In Finland, free time is often spent with hobbies.
Hobbies are usually offered in abundance regardless of the size of the municipality you are living in. In Vaasa you will find many options to find something to do on your free time. The most common hobbies include sports activities, playing music as well as various courses in adult education centres, and outdoor activities. You can also do volunteer work, which might be useful as work experience in your resumé (CV).
Hobbies often cost something, but are rarely very expensive. You can go to hobbies alone or meet other people as well. You can also visit museums, theatres, movies, as well as other events where you will surely find like-minded company.
If you want to try a new hobby with a low threshold, you can look at the course options at the Adult Education Centre Alma.
Why is it worthwhile to have a hobby?
A hobby provides an opportunity to get to know new people. All enthusiasts share a common interest, around which it is easy to get together, have a conversation and get to know each other. Having a hobby increases well-being. At the same time, you maintain your own health and fitness. Everyone is sure to find their own hobby that is nice to go to and from which you get pleasure and joy in your everyday life.
As a newcomer in Finland, you have to work on creating a broad local network in order to have access to the hidden job market. You will find more opportunities when you have a good network. If you are interested in a specific job field, you might even find an association to join with likeminded.
On the website of City of Vaasa you will find a lot of information about what you could do in your free time.
City of Vaasa - Adult education centre courses
Adult education centres are educational institutions whose courses can be attended by anyone. It is easy to attend an adult education centre and there you can find courses for all ages from baby to grandpa. At an adult education centre, you will find a hobby in almost every field such as physical education, music, languages, hand skills, literature, theatre, art, photography, information technology, health and food. Registrations for the courses are in advance but you can also ask in the middle of the semester if there is room. Courses are relatively inexpensive and it is possible to get discounts on them. The adult education centre also often organizes interesting and free public lectures.
Get to know Alma Adult Education Centre and sign up for courses. Many courses are very popular and places can fill up immediately, so register in time. Registration for autumn courses begins in August and for courses for the spring term in December.
City of Vaasa - Cultural and library services
Vaasa City Culture Services organize many different events during the year. The biggest event is the annual Night of the Arts, when up to 30,000 people move around the center of Vaasa to take part in the enormous cultural offerings.
If you are interested in volunteer work, this is possible at Culture Services, e.g. around various events. Look for volunteer work on the this Culture Services page, where you can choose at which event you would like to volunteer, and contact the contact person of that event.
The library has books for children and adults in many languages. You can borrow books, music, movies or magazines for free. From the City Library of Vaasa you can find lots of other materials and equipment, that you can borrow for some time:
- seasonal tickets
- sports equipment
To borrow, you will need a library card. You can get it from the library. Remember to take a photo ID with you. The library card is free of charge. If you lose it, you will have to pay for a new card.
In the library, you can use public computers.
A library employee will be happy to help you.
The Ask Librarian service will answer any question. You can leave your questions using an online form. You will receive a reply to your email and it will be posted on the website.
On the website of the Vaasa City Library, you will find more information and you can search for books and materials.
Volunteering is suitable for people of all ages and you can participate almost everywhere, in small villages and large cities. At the same time, you can make new friends and maintain social networks. Volunteering brings joy and energy to life. Based on your own interests, you can choose a suitable cause such as helping the elderly and disabled, children’s hobby activities, relief work for the underprivileged, flea markets, hand skills and cooking. There is a constant search for volunteers in almost every organization, so you can connect directly with a suitable organization. Organizations are built around the same interest, whose activities you can usually participate in either as a member (by paying a membership fee) or as a volunteer.
At the Cultural Services of the City of Vaasa, it is possible to participate as a volunteer in various events or cultural activities, such as for example:
- Vaasa Wildlife nature film festival
- Vaasa Choir Festival
- Night of the arts
- ARMAS festival
- Vaasa LittFest literature festival
If you are interested, be in touch with the contact person of the event.
You can also act as a cultural friend at the city of Vaasa.
Volunteer work in associations
Here is a list of different associations that you can join and get to do volunteer work:
- The Red Cross, Vaasan suomalainen osasto and Vasa svenska avdelning.
- Vaasan Martat (a Finnish home economics organization)
- Vaasa Food Aid
- Hope Association
- MLL (The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare) Pohjanmaan piiri and Vaasan yhdistys
- Volunteer fire brigade in Vaasa
- MiB Mothers in Business
- Dog rescue Koiratarha Kulkuri
- Vaasa Cat house Kissatalo
In addition, the Voluntary Rescue Service VAPEPA operates in Vaasa, which is a network of more than 50 organizations and cooperation agencies.
Voluntary work through parishes
Volunteers are being sought for many tasks on the parishes’ website vapaaehtoistyo.fi. Keep an eye on the site if you’re looking for something meaningful to do.
Sports clubs and associations
You can engage in many sports, for example skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, martial arts, climbing, soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor ball, badminton, tennis, orienteering, dancing, yoga, gym, kettlebell, swimming and athletics.
When hobbies have an instructor, hobby activities usually have a fee. If you are unemployed, you can get a discount on the fee.
You can also enjoy many sports for free (for example skiing, ice hockey, ice ball and ice skating and swimming on the beach) or by paying a small entrance fee (for example swimming in a swimming pool or ground pool).
It is possible to rent and book a sports hall from the City of Vaasa (Finnish & Swedish) for your own exercise group or club.
Sports clubs offer different levels of hobby groups in different sports.Hobbies usually have a fee. The hobby fee often also includes insurance in case of accidents.
In Vaasa there are many local clubs that offers hobby opportunities. There is a list of sports clubs on this page (in Finnish). Ask for help and more information from Welcome Office, in order to find something of interest to you.
In Vaasa you will find very versatile opportunities for outdoor exercise. You can find more information on the city’s website.
There are many outdoor sports areas and sport fields in Vaasa, where you can play ball games or do athletics, and ice courts where you can play ice hockey and skate in winter.
Outdoor sports areas for different sports on Vaasa’s webpage (Finnish & Swedish).
Local sports areas, which are usually in schoolyards on Vaasa’s webpage (Finnish & Swedish). These are usually only accessible in the evenings.
Sports venues can be checked and booked here (Finnish & Swedish).
Music, crafts and art
At Kuula-Opisto in the City of Vaasa, playing and singing lessons, music coaching and ballet dance are organized especially for children, but also for adults. The lessons always begin in the autumn, and the application period is usually already the previous spring, in April. See more information on Kuula-Opisto’s website.
The Parish Unions also organize music lessons (in Finnish) with low threshold. In Vaasa’s Finnish Parish union, you can participate in choir activities, for example. Choir singing has been researched to have health benefits.
In the Rokkikoulu (Eng: school of Rock) at the City of Vaasa Youth Services, young people between the ages of 13 and 17 can enjoy playing pop and rock music.
CRAFT AND ART
Basic education in arts for children is offered by TaiKon at City of Vaasa. Children and youngsters can get an enjoyable hobby in art activities. At TaiKon, one can enjoy circus or theatre art, crafts, visual arts, dance and media art. In summer time, TaiKon also organizes summer camps.
Adults can enjoy handicrafts and art at Adult Education Centre Alma. Registration for courses always starts in August or December. Many courses are very popular and can fill up as soon as registration opens, so stay alert and register early.
At the Vaasan taitokeskus (Finnish) you can find handicraft courses and workshops.
Nature and leisure activities
Nature is very important to Finns. Many Finns thrive in nature, for example by hiking or picking berries. Everyman’s rights are respected in Finland. According to them, people can move freely in the nature and you do not need the landowner’s permission for everything. There are also responsibilities associated with roaming around in nature.
NATURE IN VAASA
In the Vaasa region, the Kvarken archipelago is constantly changing due to land uplift. Because of this, it has been calculated that in 2000 years you will be able to walk to the Swedish side.
In VaasaFor example, you can fish or do excursions on nature trails. There are several play grounds for children. In sports fields, for example, you can play ball games. In winter, for example, you can skate on ice rinks.
