Helsinki strengthens its position as a world-leading host city for congresses and events with virtual Helsinki environments. Physical events held in Helsinki’s first-rate congress and event facilities are now easy to combine with high-quality virtual contents. Virtual Helsinki, produced in partnership with VR studio Zoan, comprises a set of virtual environments that the organizers of congresses, meetings and events can use in their own productions.

A virtual Helsinki experience markets Helsinki as a destination for future events and offers a new inspirational manner to experience the city. The virtual Helsinki environments currently available include Senate Square, The Three Smiths Statue, the island of Lonna and Finlandia Hall. The outdoor environments are available to congresses and events free of charge. Virtual Finlandia Hall comprises the Finlandia Hall main auditorium and Piazza, which are available for a reasonable fee.

“We believe that the Covid-19 pandemic brings permanent changes to the global event industry. Customers look for increasingly diverse opportunities to combine physical events and digital solutions. Helsinki is convinced that consumers are also increasingly aware of the climate impact of travel and want to make responsible choices. Helsinki has a great deal to offer in this competition,” says Leena Lassila, Director of Global Sales at Helsinki Marketing.

Finlandia Hall and University of Helsinki Great Hall accessible virtually

Participants need nothing more than a laptop computer or a smartphone to attend a Virtual Helsinki event; no VR headsets are required. Event organizers need a green screen studio to video their presenters.

“The virtual model of Finlandia Hall allows presentations to be made on the virtual stage of the Finlandia Hall main auditorium, exhibitions to be held at the virtual Piazza, and high-quality virtual concerts to be performed in the main auditorium,” says Finlandia Hall’s Marketing and Communications Director Minna Sauramaa, describing the new service, which markedly increases the competitiveness of Finlandia Hall in organizing especially international congresses and major events.

Another captivating virtual environment can be found at the University of Helsinki. The university has produced a virtual model of the main building’s Great Hall, which was used to organize virtual events during the university’s anniversary week in the spring of 2021.

“The virtual Great Hall can be used to record presentations and speeches by university leaders and as a setting for the opening speeches and keynote presentations of remote conferences,” says Tiina Kosunen, Head of Conference and Event Services at the University of Helsinki.

An international congress held in Virtual Helsinki

The 3D models of Virtual Helsinki enabled the organizers of the World Summit On Digital Built Environment to turn the congress, planned as a physical event in Helsinki, into a fully virtual event when Covid-19 paralyzed international travel. The two-day congress was held successfully in Virtual Helsinki in the autumn of 2020 for more than 500 participants from 27 countries, with 8 keynote presentations made from 6 different countries.

Virtual Helsinki is a digital twin of the city produced with 3D modelling. It is a concrete illustration of Helsinki’s digital competence. As the first city in the world, Helsinki utilizes simultaneously two new-generation 3D city models based on the latest methods of measurement, modelling and data modelling. “Virtual Helsinki has every opportunity to develop into a digital platform enabling business activities for an increasing number of service providers,” Leena Lassila continues.