In March, the City of Turku, Finland, signed the Membership Agreement of the Baltic Sail Association.
Turku is the biggest city in the region of Southwest Finland with about 200.000 inhabitants. As the oldest city in Finland, as well as the first capital, Turku is the cradle of history and culture. Situated by the Baltic Sea and sheltered by the beautiful islands of the Archipelago Sea, Turku is a prime example of the city with a distinct marine character. Turku also has a notable commercial and passenger seaport.
One of the upcoming projects is the establishment of the Maritime Centre in Turku, which has recently received EU funding. The Centre will strengthen the profile of Turku as the city of blue growth and serve as the meeting point for maritime actors and activities. It enables experiencing the closeness of the archipelago already within the river harbour.
Turku has hosted The Tall Ships Races five times, and there are various other events with maritime character: The River Harbour Festival kicks of the summer at the Turku river harbour. This year the festival was organised for the ninth time and the long weekend mostly included events that were free of charge. There was plenty to see and experience from the Declaration of Seafaring Peace to dashing concerts at the river harbour.
Throughout the summer there will be several regattas such as the Swan Regatta in July. During the whole summer there will be plenty to see and experience for both the residents and travellers!
Turku also participated for the first time as official member city at the Baltic Sail Spring Meeting.
During this years Baltic Sail Spring Meeting, many different issues have been on the agenda. One topic was again the appeal for a commitment “Friendly Port”, to be signed by Baltic ports or Baltic harbour cities, offering special conditions for vessels, nationally registered as traditional vessel or operated as special purpose sail training ship: no harbour dues apply for 24 hrs per harbour call.
The Baltic Sail Association exists for 23 years now and combines efforts to highlight Baltic maritime traditions. By today the association is having eight member cities and is open minded for new partner cities or other interested bodies.
Main goal of the Baltic Sea Association with the seaport cities – Rostock, Szczecin, Gdansk, Riga, Klaipéda, Nysted, Karlskrona and Turku – is to preserve traditional vessels, masterpieces of European cultural maritime heritage, representing maritime traditions, in operation for future generations and as a trade mark of the Baltic Sea Region.
The meeting took place within the framework of the international conference “Tradition Shipping in European Waters” from 13th to 15th of March 2019 in Rostock which was organized by the Baltic Sail Committee and EMH European Maritime Heritage and which was a milestone of the EU Project BALTIC PASS. Goal of the project is to develop bookable products on traditional vessel, cruising in the Baltic: Baltic Maritime Heritage Tours.
60 participants from 15 European countries participated in the conference, which was a perfect networking tool between stakeholders. Baltic Sail Association had organized such conferences in the past four times. EMH as European umbrella for traditional ships in operation had highlighted the Baltic Sail initiative at the Lord Mayors welcome dinner.