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IASSIST/IFDO 2009: Tampere, Finland May 26th-May 29th, 2009

Printed from http://www.fsd.uta.fi/iassist2009/

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latest update 2009-05-20

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find maps of Tampere and Finland?
Tourist information?
Do I need a visa to visit Finland?
Which languages are spoken in Finland?
How can I find my way to and around Tampere?
What's the University of Tampere like?

Where and when does the conference registration take place?
Conference T-shirts?
Conference poster?
E-mail, word-processing, printing?
Where to photocopy?
Currency and customs in Finland
Banks, credit cards and money exchange
Time zone in Finland
Electricity in Finland
Weights and measures in Finland
Emergency and Medical Services
Telephones in Tampere

What's Finnish food like?
Can I drink tap water?
Restaurants
Bars
Are tips expected?
Where and when can I do some shopping?
Bookshops
Supermarkets
Post Office
Opening hours?
Drinking and smoking regulations
Buying alcohol in Finland
Swimming/Sports facilities
Taxis
City buses
Driving in Tampere (and in Finland)
Parking when you done with driving? New!
I'd like to walk around Tampere. Anything I should know?
Safety in Tampere
What will the weather be like?
Local news and newspapers (in English)
Where can I play pool?
Do I have to bath in a sauna in Finland?

Where can I find maps of Tampere and Finland?

For Tampere maps see Maps and Guides; for maps of Finland, visit Visit Finland.

Tourist information?

The Tampere Tourist Information (GO Tampere) is located at the Railway station (street address Rautatienkatu 25 A). Their website gives lots of practical information about Tampere and Tampere region. Visit Finland is the official travel and tourism guide by the Finnish Tourist Board.

Do I need a visa to visit Finland?

Citizens of Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and citizens of Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland and Schengen Agreement countries can enter Finland with a valid passport or a valid identity card. All other nationalities require a valid passport. Visa is generally not required. Check the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs site for further details. Participants planning a trip across the border to Russia must have a visa. It is advisable to get it at the Embassy of Russia in your own country, because it takes at least eight weekdays to obtain a visa in Helsinki.

Which languages are spoken in Finland?

The official languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Tampere is a Finnish speaking city. English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Tampere (and the rest of Finland). English will be spoken at hotels, restaurants, shops, museums etc. In the street, you may bump into people with no command of the language, and your bus or taxi driver may not be fluent in English, but especially younger people usually speak English quite well.

How can I find my way to and around Tampere?

See Arrival Instructions. The City of Tampere is compact, most amenities being within walking distance (but see what pedestrians should know). The Tampere Hall as well as the city centre are within walking distance of all the conference hotels. The workshops will be held on Tuesday at the University Library and Social Sciences Building (Linna), located a stone's throw away from Tampere Hall.

What is the University of Tampere like?

The University of Tampere embraces many fields of science and its research profile is extensive and multidisciplinary. There are six faculties and nine independent institutes, of which FSD is one. The University of Tampere is the biggest provider of higher education in Finland for social sciences and the accompanying administrative sciences. Some 15,000 students are currently pursuing degrees at the University of Tampere. Every year approximately one thousand master's degrees and one hundred doctoral degrees are produced. The personnel number about 2,200. For further information, see University of Tampere website and Campus maps.

Where and when does the conference registration take place?

Conference registration will begin on Tuesday, May 26, at 8am. The registration desk is in the entrance foyer of Tampere Hall. Registration will be open on Tuesday until 2pm and all day (8am - 5pm) on Wednesday through Friday.

Conference T-shirts?

Cool blue conference T-shirts will be available in a variety of sizes for purchase at the registration desk at Tampere Hall. Prices will be announced shortly.

Conference poster?

  • Landscape: JPG (75 KB), TIFF (128 KB)
    Portrait: JPG (61 KB), TIFF (122 KB)
    Ask for black & white versios or other formats.
    Poster with the theme text will be available later.

E-mail, word-processing, printing?

