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Practical information A-Z

Welcome to Helsinki and EUCYS 2011

The organising committee of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists 2011 is pleased to welcome you to Helsinki. We hope you will have an enjoyable stay in Helsinki.

This guide provides some information about the contest, Finland, Helsinki and your stay. Please feel free to ask the organisers or student helpers if you have any other questions.
Have a nice time, and good luck in the contest!



Students, National Organisers and Escorts will be accommodated at the Cumulus Hakaniemi hotel. For further details, please check the hotel website.

Siltasaarenkatu 14
FI-00530 Helsinki
Tel: +358 9 546 60100
Fax: +358 9 546 60101
E-mail: hakaniemi [dot] cumulus [at] restel [dot] fi

City centre 1.5 km
Metro station Hakaniemi 50 m
Central railway station 1.5 km
Airport 17 km

To the contest venue 15-20 minutes by metro (Kalasatama).


Jury members and European Commission representatives will be accommodated at the Hotel Glo Helsinki Kluuvi. For further details, please check the hotel website.

Kluuvikatu 4
FI-00100 Helsinki
Tel: +358 10 344 4400
E-mail: kluuvi [at] hotelglo [dot] fi

Both hotels have an internet connection available free of charge for the participants of EUCYS2011. Usernames will be available at the receptions.


Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is about 19 km north of downtown Helsinki. The journey to and from the airport takes about 35 minutes by bus or taxi, and slightly longer during the rush hour. After arriving and collecting your luggage, please locate the EUCYS 2011 stand in Terminal 1 or 2 of the airport. Here you will get transfer information to your hotel.

Details of transport back to the airport will be provided before the event ends. A shuttle bus will be arranged for contestants and national representatives.

Arrival information for visitors

The Finnair City Bus and local bus line no. 615 (or night bus no. 620) provide a regular service from the airport to the city centre. The bus stops in front of the hotel and timetables are available online. The Finnair City Bus fare is EUR 6.00 and a one-way local bus ticket costs EUR 4.00. A one-way taxi ride will cost about EUR 35-40.

It is also easy to reach Helsinki by sea ferry from Stockholm (Sweden), Rostock (Germany) and Tallinn (Estonia). Further details of the city’s three harbours are available at

From hotel to venue and from venue to hotel

We expect you to use public transport (metro mainly) for all regular travel between the venue and the hotel, and travel cards will be provided for all contestants and other guests.
Visits to various places of interest will be arranged by group bus transportation. Further details of these visits will be made available later and during the event.


Finnish law prohibits the consumption of mild alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 18 years, and strong drinks by persons under the age of 21 years. This means no alcohol may be offered or consumed in the contest area during the event.



The contest badge is your access pass for this event and its activities. Your badge will be issued at the registration desk. Please take good care of it.



The weather in Finland can be very unpredictable in September, so please bring a variety of clothing and be ready for both warm and chilly weather. Contest days are long, so comfortable shoes are essential. You may wear casual clothing during the contest, but we would prefer formal attire for the award ceremony.


Telephone calls to numbers in Finland begin with the country code +358 instead of the initial zero (for example if the national number is 050 555 5555, then you must dial +358 50 555 5555). To call your home country, you must know your own country code. A wireless Internet connection will be available at the contest venue, and there are also several wireless Internet hot spots in the city centre. The hotels also have an internetconnection available free of charge.

Credit Cards

Most major credit cards such as VISA, Master Card and Euro Card are accepted in Finland. American Express is also widely accepted.

Currency and Payments

Finland is in the euro currency zone, but 1 and 2 cent coins are not used. Currency can be exchanged at the airport, at banks or at a Forex bureau de change. The nearest Forex is in the foyer of the Central Railway Station. You may also be able to make cash withdrawals from ATMs bearing the yellow signboard OTTO.

Co-operation and partnership

The contest has been organised in partnership with several organisations:

Aalto University

Established in 2010, Aalto University is a new, but also highly experienced institution resulting from the merger of three Finnish universities: Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design Helsinki. As of 1 January 2011 Aalto University School of Science and Technology has been divided into four new schools, making a total of six schools in the university, all of which are leading and renowned institutions in their respective fields and in their own right. This combination of six schools opens up new opportunities for strong multi-disciplinary teaching and research. The new university’s ambitious goal is to be one of the leading institutions in the world in terms of teaching and research in its own specialised disciplines. On Saturday 24 September we shall visit the Otaniemi campus of the university, which is about 12 km (25 min) from the contest venue.

University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is one of the finest multidisciplinary research universities in the world. Its high quality research creates new knowledge for educating versatile specialists in various fields, and for application in social policymaking and business. With almost 4,000 researchers and teachers, the university operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 17 other locations. There are 35,000 students, with a further 30,000 involved in adult education. Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki seeks to reinforce its position among the world’s leading multidisciplinary research universities, and to actively promote quality of life and an equitable society.

During the event we shall visit the university’s Kumpula campus approximately 3 km (10 min) from the contest venue.


Heureka (Eureka!), the Finnish Science Centre, is a lively exhibition centre for visitors of all ages, providing an opportunity to experience and learn about science and technology in an exciting hands-on environment. Its fascinating special exhibitions Bon appétit, Dinosaurs, Children’s Heureka, Heureka classics, Science on a Sphere and the main exhibition are a guaranteed delight. There are also practical laboratory and workshop programmes for children and students, shows in the Minerva science theatre and lab rat basketball daily. Heureka gives everyone a chance to share the joy of discovery! The science centre is about 18 km (25 min) from the contest venue.

LUMA Centre

The national LUMA Centre (natural sciences and mathematics) is an umbrella organisation that is co-ordinated by the Faculty of Science (Kumpula campus) of the University of Helsinki to bring together schools, universities and industry. It seeks to promote the learning, studying and teaching of natural science, mathematics, computer science and technology at all levels. The LUMA Centre works with schools, teachers, teacher trainees and several other partners in pursuing its goals.


Drinking water

Hydration during your journey is important and you should remember to drink enough water. Cold tap water in Finland is entirely potable and often of better quality than expensive bottled water.



The mains electricity supply in Finland is 220 V (230 V) 50 Hz with a two-pin plug system that is familiar in most of Europe. It is best to purchase any adapters before starting your journey.

Electronic news and materials

Internet news will published daily on screens at the contest venue. You will also find news and other materials on the home page of the contest website.


The national emergency services telephone number is 112. You should report your name and location, explain what has happened (what you have seen or know about an incident), respond to any questions and follow the instructions provided.


We are keen to arrange an environmentally friendly event, and we hope that you will co-operate in taking every opportunity to help us in achieving this aim.



Finland is 1,160 km from north to south and 500 km from east to west, making it the 6th largest country in Europe. The landscape includes 198,439 lakes and an even larger number of islands. The country has a population of 5.3 million and an average population density of only 17 people per square kilometre. One quarter of the population lives in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area comprising the four cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. Other large cities include Turku, Tampere, Lahti, Oulu and Kuopio.
There are four very distinct seasons in Finland, and the weather is often difficult to predict. Local weather forecasts are always available on website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Trees are Finland’s most important natural resource, with ordinary citizens owning about three-quarters of the country’s extensive forests. The standard of forestry expertise is very high indeed. Finland has a diversified industrial base, and its principal export products include icebreaker ships, cruise liners, lifts, papermaking machines, tree harvesters and computer games.

The universal right of access is a legal concept allowing everyone to enjoy outdoor activities and collect natural products in the forests, fells, lakes and rivers, subject to a few restrictions:

You may:

  • walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside except in gardens, near homes or in fields
  • stay or set up camp temporarily in the countryside
  • pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers
  • fish with a rod and line
  • row, sail or use a motorboat on waterways with certain restrictions
  • walk, ski and fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea

You may not:

  • disturb other people or damage property
  • disturb breeding birds
  • disturb game animals
  • leave litter
  • cut down live trees
  • encroach on the privacy of homes
  • fish or hunt without the relevant permits

Small talk and idle chatter are unusual in Finland, with brevity and plain speaking preferred. Finns appreciate punctuality: you are expected to attend events on time.

Finns enjoy sauna. There is a sauna in almost every house, and this form of bathing has become a symbol of the national culture. Sauna is a source of health and wellbeing, but with temperatures of as much as 110 °C it is essential to exercise common sense and moderation to avoid injury.

The four-week summer holiday is often spent at chalets and cottages in the countryside. Visitors to Lapland in the north of the country may have an opportunity to see reindeer, and attractions such as the spectacular aurora borealis and Santa Claus also bring people to this region during the winter. Finns are outdoor people with a passion for sports. Jogging, walking, hiking, skiing, swimming (including outdoor winter swimming), skating, sledding, camping and Nordic walking are very popular pursuits.

The most important public holidays are Finnish Independence Day (6 December), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, May Day and Midsummer (between 20 and 26 June).
For further (interesting or amusing) facts about Finland, see the section Facts about Finland on the EUCYS 2011 website.


Much of the food available in Finland comes directly from the country’s fields, woodlands, lakes or the sea, with a clear preference for clean and healthy raw materials served with a minimum of processing. Whole grains, berries and mushrooms are an especially important part of the Finnish menu, but international cuisines such as Italian, Turkish or Asian foods are also readily available.

Favourite sweets include chocolate, liquorice and salmiakki (sal ammoniac lozenges).


Health and medical care

We hope that you will arrive at the contest in good health, as illness while travelling abroad is not nice. Please remember to bring all regular medications with you, and as a precaution it is also wise to bring prescriptions in English from your own doctor. Medicines in Finland are only sold at licensed pharmacies (Apteekki) staffed by specialists who can also provide basic advice and guidance as necessary with more straightforward problems.
Please contact the organisers immediately for help if you fall ill. A first aid kit is available at the information desk for treating minor injuries.