On the pages of NatureVaasa you can find a lot of information about Vaasa’s nature and various hiking destinations.
Are you looking for activities in nature? In the Vaasa region, for example, you can go on an archipelago cruise, a water park, kayaking, snorkeling, skateboarding, or take a walk on one of the ten nature trails in the area. See different options on City of Vaasa pages.
In Finland fishing is a hobby with a fee. You need a fishing permit to be allowed to fish. Sometimes permission from the owner of the water area is also required. You can pay and buy the fisheries’ management fee and permits for fishing in state-owned waters from the Metsähallitus Eräluvat service here. You can buy a fishing permit for a private water area from a local joint property management association, they are often sold at a local gas station.
However, for angling (hook and line), you do not need a fishing permit. A fishing rod is a fishing tool that does not have a coil. It has a bait worm or fish. Ice fishing, which is fishing on frozen lakes in winter, is also allowed. If you are under the age of 18 or over 64 years old, you will not need any kind of fishing permit.
Read more about permits for fishing in state-owned waters from ahven.net
The majority of Finns are Christian, and the largest religious community is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which comprises about 70% of the population. The Finnish Orthodox Church is the second largest religious community. Just over 1% of the population belongs to the Orthodox Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church have special status in Finland. For example, they are entitled to levy the tax.
List of a few churches and religious groups in Vaasa:
- Finnish and Swedish-speaking Evangelical Lutheran churches operate in Vaasa:
Playgrounds of the City of Vaasa
There are several playgrounds in Vaasa, where bigger children can come to play with each other and smaller children with their parent or other adult. Play grounds are free of charge.
You can find all playgrounds in Vaasa here.
You can swim for free on the swimming beaches in Vaasa. The official swimming season is from 15 June to 31 August. During that time, the authorities monitor the water quality of the beaches.
You can find more information on the swimming beaches from webpages of City of Vaasa. You can also find a map service where the swimming beaches are marked.
Finnish holidays, cuisine culture and others
1.1. New Year’s Day
6.1. The Epiphany
March-April: Good Friday and Easter Days
1.5. May Day
May: Ascension Thursday and Pentecost
May 2nd Sunday: Mother’s Day
Saturday between June 20 and 26: Midsummer Day
Saturday between October 31 and November: All Saints’ Day
November 2nd Sunday: Father’s Day
6.12. Independence Day
24-25.12. Christmas Eve and Day
26.12. Boxing Day
More information about the holidays can be found on InfoFinland pages.
Finns eat fairly typical European food, which is most often meat, fish, potatoes, rice or pasta. Vegetarian dining has become increasingly popular. It is customary to eat two warm meals a day, lunch and dinner. In Finland, adults also often drink milk.
Lunch is eaten in Finland earlier than in many other countries. At the workplace and schools, lunch is usually from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. General dinner time is at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
In Finland, the healthiness of food is often emphasized. Among other things, rye bread and various porridge are an important part of Finnish food culture. Different areas of Finland have different food cultures. For example, a lot of reindeer meat is eaten in Lapland while fish is eaten on the coast. Then again, food culture is changing. Italian pasta and Asian food cultures, for example, also appear in Finland.
In day care and schools, food is provided for children and young people. School food is free for everyone and you don’t have to take your own packed lunch to school.
A lot of coffee is drunk in Finland. For example, coffee is almost always available at celebrations. At workplace meetings, there is often coffee.
Alcoholic beverages are quite expensive in Finland and there are age limits to buying them. Only the milder drinks can be purchased at the grocery store. Strong alcoholic beverages are purchased at state-regulated Alko stores. Driving a car under the influence of alcohol is prohibited by law and can be subject to severe punishment.
Eating at a restaurant is often more expensive in Finland than in many other countries. Also, alcoholic beverages are expensive in restaurants. You do not have to leave a tip unless you want to give praise for an excellent service.
GET TOGETHER NETWORK
On the pages of the Get Together -network of the Talent Coastline Employment project (May 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022), you will also find introductions to volunteer activities and tips on how to survive the dark time of winter.