Vibrancy in Finnish Lakeland with the Saimaa Phenomenon – Savonlinna's bid for the European Capital of Culture 2026
Centre for Tourism Studies at the Department of Economics of the University of Eastern Finland is involved in the Saimaa phenomenon, ie the joint effort of the four provinces of Eastern Finland to apply for the European Capital of Culture status for Savonlinna and the entire Saimaa region. The second application phase is coordinated by the City of Savonlinna. The Saimaa Phenomenon project and project team are led by Sari Kaasinen. Each province and Savonlinna has its own regional coordinator. In addition, a communications manager, an author of the bid book and a project assistant work on the project. The University of Eastern Finland is responsible for the planning of the Saimaa phenomenon research and evaluation entity, as well as for the cooperation between educational institutions and the planning of the Saimaa Phenomenon2026 platform.
Vibrancy in Finnish Lakeland with the Saimaa Phenomenon – Savonlinna’s bid for the European Capital of Culture 2026 is a follow-up project that has been drawn up for further preparation of Savonlinna’s candidacy for the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) between 1 August 2020 and 31 December 2021. The project is administered by the City of Savonlinna.
South Savo Regional Council administered the co-operation project “Cultural vibrancy in Finnish Lakeland – Savonlinna’s bid for the European Capital of Culture 2026” from 1 March 2019 to 31 August 2020. Simultaneously the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) carried out its sister project called “Support from research – Savonlinna’s bid for the European Capital of Culture 2026”.
With the help of these projects the regional councils of North Savo, North Karelia, South Karelia and South Savo, their central cities Kuopio, Joensuu, Lappeenranta and Mikkeli as well as the City of Savonlinna are seeking the election of Savonlinna as the European Capital of Culture 2026.
The bid for the European Capital of Culture is called “Saimaa Phenomenon 2026”. The parties have jointly nominated Savonlinna the centre city for the bid; the bid-book is submitted in the name of one city. Savonlinna is a city of culture the reputation of which is based on a long history, beauty of nature and music. Savonlinna’s phenomenal cultural life is conducted by the circle of the seasons.
The European Capital of Culture programme will spread out across all the cities and regions as well as the other municipalities of the regions. Every central city of the regions and Savonlinna will act in turns as the Cultural Capital of Lake Saimaa from 2022 until 2026.
The aim of the “Vibrancy in Finnish Lakeland with the Saimaa Phenomenon” follow-up project is to ensure the continuation of the Saimaa Phenomenon and deeper collaboration in Eastern Finland. The follow-up project co-operates with the University of Eastern Finland (UEF); the partial implementation by the university includes e.g. the launch of the research and evaluation measures of the Saimaa Phenomenon 2026.
Deepening of the interregional collaboration in the field of culture as well as between different branches of activities, especially with the tourist industry, is essential. There is a desire to ensure the continuity of activities regardless of whether Savonlinna will be chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2026. Strengthening the status of culture and art will add to the vibrancy, attraction and holding power of Eastern Finland. Even the bid process is seen as an investment which has a positive gearing effect on the whole Eastern Finland.
The measures of the project are:
1. Development of the contents of the Saimaa Phenomenon
2. Commencement of the implementation of Savonlinna’s cultural strategy
3. Communication and marketing
4. Ensurance of the implementation facilities for the ECoC process
5. Research and evaluation of the Saimaa Phenomenon