Helsinki is a clean and beautiful city with harbours, rocky shores, beaches and islands that provide a maritime ambience. Helsinki has been the capital of Finland since 1812.
Important places of interest in Helsinki include the Stadium Tower (featured on the EUCYS 2011 logo), the Senate Square, the Market Square, the Sibelius Monument, the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Seurasaari Island, Töölö Bay, Kaivopuisto Park, and the rock church at Temppeliaukio. The website of the City of Helsinki.

For further details consult the common website of the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki.

There is a special website for visitors to Helsinkiand for information on Finland.



Everyone attending the contest event must arrange travel insurance in their countries of origin. Many countries have concluded bilateral health care agreements, while in Europe you should get your European Health Insurance Card before travelling. Consult your doctor and/or insurance company for further details.



The contest Jury of leading experts will conduct interviews throughout the contest. The schedule of interviews is shown on the programme. The judges and contestants must be allowed to work in peace, and so only judges and contestants may attend the exhibition during the interviews.



People of various nationalities live in Finland, but the official languages of the country are Finnish, Swedish and Sami. Almost everyone also speaks some English. The Finnish for “hello” is simply hei or hyvää päivää and “thank you” is kiitos.

Lost property

Please take care of your baggage and personal belongings during the trip. Don’t forget to label your baggage with your name and contact information. If your baggage is missing on arrival at the airport, then you should immediately contact the airport baggage office and your airline desk. Be sure to keep a copy of your baggage complaint. Also remember to inform your host of the problem so that the necessary action can be taken.



All meals and refreshments specified in the program are free of charge. Breakfast will be served at the hotel, lunch will be at the venue and dinners will be arranged at various event locations. Please advise the organisers on the registration form if you have any special dietary requirements.


Opening hours

Most shops, general stores and shopping centres are open from 09.00 or 10.00 until 19.00 or 21.00. The shops close at 18.00 on Saturdays. Most shops are closed on Sundays, but some of them open at 12.00. Banks are open from 10.00 to 16.00 on Monday to Friday.



The general programme dates are Friday 23 September for arrivals and Wednesday 28 September for departures. Please check the “Programme” link for the preliminary contest programme.



Downtown Helsinki provides a wealth of shopping opportunities. Sokos and Stockmann, for example, are large department stores. If you are interested in Finnish handicrafts, then a visit to the Hakaniemi Market Hall opposite the hotel is recommended. The new Kamppi shopping centre is easily reached by metro. Finland is also the home of several leading names in design, such as Artek furniture, Iittala glassware, Arabia ceramics, Marimekko fabrics, Fiskars tools and Kalevala jewellery, all of which have outlets on Esplanadi in the city centre. Tax-free shopping opportunities are available in many major shops and department stores for visitors from non-EU countries. The tax is refunded at the airport on presenting a completed VAT refund form.


Smoking in public places is prohibited in Finland. This includes public transport and hotel rooms. Smoking is allowed in the street (but packets and stubs should be disposed of properly) and in places reserved for smokers.


The organisers are keen for the contest to be a pleasant and memorable experience. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Hopefully our student helpers will be able to clear up most problems at once, but the information booth staff will also be pleased to assist.

Student Helpers

Every group has a student helper to assist in everyday matters. Student helpers will guide you to the venue and hotel, and will also assist contestants. During the contest your student helper is the first point of contact if you have any problems or questions.



Local transport

Helsinki has an efficient, fully integrated public transport system. You can easily plan any journey using the online journey planner , but remember to allow for traffic congestion at peak hours. Helsinki also boasts the world's northernmost metro station.

The price of a ticket partly depends on where you buy it: vending machine tickets are cheapest, whereas a ticket purchased from the vehicle driver costs 50 cents more. Metro tickets must be purchased before the journey begins. Taxis are a convenient but rather expensive way to get around.

From hotel to venue and from venue to hotel

We expect you to use public transport (metro mainly) for all regular travel between the venue and the hotel, and travel cards will be provided for all contestants and other guests.
Visits to various places of interest will be arranged by group bus transportation. Further details of these visits will be made available later and during the event.


Service is always included in the price for restaurants, hotels and taxis, so there is no need for any further tip. However, it is not uncommon to round up a bill for exceptional service.

Time Zone

Finland is on Eastern European Time – UTC/GMT +3h (during daylight saving time from 27 March to 30 October 2011)




Suvilahti is in the Sörnäinen district of Helsinki between the Hanasaari power plant and Sompasaari harbour. The Suvilahti area is an old power plant that has been used since the 1980s for cultural projects. It includes two gasometers and nine other buildings. The combined floor space of the buildings is approximately 12,500 square metres. The renovated buildings are not intended for residential use.

Kaasutehtaankatu 1
FI-00540 Helsinki