Finland is becoming an increasingly popular haven for creatives. Its remote villages and stunning scenery provide the perfect environment to get creative, find inspiration, and work without interruption. One village which is quickly turning into Finland’s new creative hub is Fiskars in southern Finland, which has been compared to Greenwich Village in New York City.
The name Fiskars might already be familiar to you, and you probably have at least one Fiskars product in your house already, even if you don’t realise it. Since the 17th century, the village held the main factory for the Fiskars company, which is famous for producing quality home goods, particularly the distinctive orange handled scissors, which sell over one billion pairs every year.
In the 1980s, however, the factory was moved to a larger building which was better equipped to handle the company’s growth. The village was left in an economic slump and desperately needed a way to boost trade and tourism. Fiskars’ executive Ingmar Lindberg had the bright idea of attracting artists and designers to the village by offering cheap studio space and houses to rent, with prices much lower than those in the city.
It was a huge success and now over 600 artisans call Fiskars home and the town has become one of Finland’s top creative hubs and tourist locations. The town produces some of the country’s best furniture, jewellery, glassware, fine art, sculpture, textiles, and many more. It has transformed from a dying industrial town into a thriving community of artists, shopkeepers, and tourists.
Fiskars is only an hour away from Helsinki and is an ideal location for a day trip. It can be easily reached by car, or by connecting through the nearby town of Karjaa by train or express bus.
A large part of the village’s charm comes from the old buildings, including the villas, former factories, and granary, many of them now restored as shops and cafes. All of these, surrounded by lakes and woodland, create a pleasant atmosphere for strolling around and relaxing.
Some of these old buildings have been refurbished as hotels for visitors, combining classical buildings with modern comforts. Hotel Tegel, for one example, is located in a former cutlery mill dating from 1888, which was later used as an office space by the Fiskars corporation. Now the old red brick building contains rooms with modern Scandinavian design styles. You can find more suggestions for hotels at Fiskars’ official website.
There are quality restaurants and cafes in the former industrial buildings too, making good use of ingredients from the surrounding Finnish farmland. Laundry Café sells homemade food and local beers and ciders, and also contains an exhibition space and live music. Café Antique is a family run café which sells delicious cakes, the most famous being their cinnamon buns, which use a recipe from the owner’s mother.
The community of artists also means there are always plenty of activities going on so that they can showcase their work. This includes regular art exhibitions, public art displays, food fairs, and workshops. For something a little different, there are always plenty of sporting opportunities in and around the village, including kayaking, cycling, hiking, pony trekking, fishing, and skateboarding. Christmas is an especially good time to visit Fiskars, both for the winter atmosphere and a chance to buy unique handmade gifts, food, and decorations, and warm up in the cafes afterwards.