Multiculture in the news

Because yesterday’s copy of The Usual reported (but only to those who subscribe, it seems) on the opening of the Punavuori Reception Centre for asylum seekers with a picture that included the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral on Katajanokka I thought I’d share the link. (Or should that be in Katajanokka? Comp. Katajanokalla).

The very last line of the article draws attention to the religious/ethnic difference of those seeking asylum and so to Finns’ current preoccupation with questions of difference/multiculturalism. Meanwhile the Italians are having to digest the news that crucifixes will no longer be allowed in school classrooms, the result of a court case pitting Italy vs. a Finn with Italian citizenship. And a columnist berates the True Finns/Basic Finnish far-right party and others for debasing the quality of debate over the country’s language politics. It makes one wonder how much of the views around the HDHD have to do with the Swissness of the starchitects.

Of course the HDHD could just be about love for an area by both ordinary citizens and experts. About a built environment that serves a range of people and businesses and gives locals and visitors alike a rare sense of being embedded in a solid, even comforting history?


Here Katajanokka Customs Building from 1901, protected in a masterplan/zoning ordinance (sorry, this isn’t precise, but you get the idea) from the 1980s aimed at respecting the valuable built heritage of the harbour-side architecture from the 1860. Not my favourite building by a long shot, but fit for purpose (as renovated) and rather unusual in Helsinki’s streetscape which is predominantly classical even in its modernism.


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