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Welcome reception

On Monday 1.9., a welcome reception will be arranged for SMBM'08 and Louhi'08 participants by the city of Turku at the Turku town hall (map). The reception begins at 19:00 and lasts until approximately 21:30. The welcome reception is included in the conference registration fee.

Turku town hall

The building was originally built to become Finland's first country club, or hotel and restaurant.

The building has quite a glorious history. It was designed by architect Charles Bassi and built in 1811, and shortly after that a hotel and restaurant opened here. This so called "Society House" was the best restaurant in town, and soon became very popular. Many banquets have been held here with a lot of prominent guests. It is also the only stone building in the centre of Turku that was not destroyed in the big fire that almost completely destroyed our city in the year 1827.

It was a successful business and that again led the owners to build a second hotel in Turku, beside the market square just a couple of hundred meters from here. That again led to a situation of over capacity and this building was sold to the city to become the new city hall. It has been used as that since 1885. The city council as we know it today is from 1978.

In 1878 the City bought this building, and thorough-going changes planned by architect Frans A. Sjöström, were made during the years 1883-1885. After that the house was ready to be used as a City Hall. Several municipal bureaux were located here, and the City Council, which was quite a new body, held its meetings here. In 1921 the Administrative Court and the City Court moved in.

The interior has been changed quite radically at least in the 1960's and 1970's. A modern conference system was installed in the 1980's. The last time that the building was repaired was in 1999, and it then got back something of its old glory. For instance, the colours are the same as in the1880's, and the stairs up to the council's session hall have been rebuilt. The hall downstairs and the meeting rooms are named after former chairmen of the council. The technical equipment was also renewed, and today this house is an up-to-date, well-functioning City Hall, as well as a culturally and historically valuable monument over the past.