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Sauna dreams and dream saunas


People in the sauna hut of the Central Library sigh with content. That’s some great sauna steam! A wood-heated sauna stove sends out heat in the middle of a yurt sauna and soon receives another scoop of water. Soft but firm sauna steam caresses sauna-goers sitting on wooden benches, until they just have to take a dip. Töölönlahti, with its summer atmosphere, basks in the sun as the sauna-goers boldly descend into the cool water. “Wonderful!” they yell out in unison. And it is indeed wonderful.

The Central Library’s yurt sauna at Töölönlahti invites people to dream bold dreams. Who could imagine going to the sauna in a library? And still, here we are right now, going to sauna in the dream sauna of the Central Library! Nothing is impossible! The sauna also reminds people of a sense of community, a common city and shared experiences. On the sauna bench, you can have a relaxed conversation with complete strangers.

Sauna and civilisation!

The sauna is one of the core characteristics of what it means to be a Finn, as is the ability to read. Töölönlahti, on other hand, is one of the core locations in Helsinki. In fact, can you establish a library without building a sauna in it? At least the sauna-goers at Töölönlahti feel that a rooftop sauna at the Central Library would certainly attract foreigners to come and gaze at it in wonder. “Sauna and civilisation!” people in the steam bath yell out.

The yurt sauna makes many passers-by stop and has tourists marvel at it. The sauna bathers do not mind. Many of them go to the sauna and have a swim several times. Off and on, they laze around on the pier or in a sun chair. Nobody wants to leave when their allotted one hour is up, and it is time to make room for the men.

Hard Book Café offers refreshment for those thirsting for a read

How fortunate that you can continue to laze about in such beautiful weather at the Hard Book Café next to the sauna! A refreshing ice tea and a randomly chosen ‘book drink’ arrive at the table. The literary drink is consumed by reading it, and this time it includes fascinating photographs of the early history of the City of Helsinki. The atmosphere is almost devout, when the past and the future meet here, on the terrace of the Central Library’s sauna at Töölönlahti.

Sauna-goers and terrace guests left their own library dreams fluttering in the tree of dreams. According to the dreamers, the Central Library should have at least the following:

  • An art room for various fields of art
  • A canoe rental shop that takes the library card
  • A tranquil book garden: a relaxed patio garden
  • Literary love nests for library lovers
  • Singing by tropical birds
  • Old material: a trip to nostalgia
  • Cows and sheep in front of Finlandia Hall
  • Hammocks
  • A round reading room
  • An art rental shop
  • Princess dresses
  • and of course a sauna and sauna-proof magazines and books!


Text: Siru Valleala
Photos: Helsinki City Library


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