White nights, midsummer magic, old traditions and Finnish folklore. I ran into all of those on Midsummer day in Seurasaari Open-Air Museum located just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. We head there with my family with the idea to take it easy, enjoy the surrounding nature, grill some food, have a look at the gorgeous buildings and feed local – overwhelmingly friendly – squirrels. At the end we managed to do all of this, plus dance some tango and jenkka with the marvelous ladies and gentlemen dressed in national costumes! Birch trees, maypoles and anadems where like the cherries on top. My most traditional and “authentic” Midsummer ever!
The museum was founded in 1909 by Professor Axel Olai Heikel with the idea to protect old houses representing different construction styles from all over the Finland by bringing them to Helsinki. Today there are 87 separate buildings on the island. Some of my favorites are Karuna church from 1680’s (below) and Ivars (above) where the czar Alexander I was supposed to stay during his visit to Finland, Närpiö, in 1819.