient but not fusty, modern but not aggressive: with all its unique charms, it is a good place for both living and sightseeing. This is the quiet and modest city for ordinary people, capital of Finland—Helsinki.
According to our research findings, the leisure development index is 0.673, among which economic index for leisure development accounts for 0.850, environmental index for leisure development 0.635 and administrative index for leisure development 0.534. It boasts a highly developed economy and complete policies and public facilities for leisure activities.
With a strong economy, residents in Helsinki enjoy a high living standard, with strong demand for leisure activities. However, the leisure activities are carried out in low profile. People value more quality of leisure activities while they also pursue the quantities. The government tries its best to satisfy the needs of both the local residents and visitors, providing equal access to public facilities and opportunities to enjoy leisure activities. Health-oriented, creativeness and sustainability are the major features of the city, which manifest themselves in the following aspects:
Firstly, to enjoy leisure activities is regarded as a citizen right. As a welfare state, the country is financially strong enough to provide high-level welfare for its people. There are 14 days of public holiday yearly; the working class enjoy a minimum of 6 weeks’ paid vacation annually; the labor union is there to make sure that no one is laid off because of taking a long holiday; the government requires employers to provide an extra subsidy to vacationers to make sure that they have enough money for travelling and shopping.
Secondly, the people have ardent love for nature and make efforts to protect their natural environment. Forests, lakes and rivers provide good places for relaxing the body and the mind for the Finns, therefore they are passionately in love with various kinds of outdoor activities, during which they develop the sense of responsibility and habit of protecting nature. The Finns invented sauna which is not only a leisure activity for good health but also a good way for sociality.
Thirdly, the public spaces and the adequate facilities in them are open to a maximum scale to the public so that the people can enjoy themselves. In the many urban parks, central parks, and recreational areas, there are sufficient spaces and facilities for recreational activities without limitation of their access, even the presidential palace and parliament building are open to the public. Although the city gives great credits to the construction of cultural landscapes and areas for outdoor activities, it has not built artificial landscapes on this regard. The places with real attraction are those that are closely related to people’s daily life.
Fourthly, the leisure consumption is cheap, affordable and available to all people. All the religious sites in Helsinki are open to the public for free; some of the over 80 museums and art galleries in the city are free and others provide free entrance for certain periods every week. Many of its charged tickets for scenic spots are token payments and could be discounted in various ways. Golf is a very popular outdoor activity among the people and the facilities are available to the public.
Fifthly, a complete network of tourism information channels is established. These channels and services, with a complete variety of information and sufficient ways to release them, are public-oriented and regard people as first priority. What is noticeable for credit are Helsinki Expert Project and Helsinki Helper Project.
Lastly, public service devices are utilized for the convenience of tourist activities, like the city pass, tour bus and trolley bus with a tourist routine, to name just a few.