The municipalities in the Turku region held a joint celebration for residents who received Finnish citizenship last year. The celebration was held at the Turku Volunteer Fire Brigade Building on 28 March.

The main speech of the event was delivered by Director Tuomas Martikainen from the Institute of Migration, while Vadim Bessonoff gave a speech from an immigrant's perspective.

During the celebration, Seppo Lehtinen, Chairman of the Turku City Council, presented certificates of honour to Paco Diop, the New Citizen of Turku 2017, as well as to the Multicultural Acts of the year: the Föli drivers who are new to Turku and the wide-ranging volunteer efforts of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi.

Entertainment was provided at the celebration by the dance group Dragún Irish Dancers, the vocal group Solace and Tuuli Mäkiranta. The event was hosted by ’Turun Flikka’ Pihla Koski.

The coffee table was set with traditional Finnish tastes, such as Karelian pasties with egg butter, small rye and malt breads with smoked salmon paste, a layered cake and a sweet roll wreath.

Turku as a pacemaker

Turku was the first municipality in Finland to hold a celebration in honour of its new citizens in 2004. The celebration has been held as a regional one since 2014. The idea for the celebration came from Hülya ‘Hissu’ Kytö, who has carried out groundbreaking work for immigrants for many years in Turku.

This year, inspired by the celebration held in Turku, the Ministry of the Interior, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the Finnish Immigration Service have recommended that all municipalities acknowledge their new citizens in line with the Finland 100 theme ‘Together’. Roughly 10,000 people receive Finnish citizenship every year.