Seeing that nobody else seems to be busy preparing for a summer meeting, we hereby announce the candidacy of Turku as the host city for the Summer EBT Meeting 2014.
is the oldest city in Finland, founded gradually at the end of the 13th century. As the oldest and biggest city of the time, Turku used to be the capital of Finland until 1812, when the capital was moved to Helsinki. The first Finnish university was founded in Turku in 1640, until it was moved to Helsinki in 1828. One reason for the move was that some 3/4 of Turku had burned down the previous year. The city was essentially rebuilt after the disastrous fire.
is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland. A characteristic feature of Turku is the river flowing through Turku, the Aura river. Turku Castle is located by the river near the harbour of Turku. Another medieval building by the Aura river is the Turku Cathedral
. Turku Cathedral is still the seat of the Archbishop of Turku and Finland.
Turku has long traditions of culture. The first Finnish newspaper was started in Turku already in 1771, although it was actually written in Swedish. Obviously the Finnish-speaking residents of Turku wanted their own newspaper as well, so a Finnish language newspaper was started only a few years later in 1775. The oldest still functioning Finnish association, the Musical Association of Turku, was founded in 1790. Turku and Tallinn were the European Capitals of Culture in 2011.
As Turku is a coastal city, the shipbuilding industry has traditionally been an important part of Turku. Many of the largest cruise ships in the world have been built at the dockyards of Turku.
The meeting will be held on the first weekend of August, 1.-3.8.
We will be posting a more detailed schedule of the event later on. The official part of the meeting will start on Friday afternoon and will end at around noon on Sunday. There is a possibility that we'll arrange some sort of a pre-meeting, possibly not even in Turku. Therefore we advise you to NOT make any hotel reservations or flight bookings yet, as the location of the pre-meeting (if there is any) might affect your travel plans.
There will be a tour of the city and we’ll have a table reservation from some suitable restaurant on Friday and Saturday evening. The city tour will likely be tasked to a professional city guide. This will increase the costs a bit, but on the other hand, he/she can most probably give you a better presentation of Turku than any of us organizers.
As this is somewhat of an ‘ad hoc’ meeting, arranged because there were no other candidates for the summer meeting, the schedule of the meeting won’t be particularly diverse. We will of course try our best to fulfill the promises we make.
How to get here
For most of you, the easiest way to come to Turku is via Helsinki-Vantaa airport (HEL, EFHK). From there you can either take a direct bus to Turku
(Helsinki-Vantaa - Turku, this will take some 2,5 hours), or take the regional bus
to central Helsinki, get a few notes from there and then hop on the train
to Turku. The bus trip (line 615) from the airport to the central railway station is some 40 minutes, and the train trip from Helsinki to Turku is about two hours. The trains have free WiFi, so taking the train would get my preference.
Turku has its own international airport (TKU, EFTU), but unfortunately flights to/from other Eurozone countries to/from that airport are rare. You can check the flights to Turku, but chances are that you won’t find a suitable flight via that airport.
If you want to take a slightly more adventurous and most probably more memorable approach, you can fly (or drive through Denmark and Sweden if you’re so inclined) to Stockholm (Arlanda airport) and then take a ferry to Turku. These ferries are not your average ferries, but they’re actually very large hotels with much partying going on, especially during the weekends. They also have various restaurants and usually also their own (small) swimming pool and a sauna. See Tallink Silja Line
and Viking Line
for some background. For bonus points (or dots), you can make a short stopover on the autonomous Åland islands
and the regional capital, Maarianhamina
The meeting schedule is not yet set in stone
, so please hold off booking your trips for the time being until the schedule has been finalized.
Finland in general
is a bilingual country, with Finnish and Swedish being the two official languages. Finnish does not have a close relation to other languages, except perhaps for Estonian. Swedish has some similarities to Dutch and German, so if you know those languages, you might guess the meaning of some Swedish words. However, you do not need to learn Finnish or Swedish to travel to Finland, because most Finns can speak enough English to discuss with foreigners. This is especially true for the younger generation of Finns. English is considered to be the unofficial third language of Finland.
Finland is not a particularly cheap country. Some things might cost more than in your home country. This includes items such as food, alcohol, gasoline etc.
The main organizer (as in, the one who will be held responsible if something does not work as expected, and the person who will get to tell other assistant organizers what to do) is myself, avij. I have participated in all the international EBTMs so far, so I guess I know a thing or two about international meetings. Some of you may have met tiura in some previous EBTM. He will be assisting us with all things Turku, as he’s a resident of Turku. He has also organized a recent Finnish EBT meeting in Turku. As quite a lot of preparations can be done over email, phone, web etc, we also have a large group of people who have organized Finnish EBTMs in the past in our roster. These additional organizers will be assisting you with whatever questions you may have, either prior or during the meeting.
Please note that this is preliminary information, hopefully sufficient that Turku will be chosen as the host city for the summer EBTM. If our application is accepted, we will provide more detailed information about the schedule, transportation options, hotels, ATMs etc.