As we’re getting closer to 8th World Conference of Science Journalists, the most important global event for the science journalists, communication professionals and media officers, the focus of these newsletters will turn more to the practical issues: travel to Helsinki is nothing special when comparing it to any other western European capital, but like always, there are some things that are good to know beforehand (currency, electricity, mobile networks, time zone etc).
But first an important announcement to all who have not registered yet: the online registration will close on this Sunday, 16 June.
On-site registration is naturally also possible during the conference days 24-27 June 2013, at the registration desk, located in the lobby of the Porthania Building (ground floor).
From the registration desk you will receive your conference kit, name badge and information about the social programme, sponsored excursions and tours, if you have pre-registered for any. The procedure will be much faster, if you have done registration online – before this Sunday evening.
The Finns use euro (€ or EUR), the official currency of the eurozone. Euro is also in use in Estonia, one popular post-conference tour destination.
The euro is divided into 100 euro cents. There are notes issued in €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5, and coins in €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c. The smaller 2c and 1c coins are not in use in Finland and thus cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents. Certain shops refuse to accept high value euro notes.
All major credit cards are widely accepted.
Today’s exchange rate of euro against major currencies:
Latest excange rates are on the website of the Bank of Finland.
Finland is on Eastern European Time (EET), one hour ahead of Central European Time and two hours ahead of London. Finland uses now summer time.
When comparing to some other time zones Finland is…
Climate and weather in Helsinki
Helsinki’s climate is typical of its northerly situation. Its intermediate climate combines characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate.
The summer in Helsinki is bright. The days are at their longest in the second half of June, during our conference, when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours. All hotels do naturally have curtains and most of them have block the light totally, but the most sensitive persons may find a face mask useful.
Nightless night is magical, and usually it’s not the light, but the excitement that keeps the visitors awake during the nights!
June is also the warmest month of the year with an average temperature of +21.7°C (71°F). The maximum daytime temperature may reach +30°C (high 80′s in Fahrenheit), though the proximity of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic may channel sometimes – also during the summer months – cold winds to southern Finland and the temperature may stay around 15°C (60°F).
As the spring arrives in Helsinki usually sometime in April, the days grow rapidly longer and warmer, the summer is intense, people gather to the city and the nature blossoms all around.
This summer has been exceptionally warm up to now and the current long term weather forecast predicts mostly sunny weather and about 20°C (68°F) daytime and 12°C (54°F) night temperatures.
We advice to prepare for nice summer days, but it’s better to pack also a jacket or a fleece with you.
The general weather up to Lapland and around the Baltic sea is similar to southern Finland.
Finland uses 220-240V electricity and the electrical sockets (outlets) are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: the “Type C” Europlug and the “Type E/F” Schuko.
Most of the appliances can cope with 110-120V and 220-240V, but it’s better to double check all 110-120V electronics and bring (in addition to plug adapter) a step-down transformer if needed.
The country code for Finland is 358 and all GSM-900/1800 (EDGE), 900/2100 MHz UMTS HSPA and 1800/2600 MHz LTE (4G) mobile phones can be used in country’s three networks (Sonera, Saunalahti/Elisa and DNA). The coverage is very good in whole country. 4G is available mostly in urban areas.
There is a free WiFi network in Helsinki, see nextmesh.net/map for more info and coverage. The conference area has also a wifi, free for the conference participants. All conference hotels have good internet connections, most of them have wired and wifi options.
Customs regulations in Finland for both EU and non-EU travelers are controlled by the Finland Customs Department and are mostly similar to other EU countries.
The limits for alcoholic beverages are 1 litre of spirits OR 4 litres of wine OR 16 litres of beer. For tobacco the limits are 200 cigarettes or 250 grams tobacco per adult for non-EU citizens. Travellers living in the EU have no restrictions on tobacco, as long as it’s a sensible amount for personal use.
Typical travel items like clothes, cameras, and similar personal goods normal for the purpose of your visit can be taken through customs in Finland duty free, without having to be declared (= green customs line upon arrival in Finland, blue customs line for EU citizens). Going through one of those customs lines is for travellers without anything to declare, but customs does random checks. If they find something that should have been declared, you may be charged double the import tax.
Finland customs allows travellers to bring as much currency as they would like. There are no restrictions.
Travellers from the European Economic Area may bring personal prescription medicines (up to a one year supply) without a customs declaration. All others can bring a 90-day supply of personal prescription drugs to Finland. A formal doctor’s note may be requested by Finland customs officials. Like in many other countries, some types of narcotics are more highly restricted also in Finland.
Finland is part of the Schengen area and all travellers who are required to hold a visa must always be in possession of one when entering the Schengen area. Further information about the issuance of visas can be found on the website of the Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Questions? Good advice?
The WCSJ2013 organisers
WCSJ2013 is organised by Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists and the World Federation of Science Journalists with substantial aid from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and University of Helsinki.
The conference is generously supported by: