News about educationPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Mon, January 09, 2012 18:18:04
places for children are getting harder to come by in Finland's major centres.
Some municipalities have seen a nearly two-fold increase in the number of
children applying for day-care at the start of the year.
Finland’s biggest cities are experiencing difficulties with the number of
children seeking day-care. For example, the number of those seeking a place in
Tampere went up to 350 from last year’s 200, while Jyväskylä municipality
received nearly 300 day-care applications compared with 160 the previous year.
demand for places in the capital region is in Espoo. Most day-care places
sought are for children under three years old.
pressure on places has been attributed to different factors, including higher
birth-rates in the past few years and the threat of recession pushing mothers
back to work in the capital region.
Association of Kindergarten Teachers in Finland blames municipalities for poor
planning when it comes to policies affecting small children.
Association cites cases where municipalities have closed down kindergartens,
only to find that they are desperately needed again in a few years’ time.
From: yle.fi, dd 09/01/2012
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Mon, January 09, 2012 18:15:55
street beggars from Romania and Bulgaria have remained in Finland for the
winter. They have found shelter in overcrowded one-room apartments and on the
streets as no new camp has been constructed. The National Bureau of investigation
says some of the Romania roma may be here against their will. However, claims
of human trafficking are not being followed up as the roma remain tight lipped.
working among the Romanian roma say that most of them stay overnight in small
apartments housing dozens of people. In Vantaa, one person has given shelter to
around ten people.
them presents harrowing tales of difficult and poor conditions back home, and
of their poor state of health. Thanks to the Helsinki Deaconess Institute, they
are able to receive medical attention. At a day centre in the Sörnäinen
district of Helsinki, the street beggars can wash, cook and rest.
they beg money to help their children back home. It has cost them between 150
and 300 euros to get to Finland, they claim.
investigation into human trafficking
to the National Board of Investigation (NBI), over ten people were convicted in
Romania for human trafficking last year. They had brought people to Finland and
forced them to beg, play in the street, steal or work on building sites for low
wages. The NBI took part in the investigations.
summer, investigations have not continued. Romanians living in Helsinki say
they have not heard of cases of human trafficking.
say how many have been forced here. We must assume they are here of their own
freewill,” says Detective Jouko Ikonen of the NBI.
working among the Rumanians believe that the majority are here of their own
this month, YLE broadcast a BBC Panorama documentary that showed organised
child begging in Britain. Mothers with their young infants entered Britain,
begged on the streets only to return home to Rumania with their income.
doubts a similar operation exists in Finland. Preventing human trafficking is
an aim of the Finnish government.
be ruled out but it is not visible on the streets of Finland,” says Kari Siivo
from the National Bureau of Investigation.
autumn, police disbanded a camp housing Romania beggars in the Kalasatama
district of Helsinki. Many of the residents were given money to leave the
country, but some are still here.
From: yle.fi, dd 09/01/2012
What's happening in Finland?Posted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, December 13, 2011 10:11:09
Times flies when you
I joined a French
teacher assistant in Espoo. This city is part of the Helsinki region. We did some shopping
after visiting EMMA, the museum of modern art. The day ended in Helsinki with a
visit at Fazer and watching people skating on the market place next to the
I also went – with
another teacher assistant - by plane to Oulu, which is 571km up north. We stayed there for
three days during which we had a few first experiences.
First time we did couchsurfing.
First time we swam in
an ice cold river.
First time we had a
try at parkour.
First time we had such
a short day: sunrise at 9.53, sunset at 14.24
Finally, I spent a
weekend in Turku with five other teachers assistants.Turku is the European
Capital of Culture 2011. It’s also known as a ‘Christmas city’.
We had the visit of
some firemen in our hostel’s bedroom on Sunday morning. No, not for a
strip-tease. Can you believe that the alarm went on just because – in a four person
bedroom – one girl was drying her hair and two other girls put on some spray
No wonder we went to
the “Fire! Fire!” exhibition later that day.
Time flies when you
are having many pikkujoulu
Pikkujoulu is a small
One of the school’s
pikkujoulu was an evening at the theater followed by a Christmas diner in a
restaurant. The holidays will start in eight days and I still have six
pikkujoulu to go.
This is definitely
something to import to Belgium!
Time flies when you
work three days a week
Week 49 was short, and
not because of Saint Nicholas.
It started on Monday
with the independence ceremony at the castle where all the 6th graders were
invited. Key words of this tradition: nice dresses, nice costumes, speeches,
singers, drinks and food.
Tuesday was a bank
holiday as Finland celebrates its independence day on the 6th of December. I first went to the independence ceremony at
the ice-skating ring (speeches, choirs, singers, ice-skating show,…). Then we
gathered at a teacher’s place to bake some traditional Finnish food. It was a
The other weeks have
been ‘normal’ working weeks.
As I mentioned in a
previous post, I have now been observing Swedish lessons in upper-secondary
And I’m happy the pupils
don’t laugh at me when I have to say/read Finnish words.
Time flies when the
days are short and dark
Week 50: sunrise at
9.28 and sunset at 15.06.
It has been snowing
for a week. We had a lot of snow on some days while we mostly had sleet on the
other days. But everything is still white! The white snow brings light in the
streets when you walk outside before 9.30 or after 15.00.
Time flies when the
end of the year is already so near
Not sure I’ll be
posting before the holidays…because time flies and I still have many things to
These are my plans for
the Christmas break.
21/12 – 25/12: Back to
Belgium to enjoy Christmas with my family and to see some friends.
26/12 – 28/12: Going
to Lapland with my sister, nephew, brother and sister-in-law. We are going to
do some husky-sleigh and of course meet the one and only real Santa Claus!
29/12: visit of
30/12: Going to visit
31/12: Having a great
New Years Eve in Helsinki and watch the fireworks on Senate Square.
3/01 – 5/01: Going to
Russia to visit St Petersburg
I think I have now
enough excuses if I don’t reply directly your emails, messages, comments,… but
you can still call/text me in case of emergency
I wish you all a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012 !!
Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, December 13, 2011 08:25:37
Santa Lucia Day, the festival of lights. According to tradition, Lucia, a young
woman dressed in white and wearing a crown of candles, brings light during the
darkest time of the year.
19 year-old Nora Peltola from Vihti was voted in as the national Lucia during a
charity fund drive.
She will be
crowned by Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson at the Helsinki Cathedral at
5pm. After her coronation, she will descend the steps of the Cathedral and lead
a procession towards the city centre. Many other towns and schools also select
their own Lucia.
next weeks and months, these young women and their entourages visit hospitals,
retirement homes, prisons, orphanages and schools, bringing light, song -- as
well as buns and coffee.
also have their own Lucia Day celebrations. Since there can only be one Lucia
at school, many little girls, wearing store-bought plastic crowns, stage their
own Lucia processions at home for their families.
tradition can be traced back to St. Lucia, an Italian martyr who died in 303
Lucia tradition began in the 18th century in Sweden. In the 1900s, the
tradition spread to the Åland Islands and to other Swedish-speaking regions in
From: yle.fi, dd 12/11/2011
Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, December 13, 2011 08:21:41
Finnish Northern Lights become YouTube hit
Lights in Sodankylä on October 23.
Tourist Board says its videos of Finland’s Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
have been watched over a million times on YouTube over the past two weeks.
really pleased by the success of these videos,” says the organisation's
director general, Jakko Lehtonen, who points out that Norway has attempted to
brand Northern Lights as its own national phenomenon.
elusive, beautiful Northern Lights are most likely spotted in the fells of
Finland’s far north.
Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory studies Northern Lights, forecasting where
the colourful streaks are best seen.
likelihood of spotting Northern Lights is greater on Norway’s northern coast
than in central Lapland, it’s often cloudier and rainier on the coast,” says
geophysicist Tero Raita of Oulu University.
From: yle.fi, dd 12/11/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, December 13, 2011 08:09:09
Helsinki Music Centre's Symphony Choir, the Helsinki City Orchestra, the
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Sibelius Academy Orchestra performed
together at the Centre's opening in August 2011.
acoustics and services at the new Helsinki Music Centre concert hall have been
getting a mixed reception from the general public. While the acoustics have
been widely praised by performers, the hall's sensitivity to noise from the
audience has been a problem.
decades of putting up with the less than satisfactory acoustics of Finlandia
Hall, Helsinki concert-goers have had to learn a few new lessons. Audiences in
the Helsinki Music Centre concert hall can neither whisper nor cough. One
concert this past autumn was even paused because of distractions originating
from the audience.
to Concert Operations Manager Antti Pylkkänen, the main hall's acoustics have
created some challenges for staff.
are looking for the best practices, what is acceptable and what is
disturbing," says Pylkkänen.
that it is a fact that the excellent acoustics mean that not only the music,
but also everything else can be well heard throughout the hall.
is the fact that we're now wrestling with at the Music Centre."
opening, there has also been discussion of the Music Centre's services. Coat
check and refreshment services have been criticised as being slow. Pylkkänen
points out that the Centre is new not just as a concert venue, but also as a
service provider. An effort is being made to expand the number of spots where
concert-goers can purchase refreshments.
manager of Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tuula Sarotie, notes that
audiences have started to gradually adapt to the demands of the new concert
hall. There is already less coughing heard than was the case in Finlandia Hall.
However, Sarotie is adamant that audiences should not make their own
contribution to a concert.
member of the audience is indifferent to others, comes to a concert and, for
example, falls asleep and starts snoring, or brings small children to a concert
and doesn't take into consideration that children need to be taught how to
behave in this situation, then something has to be done about it, one way or
another," Sarotie says.
Symphony Orchestra's general manager does point out that in most cases people
themselves realise that they may be disturbing the enjoyment of others and
leave the hall on their own.
From: yle.fi, dd 12/11/2011
Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 11, 2011 20:48:08
children are killed in Finland than in any other western country, according to
the Sunday newspaper supplement Sunnuntaisuomalainen. Finland has especially
high statistics on the number of fatal assaults on under one-year-olds.
children each year suffer some form of assault from their parents. Children are
most often killed by mothers afflicted by mental problems.
to research led by child psychiatrist Anne Kauppi, about 200 children in
Finland lost their lives at the hands of their parents in 1970-1994. Risk
factors in such cases include self-destructive behaviours among parents, their
heavy use of alcohol and domestic violence.
the last 50 years the risk to be killed by parents has declined due to abortion
law, increased welfare and support for families.
In the last
few years, the number of cases has nonetheless risen.
that mothers and fathers need more tangible help.
From: yle.fi, dd 11/12/2011
Finland, Finns, FinnishPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 11, 2011 20:47:01
Christmas traditions are a mixture of many cultures and many different
historical periods. Not all of the customs or decorations that most Finns
consider traditional are even very old. However, some old traditions have
survived and even strengthened — among them, criticism of the excesses of the
Finnish Christmas these days is marked by an abundance of food, drink, song and
gifts. Food and drink, especially, have always been an important part of the
holiday. In past centuries, the daily diet was simple and plain, and so a real
effort was made to set a festive table during the holidays, according to
Kari-Paavo Kokki, director of the Heinola Museum.
the very poorest of families aimed at making sure bellies were full at
Christmas. There were critics of excesses at Christmas, of food and of overly
expensive gifts already, I think, at the beginning of the 1900s."
a integral part of Christmas today. The shelves of supermarkets groan with the
weight of chocolates of all kinds. Once upon a time, the custom was to fill a
table with homemade sweets.
tables started to be common in upper-class homes in the early 1800s. They
included different kinds of candied fruits, raisins, marzipans and meringues.
These tables were kept stocked for the whole of the Christmas holiday season,
and this is a custom that has survived in Finnish homes," explains Kokki.
cards still popular
old tradition that is still very much alive and well, even in today's wired
world, is the sending of Christmas cards.
cards came into popular use in the 1880s in Finland. At first they were all
imported from abroad, mainly from Sweden and Germany. The early ones might not
today even be recognized as Christmas cards at all.
were, for example, pictures of flowers. The themes began to take on a Christmas
flavour in the early part of the 1900s. That is when the elves and Santa and
sleigh rides by Jenny Nyström [Swedish artist, 1854 - 1946] began appearing.
Those have continued in use right up to our day."
traditions of the Finnish style of celebrating Christmas were portrayed in the
works of Martta Wendelin (1893 - 1986).
her cards and book covers, she created for us an image of the traditional
Finnish Christmas, the kind of Christmas we all want to have. Her cards are
still very popular and are reprinted over and over again," says Kari-Paavo
From: yle.fi, dd 10/12/2011