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Explore the artistic and literary aesthetics of Helsinki

China Daily Lifestyle Premium | Updated: 2019-04-13 10:33
Hotel Kämp's stately Presidential Mannerheim Suite [PHOTO BY STARWOOD/WWW.HOTELKAMP.FI]

See Helsinki - and get lost in the city's inimitable literature of style

Helsinki, Finland is one of Europe's fastest-growing cities, and while the prospect of visiting a library may not seem a typical starting point for appreciation, you'd be wise to break the rules for the just-opened Helsinki Central Library Oodi, designed by Finnish studio ALA Architects, which stands opposite the Parliament House. So new it's still wet with the shimmer of Instagram potential, the calm and contemplative top-floor space in glass, floating above the busy capital with sweeping views of the surrounding park and cityscape, is quite the looker. "The serene atmosphere invites visitors to read, learn, think and enjoy themselves," explain the architects of this "book heaven".

In fact, "learn, think and enjoy" might be the perfect tagline for Finland and buzzy Helsinki, which continues to host increasing numbers of Chinese visitors to the city - 221,000 in 2017 - making China the country's fifth-largest source of tourists. If the quality of experience over the quantity of merchandise is the new travel mantra, then Helsinki's got you covered.

Like any book, don't judge Library Oodi by its cover. Once inside, among its remarkable discoveries are: 3D printers, sewing machines and gaming rooms; walls bedecked with Finnish words, which are hard to pronounce but look aesthetically advanced and profound, like 21st-century hieroglyphic hygge; a VR art exhibition space; and a cinema, of course, because doesn't everyone go to their local library when they want to watch movies? Barely four months since its opening, Library Oodi already has the feel of being every Finlandian's favorite new living room. You could even take a first date there.

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