Joensuu (Finnland)

Twin town relationships Hof - Joensuu

In 1969 Hof started the second twin town relationship, which by the way has become a twin town friendship. At that time people talked a lot about European integration. So it made sense to seek connection to a town in Europe. It took a lot of courage of the town council not to take Great Britain, France or Italy into consideration but to be interested in a country that – at least back then – was a European marginal phenomenon. Even if the distance between Hof and Joensuu, the capital of North Karelia, is considerably large, very soon many people started travelling.

In the meantime, hundreds of people have travelled to Hof and Joensuu and came back thrilled by the corresponding twin town. However, the Hofer people have always been the takers and the people from Joensuu the givers when it comes to language.

Street festival in Joensuu

Highlights of the relationship were events and celebrations on occasion of the 10-year or 20-year anniversary of the friendship. In 1980 Hof organized a “Finnish week” with as many as 19 events. The success was unexpectedly big. For the 15-year anniversary, Joensuu had a “Hofer week” and one hundred Hofer citizens took the special train to Finland to celebrate with the people of Joensuu.

Within Finland Joensuu is also well-known in cultural terms: here, „Ilosaarirock“ (one of the biggest Finnish rock festivals) has taken place every year since 1971.

The last years have been characterized by an active cultural exchange: the German-Finnish Club Hof have asked artists from Joensuu to give performances in Hof again and again. In 2010 when the 40-year anniversary was celebrated in Finland – not only official representatives but also many Hofer people were there.

Almost every Finnish family has a cottage by the lake which they also rent out.

Today the 70 000 citizens town, which is heavily influenced by rich Karelian traditions, calls itself “The forest capital of Europe”. That’s no surprise as Joensuu isn’t only located at the many Finnish lakes but also comprises an almost infinite woodland. Correspondingly, the lumber industry is one of the biggest in Scandinavia. Especially for those who want to relax and get away from the stress of everyday life, Joensuu and its area with its “Mökkis” (wooden cottages) at the lakeside is well worthwhile the trip.

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