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Sauna is now hot!

21.5.2024 | GENERAL

Sauna culture is a part of the Oulu2026 cultural programme and we took part in a sauna discussion event in Tartu on May 10–11. The aim is to set a world record for sauna bathing at the beginning of June. Sauna culture is now in high demand both here in Finland and elsewhere, so let’s throw more steam!

Oulun Rantasaunaseuran pop up -saunan edustajalla seuran edustajia ja Oulu2026-väkeä.

In the photo are Katri Kärkkäinen (left) and Piia Rantala-Korhonen from Oulu2026 and Katri Tenetz, Marko Asell, Jussi Pöllä and Kati Koivunen from Oulun rantasaunaseura.

Sauna discussions about peace in Tartu

Tallinn is a familiar city for many, but this year you should head to Tartu, one of the European Capitals of Culture this year. Oulu2026 was present on the sauna benches at the Naked Truth two-day sauna event in Tartu, on the shore of the Emajõgi River. The pop-up sauna by Oulun rantasaunaseura can be assembled and moved around with a trailer and it was one of the 15 mobile saunas put together at the beach for the event. Despite the chilly weather, the event attracted a lot of people. Many wanted to try every sauna, and there was a possibility to refresh oneself by dipping in the river.

Hannele Valkeeniemi, Director of the Estonian Institute in Finland, started to brainstorm the event after visiting Kesän Sauna (Sauna of Summer), a floating wood-burning sauna in Oulu. The concept of sauna discussions is already familiar from the hot sauna discussions of Peace Machine in the Oulu2026 bid book, which were kicked off already in the autumn of 2021 in Pehkola. The goal is to learn to talk to each other constructively while listening to others and to disagree on issues without crossing swords. The discussions borrow the Timeout method developed by the Timeout-Foundation, which has been modified to suit the sauna benches. In the harsh heat conversations are condensed, eventually even the words run out, and the peaceful atmosphere of the sauna unites the people sweating on the benches.

Peace was discussed in the sauna, a topic that is even more current today than was anticipated when the Peace Machine was planned. The Peace Machine wants to reunite people, act as a counterforce to hate speech, cyberbullying and fake news. One dictator can start a war, but it takes each and every one of us to maintain peace. In the age of faceless calling out on social media, it is a good idea to stop and take a look in the mirror and think about how one could meet other people more appreciatively in conversations.

The mobile Oulu2026 pop-up sauna from Tuira

For the event, actives of Oulun Rantasaunaseura Marko Asell and Jussi Pöllä designed and built a sauna that can be taken apart and re-assembled. The material of the sauna is birch plywood, and its steams can accommodate around ten sauna bathers at a time. In Tartu, sauna discussions were conducted by Kati Koivunen and Katri Tenetz. According to them, peace-themed discussions are well suited for saunas, and they will be continued in some form also in Oulu. The Oulu2026-sauna can be tried no later than during Oulu Days in September. There have been a lot of inquiries and the sauna might also be seen in next year’s European Capital of Culture in Chemnitz, Germany. And, of course, in 2026 in Oulu!

Come and set a world record for sauna bathing

Do you want to be involved in setting a world record for sauna bathing? Visit Estonia, the Finnish Sauna Society, Visit Finland and the International Sauna Federation challenge everyone to sauna benches on International Sauna Day. The world record is set when a record number of people on International Sauna Day state they have been sauna bathing at the Facebook page of the record. The record will be set between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on June 8. You can sign up for the record in advance here (opens in a new tab), in which case you will receive a record link with reminders directly to your email.

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Sauna culture is a part of the Oulu2026 cultural programme and we took part in a sauna discussion event in Tartu on May 10–11....

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