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Daily Archives: 13. October 2017 − News & Stories


Tampere – 13th October 2017

You may have noticed that this is about Tampere, which is not in Spitsbergen. It is actually in Finland! Far down south!

Yes, true. But those who have been with Rolf Stange and Alexander Lembke in Spitsbergen in recent years, on the sailing ship Antigua or in Pyramiden, will know that there is a connection. If you have shared some chocolate with Alex on the tundra or a beer in the evening, then you will have heard Alex talking about the Finnish sauna. He has been working intensely with it for years. Of course also enjoying the very pleasant practical aspects, but mainly researching its cultural and historical sides. One preliminary result of this never-ending project is an exhibition that was not about to be opened in Tampere. (For some impressions of the actual opening, click here – Born in Sauna).

Gallery – Tampere – 13th October 2017

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

I could, of course, not miss the opportunity to take the trip to Finland. Before the actual opening, I still had a little bit of time for an excursion into the famous Finnish landscape of forests and lakes. It was a bit exotic for me: lots of trees! But you get used to it. So before we get to the actual exhibition, we have got some impressions from the Finnish forests. There was no time for longer trips, it is all from a walk close to Tampere.

Sauna Syntyneet – Born in Sauna – 13th October 2017

We are still in Tampere in Finnland and we are getting to the centerpiece of the trip to the country of forests, lakes and – sauna. This is what it was all about. After a long time of intense work and preparations, Alexander Lembke could proudly open his exhibition on Friday the 13th (that should bring some luck!).

Of couse you don’t have to show the people in Finland what a sauna looks like. There are about 5.5 million Finns, and they have got several million saunas. If you live in Finland, then you know what a sauna looks like. If you live on the Orkney Islands, then you know what the sea looks like.

Hence, Alex could fokus on his main subject: Sauna Syntyneet – Born in Sauna. Large portraits cover almost a century of Finish life and history with people who were born in a sauna. Not just by chance, as one might be misled to believe (unless you really know Finland), but because the sauna was and sometimes still is considered an appropriate place for that kind of thing, for practical and cultural reasons. Today, most Finns are born in modern hospitals, but it is still not unheard of that someone sees the light of the world in a sauna. Of course not one of these modern wellness things that most non-Finnish people consider a sauna, but a private one that has been family property over generations.

Institutions including the Goethe-Institute, the town of Tampere and th Finnish Sauna Association have supported the exhibition and were represented at the opening, giving it an appropriately worthy frame with a couple of speaches. Some of those whose portraits are forming the core of the exhibition were also present.

Gallery – Sauna Syntyneet – Born in Sauna – 13th October 2017

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

During the later course of the evening, there was an excursion to the object of science and passion: a sauna. A real Finnish one, actually the oldest public sauna that is still in use in Finland! I did not take any photos there, that is something that you just don’t do (unless you are Alex and you have spent a lot of time to know those who are involved). So I can only recommend to you to take a trip to Finland and get some real sauna experience! It is more than worth it!

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