Tagged: finland Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • seandodson 2:51 pm on October 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , finland, finnish education, free schools, pisa, , programme for international student assessment,   

    Nearly missed this comment piece in yesterday’s Education Guardian by Peter Mortimore, the former director of the Institute of Education, University of London. Interesting in light of the Tory love-in of Swedish Free Schools.

    Our politicians, of all parties, appear fascinated by Nordic education although, up to now, it has been Sweden’s policy of school choice rather than the impressive success of Finnish comprehensives on which they have focused. If only they could free themselves from their ideologies and switch their interests, they would learn a great deal about how to improve the academic success of all pupils in all schools.

  • seandodson 12:34 pm on February 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , finland, , , , , , , , , ,   

    The next stop should be Helsinki 

    Following and earlier post on this site, The Guardian has today published a more in-depth look at at how real-time passenger information and positioning technology are combining to improve public transport in both London and Helsinki.

    London is implementing a system similar to Helsinki, although it is not sharing the real-time passenger information with its customers. I conclude: “What most bus passengers want is a system that shares real-time information with them. Not just at the bus stop, but on our phones, iPods, laptops and websites. They don’t want to go to the bus stop to find they have to wait 15 minutes – they want to find out how far away the bus is before they step outside. Now the controllers know where the bus is, soon the passengers will want to know too. How long will they have to wait?”

  • seandodson 11:46 am on January 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , finland, google maps, gps, , , linux, , near field technology, , , tram, ,   

    The end of the timetable? 


    It can be bloody cold in Helsinki in January. The last thing you want to do is hang around too long for a bus or tram. Soon you won’t have to,  Because Helsinki City Transport is currently fitting *its entire fleet* with Linux servers. Not only will each bus or tram become a travelling wireless hotspot, but you will be able to see exactly where in the city your next bus actually is.

    Meaning that you only step into the bitter cold the minute before it arrives. (its in beta but you can see the effects of the live trial)Moreover, using Near Field Communication embedded in the bus and tram stops that allow you to boot the whole caboodle on your Nokia, without going online or having to imput lots of fiddly Finnish names (try inputting Kalasatama at minus 15 degrees). You can then track the upcoming stops on your mobile and see where exactly are your connecting buses are in the city as well. Its almost as if you can route your way around a city using packet switching I think i’ve seen the future of mass transit. And it doesn’t involve a timetable.

  • seandodson 1:09 pm on December 11, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: finland, , , Turku   

    Take a trip to Turku 


    For a country of its size, it is surprising how little of Finland registers in the minds of British travellers. Helsinki in the summer and Lapland in the winter remain perennially popular, but the rest of the country tends to get the cold shoulder, despite covering an area larger than Poland or Italy. Soon, a third destination may squeeze itself in. Last month, the EU council of Ministers announced that Turku would be the joint European City of Culture in 2011, a status it will share with Tallinn. And while the Estonian capital is now familiar to British travellers, Turku remains almost unknown.

    The more you see of Turku the more this surprises you. After all it’s the oldest city in Finland, the country’s former capital, the seat of its oldest university and gateway to the beautiful Finnish archipelago. Because of its venerability, it also eschews the criticism levelled at many Finnish cities: namely that they are a bit too modern and efficient for their own good.

    Indeed, the old capital remains as quaint and as eclectic as an antique store run by a dotty old uncle. A compact city centre is bisected by the handsome River Aura which leads out to the archipelago and the Baltic Sea. There’s a castle, an old cathedral, a Dominican monastery that was consecrated in 1249, as well as sailing ships in the harbour and a wealth of traditional timbered houses.

    For a city of just 175,000, moreover, Turku has of the densest concentrations of culture anywhere in the Nordic region. Not only does it boast three universities (including one exclusively in Finnish-Swedish due to the large concentration of speakers there), the city boasts at least seven museums, (including one dedicated to Jean Sibelius), several theatres and an orchestra. And while you get the sense that Turku takes itself and its former capital status extremely seriously, it also knows how to have fun. The city plays host to three music festivals, encompassing elecronica, classical and heavy rock.

    But all you really need to sample Turku’s past is to take a night on the town. The Old Bank was recently voted as one of the top ten bars in Finland (one of only two from outside Helsinki). Around the corner is the bar Koulu, the former Swedish language school, which doubles as a restaurant and it triples as a brewery (its Christmas ale is sublime, full bodied with notes of cinnamon and cough candy). Then perhaps cross the river for a pint amid the wood panels of the Uusi Apteeki, or the new pharmacy, which paradoxically dates back to the early 20th century and has been restored by six friends who have turned it into a temple of beer (it has over 20 on tap). Finally, finish the night at the subterranean Puutorin Vessa a bohemian bar fashioned from an old public convenience. Old buildings never die in Turku, they just get converted into new places to drink.

    That, you soon realise, is the point of Turku. It is a city that clings defiantly to the past. Although the city remains the capital of Finland Proper, you get the sense that it has yet to reconcile itself to its loss of status. Then, there is the great fire, which gutted the city in 1827 to consider as well as the pounding it received from the red army during the Winter War. What is has it tends to hold.

    Even in the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants the past pervades. Bar Koku is stuffed full of retro Scandinavian furniture, all of which is for sale. Alvar (Alvar, 7 Humalistonkatu 231 4370) is named after Alvar Alto, Finland’s most famous architect, and the large eclectically decorated bar is housed on the ground floor of one of his buildings. The city’s chicest restaurant, Blanko, which offers both Scandinavian and Asian cuisine, is situated in a cross-domed cellar that once belonged to grand old house. After the kitchen closes the bar comes alive with guest DJs, playing house a mix of house music and bossa nova the night we were there.

    Turku is popular in the summer when boatloads of Swedes arrive across the Baltic from Stockholm. But Christmas also makes a good time to go. While most of us associate Lapland with Christmas, Finns are more likely to visit Turku. In December the city plays host to one of the largest Christmas markets outside Germany.

    One criticism of Turku is that it is not blessed with an abundance of great hotels. Omena, a new chain of self-service hotels, is a welcome addition, especially as its in the same Alto building as Bar Alvar. For good value for money and a central location The Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs is hard to beat.

    Take a trip to Turku. It’s worth extra connecting flight or train ride from Helsinki and you will find a city packed full of culture, long before it becomes a capital once more.

  • seandodson 11:18 pm on September 14, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aki Kaurismaki, Corona, finland, , moskva   

    Painting the town red 

    Cafe Mockba

    Originally uploaded by seandodson
    I have just returned from a five day trip to Helsinki. I’ve always really enjoyed my time there, but on this visit, I was taken to Cafe Moskva, a Soviet-era styled bar owned by Aki Kaurismaki, the famous Finnish film director (his brother co-owns the bohemian billiard hall, Corona, next door).

    It’s a really cool example of old Helsinki: friendly, unassuming and full of facinating detail. There’s an old Russian jukebox in the corner and the bar staff play crackly old Russian records under the glow of neon strip lighting.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc