Director's Greetings: January – a month of cultivating hope?

A person taking selfie in an etrance hall, wearing black shoes, coat and a purse, grey scarf and light pink coloured beanie, two laps on the wall in the background
Laura Boxberg, Director

Last autumn was my first at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux. I was delighted to be greeted by a brilliant staff, the vibrant city of Brussels, and many exciting projects. Three months flew by in no time and by December we were again facing new restrictions, rules and regulations. But as an optimist, I cannot help but look ahead at 2022 with hope, enthusiasm and energy. 

This year our programme kicks off with a special tribute to film. Last year was a milestone moment for Finnish feature films. Juho Kuosmanen's Compartment no. 6 and Khadar Ayderus Ahmed's Guled and Nasra won both critical acclaim and the hearts of audiences. Now audiences in Brussels have the opportunity to enjoy a long ride in a tiny Russian sleeping car when the Polarise – Nordic Film Nights festival opens with Compartment no. 6 this week. 

Our institute's main goal is to create opportunities for artists and organisations to expand their new projects and explore new avenues of collaboration. In 2022 we are bringing a group of Finnish visual arts professionals to the Netherlands to provide an overview of the contemporary visual arts scene, while also mapping possible collaborations for future projects. The call for applications opens at the beginning of February, so stay tuned.  

Language courses are a major part of our offering, and after moving our classes online, we have had new students attending from all over Europe. Would you like to brush up your Finnish skills? Or learn the basics? Advanced courses resume in February and new beginners’ courses will start in September.

Until August 2022, our institute will hold the presidency of EUNIC Brussels – the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture – local cluster. What kind of collaboration is going on in Europe’s cultural field and what kind of opportunities does EUNIC offer to artists and cultural organisations? These are questions we will examine in further detail in our upcoming newsletters. 

Last but not least, we are pleased to welcome three new staff members to the institute! We are sad to say goodbye to our wonderful Hanna, but we bid a warm welcome to our new Communication Officer Ela, who will be taking over the institute's communications in January. Interns are an important part of our team, and we are excited to welcome Sonja from Finland and Chloé from France to Brussels and the Rue de l'Arbre office. 

We’re feeling hopeful about 2022 – let’s welcome it together! 

Laura