Traditional Indonesian dances, foods enthral visitors in Helsinki

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Traditional Indonesian dances, foods enthral visitors in Helsinki

Traditional Indonesian dances, music and food attracted several thousands of people, who gathered at the Indonesia-Finland Festival held in Helsinki during the weekend.

The two-day festival was held at Lasipalatsin Aukio in Helsinki on June 15 and 16 marking the 70 years of Indonesia-Finland relations, said the organisers in a press release on Monday.

Many visitors gathered around the stage behind Amos Rex, where various traditional Indonesian dances and music were showcased.

The event peaked with a performance of musicians from DKI Jakarta playing energetic dangdut songs, which saw many Finnish attendees enthusiastically joining the dance on stage.

In addition to art performances, festival-goers shopped for Indonesian souvenirs and handicrafts, including batik cloth, woven rattan items, or necklaces.

The festival is an annual pre-summer affair, with Indonesian diaspora in Finland playing a pivotal role as organizer with support by the Indonesian embassy.

​​Ratu Silvy Gayatri, the Indonesian Ambassador to Finland and Estonia, expressed her delight at the audience's enthusiasm in the third edition of the Indonesia Finland Festival.

This annual festival aims to foster a better understanding of Indonesia among the Finnish population.

“I am really impressed to see how the audience has a really strong interest in our programme," said Silvy.

She emphasized the importance of Finns learning more about Indonesia, especially as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

Traditional Indonesian dances, foods enthral visitors in Helsinki

"Finland is well-known in Indonesia as the happiest country in the world; unfortunately, not many Finns know about Indonesia," she added.

According to the Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki, nearly 5,000 visitors enjoyed Indonesian food, watched art performances, and shopped at handicraft stands over the two days.

This year's Indonesia Finland Festival featured special guests: delegations of artists from the DKI Jakarta Culture Department, North Kalimantan Province, East Kutai Regency, and the City of Tomohon.

Highlights for the art performance at the center stage was DKI Jakarta dancer and musicians troupe, who performed four times in two days, and also Uyau Moris, traditional musician from Borneo Island who plays the Sape', a traditional guitar typical of the Dayak tribe, the majority tribe in North Kalimantan.

Moris also performed traditional Dayak throat singing in front of a very supportive Finnish audience.

"I feel that the audience was very enthusiastic because it is probably very rare for Dayak art to be displayed in Finland," he said.

As a symbol of Indonesian-Finnish collaboration, this festival also features Finnish musicians Suvi and Jouni Kotkavuori, performing under the moniker Virsipuu. They bring classic Finnish folk songs to life, playing traditional instruments like the kantele, as well as acoustic guitar and flute.

​Indonesia and Finland have been maintaining diplomatic relations since 1954 and share common values, such as democracy and sustainability. Just days before the festival, On June 13th, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her counterpart from Finland, Elina Valtonen, met in Helsinki. They discuss the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, especially in green energy and smart cities.

Finland is a key trading partner for Indonesia in the Nordic region, with trade between the two countries surpassing pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, their trade value reached $713 million, a 22 percent increase from 2019, according to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The first quarter of 2024 saw a further 40 percent increase of trade value compared to the same period in 2023.


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