There will be a couple of computers set up at service desks near the registration in Tampere Hall for preparing presentations, e-mail, word-processing and printing. A few computers are also available for e-mail and Internet access near the registration desk during the conference hours. Free wireless network is available at Café Soolo (Entrance level of Tampere Hall.) The Information Desk sells 30-minute vouchers for wireless network access at other areas.

Where to photocopy?

There is a copying service at Tampere Hall (0,20 e/copy). Another option is to use the copy machines and printers at the University Library. Library copying cards can be bought at Circulation on the first floor. Card prices vary depending on the number of copies.

Currency and customs in Finland

Finland is a participant in the European single currency, so its monetary unit is the euro (EUR, €), divided into 100 cents (» currency converter). For Customs Regulations, see Finnish Customs Passenger Information.

Banks, credit cards and money exchange

Finnish banks are open on weekdays from 10:00am to 4:15pm. All banking services are available at branches of banks such as Sampo, Nordea Bank Finland, OKO Bank Group Osuuspankki and Ålandsbanken. ATMs for cash withdrawal are fairly widespread and marked by an orange sign "OTTO". Nearest ATMs to conference venue are at Tullintori shopping centre. Most major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard and EuroCard can be used for payment in most shops and restaurants. Foreign currency and travellers' cheques can be exchanged in banks and exchange offices, including Forex at the Department Store Stockmann, Hämeenkatu 4.

Time zone in Finland

Time in Finland is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The time difference between Eastern U.S. Standard Time and Finnish Standard Time is 7 hours. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is in effect as in the rest of the European Union. Finland is always one hour ahead of Central European Time (CET) and two hours ahead of time in the UK and Ireland. (See The World Clock - Time Zone Converter.) The 24-hour timetable is usually followed, so shop signs might read, for example: 10.00-21.00 (meaning 10 am to 9 pm).

Electricity in Finland

The electric current in Finland is 220 V (230 V), 50 Hz. A two-pin plug system, familiar throughout continental Europe, is used. Adapters are available in airport shops.

Weights and measures in Finland

Finland converted to the metric system in 1880. (Don't expect people to remember any old units!)

Emergency and Medical Services

112 is the national phone number for all emergency services, including police, and it does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you're using. The number works on any mobile phone, whether it is keylocked or not, and with or without a SIM card.
Doctor on call tel. 100 23 or from mobile (03)3147 0023 every day 7.00am-10:00pm.

Telephones in Tampere

Mobile phones are ubiquitous in Finland. GSM 900/1800 and 3G networks blanket most of the country, although it's still possible to find wilderness areas without coverage, typically in Lapland and the outer archipelago. Public telephones are close to extinction in Finland, although a few can still be found at airports, major train/bus stations and the like. Most telephone booths require a special telephone cards that can be purchased at kiosks, some work with credit cards. The telephone area code for Tampere is 03. If you dial from abroad, first dial the code for Finland (358) and then the area code without 0, then dial the subscriber number (for example: +358-40-190 1432). To dial out of Finland, use either 990, 994, 999 or 00, followed by your country code.

What's Finnish food like?

In summer new potatoes, fresh vegetables, salmon, whitefish and Baltic herring are among the Finnish treats on offer. Mushrooms and game figure prominently later in the autumn. Cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberries are often served for dessert. In winter fish, such as burbot, whitefish and other members of the salmon family, often hauled from under the ice covering the sea and lakes, remains popular. Each region has its own traditional dishes, dictated by local preferences and based on the type of produce most readily available. The most traditional dish in Tampere is the "mustamakkara", a black sausage, best when bought and eaten hot and fresh with lingonberry jam and milk at market stalls in Tammelantori marketplace.

Can I drink tap water?

Yes. Tap water is safe to drink in Finland.

Restaurants

Restaurants have no general requirements as to dress, although some up-market establishments may prefer men to wear jacket and tie. Closing hours vary from 10pm to 3am (night clubs are open until three or four in the morning). In general Finns have their breakfast at 7-10am, lunch 11am -1pm and dinner at 5-8pm. See the printed Local Guide or the restaraunt guide Huviopas.

Pubs and Bars

See the printed Local Guide.

Are tips expected?

Tipping culture is almost non-existent in Finland, although it has become slightly more common recently. Service charges are included in hotel room rates, restaurant and taxi prices, so tips are not expected, but can be given if you think the service has been especially good.

Where and when can I do some shopping?

Tampere has a good selection of special shops, small boutiques, department stores and shopping centres, most of which are located in the heart of the city within easy walking distance. Near Tampere Hall is the small Tullintori shopping centre. Department store Stockmann is located at Hämeenkatu 4 near the railway station, and Koskikeskus shopping centre is near the Tammerkoski rapids next to Sokos Hotel Ilves. General department store opening hours are (local and seasonal variations apply): weekdays 9am-9pm, Saturdays 9am-6pm and noon-21pm on Sundays. On some Sundays and public holidays shops are closed. Smaller shops tend to close at 5-6pm on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays. The only currency accepted is Euro. Major credit cards are generally accepted in hotels, restaurants, larger shops, and department stores. Visa Electron is also accepted in many shops and department stores. See Tourist Information Office's Shopping Guide.

Bookshops

Probably the best bookshop is Akateeminen kirjakauppa (Academic Bookstore, street address Hämeenkatu 6). Other bookshops: Suomalainen kirjakauppa (Hämeenkatu 5 and Koskikeskus Shopping Centre); Info kirjakauppa (Koskikeskus Shopping Centre).

Supermarkets

There is a small K-market in the Tullintori shopping centre near Tampere Hall. A slightly bigger S-market is situated next to Tullintori in the Pendoliino building. A small grocery store at Railway Station Tunnel is open daily 6:30am - 11pm.

Post Office

The Main Post Office (Pääposti) is near the Railway station at Rautatienkatu 21. Department stores and many shops sell stamps, too. Post boxes are dark yellow and there's one in front of the Tampere Hall.

Opening hours?

Late May is still considerd spring time in Finland and thus many museums, amusement parks, lake cruises, and summer attractions still operate on reduced opening hours. On the other hand, places like libraries that may close for summer have not yet done so. However, theatre season has just ended and summer theatres have not yet begun their season, so you may have to forget this art form during your stay.

Drinking and smoking regulations

Drinking alcohol in public places is prohibited. Smoking is not permitted indoors in public buildings and other places open to the public (including restaurants and bars), except in designated smoking zones. In many bars there is no service in smoking areas.

Buying alcohol in Finland

The retail sale of alcoholic beverages in Finland is a monopoly run by the state, taking place through the Alko stores. Beer and cider are also sold in supermarkets and other stores (but not before 9am). Alko stores are open from Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm (8pm), Saturdays 9am - 4pm (6pm). There's an Alko store for example in Stockmann Department Store, Hämeenkatu 4. A person aged 20 can buy any kind of alcoholic beverages from Alko. People aged 18 years can buy mild alcoholic drinks containing at most 22 per cent alcohol by volume, such as wines and beers. The sale of wine and spirits to the under-18s is prohibited by law. Customers may be asked to show a passport, identification card or driving licence as proof of age. Any person who has reached the age of 18 may buy alcoholic beverages in a restaurant. Restaurants serve beer from 9am and other alcoholic beverages from 11am. Service of alcohol ends half an hour before closing. The basic measure is 4 cl for spirits, 8 cl for fortified wines and 12 cl for table wines when ordered by the glass. Beer is generally served in third-of-a-litre bottles or half-litre draft measures. Not all restaurants are licensed to serve all alcoholic beverages. Prices are quite high due to the taxation (a single beer will cost you approx. 4-5 euros in a pub). See also Wikitravel.

Swimming/Sports facilities

See Tampere tourist office guide.

Taxis

Taxis can be hired from taxi stands, booked by telephone or sometimes hailed on streets. There's a meter indicating the fare and tips aren't expected. Tampere Area Local Cab Ltd. Closest stands to Tampere-talo: XXX

City buses

The blue and white buses of Tampere City Transport offer an extensive service network covering almost the entire city. A single ticket of 2 euros is valid for one hour inside the Tampere city limits. A Tourist Bus Card provides a simple and convenient way of paying the fare.

Driving in Tampere (and in Finland)

The Finnish drive on the right and overtake on the left. (Those familiar with F1 Racing know that the Finns overtake a lot!) Headlights should be used at all times. Speed limit in Tampere city centre is 40 km/h, in towns 50 km/h and on motorways 120 km/h. Law requires cars to stop for pedestrians in cross walks. There are no road tolls. Seatbelts are compulsory. Motorists should remain alert for elk and reindeer which frequently wander onto roads and are most active at dusk. The blood/alcohol limit in Finland is 0.05 and drunk driving laws are strict. See also Finnish Road Administration website.

Parking

There are two car parks near Tampere Hall, follow the P-signs from Yliopistonkatu. Bigger one of these is under Tullintori Shopping Mall (price less than €1/h). On-street parking is often difficult during the day time, and there are quite a few spots too where you'll be fined for parking. Hotels Holiday Inn and Ilves have parking halls for their guests, Victoria has a small parking lot. Sokos Hotel Villa uses the public parking hall next door. There are practically no guest parking at the university parking lot. Note: There are fairly extensive road and construction works and plenty of men and machines at work around Pinninkatu and Åkerlundinkatu area. Be prepared to detours and occasional trafic jams. Walking is faster!

I'd like to walk around Tampere. Anything I should know?

Walking is a great way to see Tampere. You'll find sidewalks practically everywhere, and pretty much everything is at walking distance. Note that you must stop when the red pedestrian light shows. Be aware of cyclists and cars. Law requires cars to stop for pedestrians in cross walks but many drivers will not slow down or stop for someone who is just passively standing there by the side of the road and waiting to cross by. Law requires also that if there's a car stopped at a cross walk, the other lanes must stop too, but you better not count on it. Stubbornly "exercising your rights as a pedestrian", by stepping right in without making sure that you will actually be noticed by the drivers is not a good strategy in Tampere.

Safety in Tampere

Tampere is generally a safe city. Pickpocketing may occur in crowded areas. While the chances of incidents are low, ladies are advised not to walk alone late at night in parks or dark streets. Don't engage in behaviour likely to risk trouble with the law such as drug taking or aberrant behaviour following excessive alcohol consumption.

What will the weather be like?

Expect irregular rains and summer light. It may be sunny and warm but then again, cool and rainy isn't uncommon either. Tampere: five day weather forecast by Finnish Meteorological Institute or by Weather Underground. Trust the one that promises better weather!

Local news and newspapers (in English)

Helsingin Sanomat International Edition
YLE News (YLE is the Finnish Broadcasting Company)

Where can I play pool?

Galaxie Center, Rautatienkatu 27 has 18 pool tables and 3 snooker tables and a restaurant. Several pubs have a table, too.

Do I have to bath in a sauna in Finland?

No, you don't have to, but if you don't, you'll regret it later! Sauna is a ritual, an institution, and an essential element of the Finnish way of life! It can also be very relaxing, exhilarating and enjoyable, and no visit to Finland is complete without sampling the Finnish sauna. If the idea of sitting naked (or wearing a swimsuit) in a heated chamber doesn't sound like your idea of a good time, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised. The sauna itself comes in various forms. The favourite with most sauna lovers is one with the wood burning sauna stove; usually a simple wooden hut in a lakeside or seaside with a small wooden jetty leading down to the water. Bathers occupy elevated benches, then splash scoops of sizzling water onto heated stones to generate steam ("löyly") and, in turn, perspiration. After a spell of perspiration, you then take a cooling dip in the lake before returning to the sauna and repeating the whole (life) cycle. The sauna "ceremony" is rounded off with a cold drink on the terrace or on the jetty. Join us on Friday evening and experience yourself!

Although bathing is best enjoyed naked rather than in towels and swimsuits, sauna has nothing to do with sex in Finland. In swimming pools and hotel saunas, for example, separate times or saunas are usually reserved for male and female bathers.

Read more about sauna: Sauna - A Finnish national institution and The Finnish Sauna Society.