Rovaniemi, with the population of ca. 60,000 people, is situated in the north of Finland, a few kilometres away from the Arctic Circle (there you can cross the Arctic Circle and get a certificate). Rovaniemi, since 2006 the biggest city of Finland, is the heart of economic and trade center of the Finnish Lapland, attracting tourists by exotic nature. 90% of the city was destroyed by the Germans during the last war. It was rebuilt according to the project by an outstanding Finnish architect Alvar Alto and became an important tourist centre and a starting point for those who set off to far North. It is popular not only among children as the residence of Santa Claus.
About the cooperation:
• The partner cooperation between Olsztyn and Rovaniemi in the 1970s and 1980s focused on the exchange of official delegacies and artistic ensembles.
• In 1983, the city at the Arctic Circle welcomed the Olsztyn Pantomime – one of the most interesting Polish amateur theatres – that staged “Apocalypse” and “Banquet”. A few days later, during Polish Culture Days, the Olsztyn mimes presented two plays in Oulu, Jyraskyla and Helsinki. The performances of that amateur deaf theatre made waves in Rovaniemi and all over Finland. Three years later the Olsztyn Pantomime was invited to a three-week tournée through Finland, staging “Apocalypse” in the cities of Kotka, Kouwola, Lahti, Tampere, Jyraskyla, Turku, Espo and Vanta.
• In 1994 Olsztyn and Rovaniemi held a conference of the sister cities to reconsider their mutual obligations.
• In 1995 the City Council of Rovaniemi invited 23 children from the Olsztyn Centre for Special Education, which was possible thanks to the funds of the European Union. That initiative crowned 20 years of close contacts of the two cities.
• A cooperation between Olsztyn and Rovaniemi was awarded “Gol-den Star of Town Twinning”.
• In 1998 students from Rovaniemi vi-sited Olsztyn for the firsttime.Theirstaywas subsidised by the European Union.
• In December 1996 Santa Claus, enthusiastically greeted by children, paid his first visit to Olsztyn. Especially moving. Especially moving was a visit of the Lapland guest to the Olsztyn Children’s Home in Korczak Street. Five years later, in 2001, he visited Olsztyn again.
Another visit took place in December 2007 when the mayor of Rovaniemi – Mauri Gardin and Santa Claus – came to our city at the invitation of the President of Olsztyn. They agreed as to the further cooperation whereas Santa Clause visited Children’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital and met students of the Educative Centre as well young participants of the Santa Clause competition organised by Abecadło Multimedia Library. He was also a guest of honour at the event “Safe Christmas with Santa Claus” taking place in Urania sports hall.
Rovaniemi – Finlandia: