On a worldly scale, Helsinki is not an extremely busy metropolis, but still every now and then I feel like I need a break from the hectic urban life. Luckily we do have plenty of beautiful and peaceful places to visit in the Helsinki region. Recently, however, I decided to take one step further out of the Helsinki bubble and visited the cozy Fiskars Village, in Raseborg, a one and a half hour bus ride away from Helsinki.
Fiskars Village is built around an ironworks that was founded in 1649. In the seventeenth century the parish of Pohja, where Fiskars Village is located, became the center of iron manufacturing in Finland, because of its important natural resources such as wood and water power. In the 80s the manufacturing was transferred to Billnäs because the ironworks of Fiskars could not offer big enough settings for the growing industry, but Fiskars Village remained as a center of local design and later also artworks, handicraft, and local food production. Today Fiskars Corporation is an international company selling functionally designed products for home, garden, and outdoors. Fiskars Village, in turn, is still a home for various designers, artists, and local food producers.
Fiskars is a perfect day trip destination for those who want to experience how the historical settings of the ironworks have become a center of what we today could call “slow life”. The pace is slower. In restaurants and cafés they know by name who made the cheese in your sandwich or which herbs the beer maker next door put in his newest organic beer. In the small shops along the main street you can find the artisans finalizing their newest piece while chatting with visitors. The beautiful nature makes you want to take a peaceful walk around the village. And by stepping in to Fiskars museum you can travel in time and see how much, but at the same time how little, Fiskars Village has changed during the hundreds of years since the ironworks was established.
When I visited the place, Fiskars Village hosted a Slow Food Festival, and I got the opportunity to take part on a guided tour organized by Visit South Coast Finland and Slow Food Västnyland. It was fascinating to get to know the “slow food” in its original environment, not through an urban retail store. We got to try some berry ice cream from Sjundby made of berries from the surrounding forests and gardens. We met the owner of the local beer brewer Rekolan Panimo, who told us about his new branching. He had bought a cheese dairy with some friends. The only problem was that none of them knew how to make cheese. The problem was easily solved by hiring a professional cheese maker from France, and since July it has been possible to get some high quality “farmer cheese” from Fiskars Village. Only the cheese itself is a reason for everyone to visit Fiskars Village. So delicious!
Besides the Slow Food Festival, Fiskars Village hosts different events all year round. How about tackling the dark season by visiting Fiskar’s light festival Tuli & Valo 24.10-21.11.2015? Or doing some gift shopping when “Cristmas arrives to Fiskars Village” 21.11.2015-3.1.2016? Fiskars can be reached from Helsinki by taking a train to Karjaa (see VR‘s website for tickets and schedules) and then a bus to Fiskari (see Matkahuolto‘s website for tickets and schedules. During the Christmas season, there will also be a direct bus connection from Helsinki to the village.