There’s much more to modern shipbuilding than just welding sparks and the rustle of work overalls. It’s also about high tech, innovations, cutting edge engineering and pioneering solutions. Together, the Turku City Theatre musical, the Forum Marinum exhibition and the shipyard tours organised by Meyer Turku and Visit Turku weave a fascinating tale of the Turku of shipbuilders – its history and its future.

Turku is a city of shipbuilders, whose shipyards have employed the likes of former President Mauno Koivisto as well as several generations of working men and women. While there have been times when the fate of Turku’s shipyard hung in the balance, now the order book of the Meyer Turku shipyard is filled with orders far into the future, and the area is attracting scores of new employees.

The shipyard theme and the stories of shipbuilders can also be seen and heard in Turku’s cultural offerings in the autumn: on 15 September, Turku City Theatre’s renovated theatre building will serve as the stage for the European premiere of the Broadway musical The Last Ship, featuring music and lyrics by Sting. Directed by Mikko Kouki, this story from a fading shipbuilding yard could have well come from Turku, if things had gone just a little bit differently.

Meanwhile, Forum Marinum’s new exhibition, opening in November, will offer an introduction to the intricate and impressive history of shipbuilding in Turku and Finland as a whole. The exhibition will chronicle how the work of shipbuilders as well as ships and building methods have developed from the Middle Ages all the way to the present day. In addition to this, the exhibition will also offer interesting perspectives on Finnish ship design, which has garnered a considerable amount of international praise. In preparation for the upcoming exhibition, Forum Marinum will also be organising a free seminar aimed at everyone interested in shipbuilding on Saturday, 30 September, featuring presentations on the history and current state of shipbuilding by five experts from various industries.

Those interested in learning more about the shipbuilding industry of Turku and visiting the shipyard that has built some of the largest cruise ships in the world can do so on the guided Meyer Turku tours organised by Visit Turku. The tour starts at the Forum Marinum Maritime Centre with a look at the past and present of shipbuilding in Turku, followed by a bus tour of the Meyer Turku shipyard. Tours can be booked for groups through the Visit Turku sales service. The duration of the tour is approximately 2.5 hours. Age limit: 15 years.

Further information:

The Last Ship musical:
Forum Marinum's exhibition:
Meyer Turku tours: