President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio with their family arrived this week at Kultaranta, the President’s summer residence. The City of Naantali hosted a traditional welcoming reception for the presidential couple at Kilta jetty on Sunday, 5 June 2022. Like often before, a large number of city residents were present to wish the presidential couple welcome to sunny Naantali.
The presidential couple were welcomed at the Naantali marina by representatives of the City of Naantali and the Naantali Music Festival as well as hundreds of city residents and holidaymakers. At the beginning of the event, Leo Valkama, a pupil at Rymättylä School, presented a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Haukio, and Vilhelm Junnila, the Chair of the City Council, wished the couple welcome for the summer on behalf of the City. The Naantali Chamber Choir greeted the presidential couple with a performance of the song Suomenmaa.
The welcoming reception was last held in 2019, after which the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the tradition for two years. “Even though the impossible happened, here we are again. In a tight situation, people can extend and surpass themselves,” said President Niinistö, speaking to the public.
In his speech, he also touched on the war in Ukraine: “Surely the common wish would be that the suffering of the people would end as quickly as possible and that some kind of solution would emerge that would bring peace.”
The President considered that the experiences of previous years and this spring have affected people’s lives in many ways, and also concretely. “Maybe these experiences will teach us to simply enjoy everyday life”, he said. “Naantali is a wonderful summer city and Finland is a wonderful summer country. And Finland is considered to be the country with the happiest people in the world – let’s keep it that way.”
Kultaranta, located on Naantali’s Luonnonmaa Island in Naantali, has been the summer residence of the President of the Republic of Finland since 1922. During the summer, the President works mainly at Kultaranta. The biggest event of the early summer is the Kultaranta Talks, hosted by President Niinistö on 12–13 June.
A park concert of the Naantali Music Festival will be held at Kultaranta on Friday, 17 June. The outdoor concert will feature music on the themes of nature and animals performed by Club For Five and the Saint-Saëns suite The Carnival of the Animals, narrated by Seela Sella.
This year, a sculpture exhibition Shapes of nature, organised in cooperation with the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, will be on display in the Kultaranta Park. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, 8 June and features works inspired by the shapes of plants and fruit and the use of natural materials.
During the summer, the public can visit the Kultaranta park and the sculpture exhibition on Fridays from 6 pm to 8 pm. In addition, Visit Naantali organises guided tours of the park area.