Social Program

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Registration and Opening Ceremony

The conference registration and opening ceremonies will be held on Monday afternoon from 1600 to 1900 at the old Town Hall of Lappeenranta.

The old Town Hall, which is the oldest wooden town hall in Finland, was originally built in 1829 but its exterior is from the 1840s. It was traditionally the place for the municipal court and administration to convene. However, as with many other town halls before it, its use as a meeting place dwindled when the city's administration moved to the new City Hall in 1983. Because of its important place in the cityscape, in 1991, the Lappeenranta City Council decided to turn the old Town Hall into a showcase space to be rented out for only the most important occasions.  

The opening ceremonies will begin at 1800 and the conference proceedings will officially be opened by Ilkka Pöyhönen, Rector of Lappeenranta University of Technology.  

Conference Reception

Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 1830-2030 - Boat cruise – The Lake Saimaa archipelago and the Saimaa Canal. Experience the beautiful nature and unique archipelago of Lake Saimaa. The cruise will take you through two of the eight locks of the Saimaa Canal, which connects Lake Saimaa and the Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia. The canal is approximately 42.9 km long, of which 23.3 km is located on the Finnish side and the remaining 19.6 km on the Russian side. The difference between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Saimaa is 75.7 m. The first lock is located at Mälkiä and has the highest lift of all the locks on the canal. The level difference can reach up to 12.4 m.  

The Saimaa Canal  

Lock at Mälkiä

Conference Banquet

The restaurant Lappeenrannan Kasino will host the conference banquet on Wednesday evening from 1900 to 2230. Restaurant Kasino, located in the Lappeenranta harbour, is nearly 100 years old and offers a magnificent historic environment filled with the spirit of the past. Its two-storey wooden construction represents the typical Finnish architectural style of the time. The interior is spacious, yet cosy.  

Sauna evening

On Thursday evening, you will have an opportunity to try a traditional Finnish sauna. The sauna evening will take place at the university sauna, beautifully surrounded by a forest on the Saimaa shore. The event will start at 1830.  

The popularity of the sauna in Finland can be proven with statistics – in a country inhabited by approximately 5 million people there are 2 million saunas, out of which 1.2 million are in private homes. The sauna has a long history, going back at least a thousand years, probably more. Originally the sauna was a place to bathe, but as it was the only clean facility available with abundant water, it has also been a place for giving birth and healing the sick. With time, the sauna became a symbol of Finnish culture and an important part of the Finnish lifestyle.

At first, saunas were heated using a fireplace with no chimney. The fire heated the stones directly and the smoke exited the room through a small hole just below the roof. This type of sauna is often called a smoke sauna (in Finnish: savusauna). The difficulty of controlling an open fire indoors often caused saunas to burn down. In modern saunas, electrical sauna stoves are installed. This solution is much safer and easier to control. The stones remain, even on the new stoves, and are used to vaporize the water, spreading the heat evenly. An older solution still in fashion is a wood sauna stove. Many people prefer this traditional source of heat, as it gives a softer heat and a more traditional sauna experience.  

Typically, the sauna is heated up to 80-120 degrees Celsius. The amount of water vapor is controlled by the so-called sauna-major, who throws the water onto the hot stones on the stove. The vapor spreads around, intensifying the feeling of heat. If you are experiencing the sauna for the first time, you may choose to sit on the lowest bench where the temperature is lower. Experienced sauna goers always pick the highest possible place as close to the stove as possible. The general rules of the sauna are simple and can be formulated as follows:
  1. Take a shower before entering the sauna.
  2. Finns go to the sauna naked, but you may use a swimming suit if you wish.
  3. In public saunas, use a towel (if provided) to sit on.
  4. Spend a couple of minutes in the sauna, until you start to sweat profusely.
  5. After a session in the sauna cool yourself down in the lake, shower or snow.
  6. Please don't leave the sauna door open – otherwise the will heat escape.

In general, men and women use separate saunas. However, in a close group of friends or family, a mixed gender sauna is a typical custom. If you would like to know more about Finnish sauna traditions, visit the 'This is Finland' web site.  

Sauna and lake