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International Tourism and Culture Centre Karhuntassu

Kuusamo will continue to attract residents and tourists in the future, when the new Karhuntassu International Tourism and Culture Centre and Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre will be opened 16 January 2023.

The main implementer of the ERDF-funded cooperation project is the city of Kuusamo, the partial implementers are Kuusamo College and the University of Lapland. Several projects, companies and Metsähallitus, Naturpolis and Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association are partners of Karhuntassu project.

Implementation period of ERDF project: 1/2020–12/2022 (project activity started 09/2020). Total budget: 489,985 euros.


Download the overview here (PDF-file 10MB)

    • With the help of the service design process, a new service concept was designed to produce even higher quality information about the area’s nature, history, culture, and tourism services.
    • Permanent and changing exhibitions present the nature, culture, and history of the region.
    • The skills of producing and presenting digital material is developed during the project.
    • The demand of services is increased with the help of personalized service and additional information.
    • The distinctiveness of the region is promoted and the social and cultural sustainability of tourism is increased with the help of historical and cultural knowledge.
    • The Karhuntassu project ensures the continuation of the services in the tourism centre and the Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre.
    • Promoting the development of nature tourism, increasing slow tourism and the number of tourists staying in Kuusamo by increasing information about nature sites and routes, which enables international tourists to get more familiar with less famous nature area´s in detail.
    • A large miniature model of Kuusamo’s church village from year 1938.
    • More than 1,700 catalogued museum objects are presented in changing exhibitions.
    • The history of Kuusamo is told from prehistory to the present day with the help of modern and educational animation.
    • The new application maps that present the villages, nature, cultural sites, and monuments with the aim to enliven and increasing the awareness of the Kuusamo villages.
    • The visitor can comprehensively familiarize himself with the offerings of local tourism and culture over a cup of coffee and purchase souvenirs to take home.
  • A new service concept will be created through the service design process, with three separate work packages. Permanent exhibitions presenting the nature, culture and history of the area and a changing exhibition space will be planned and implemented in the centre’s premises, and the skills of producing and presenting digital material will be developed.

    The new tourist and cultural centre for the whole family is a tourist attraction for domestic and international visitors to Kuusamo. The centre supports the activities of the Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre and will continue to allure enthusiasts and professionals interested in nature photography to visit the permanent and changing exhibitions.

  • The Karhuntassu project has created cooperation with several partners and projects, such as Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism Association, Metsähallitus Nature Services, Gateway to Land Of National Parks project (Naturpolis), Ordinary Man in a Great War project (Naturpolis), Arctic Airborne 3D project ( Centria University of Applied Sciences) and the development of guide training for nature tourism (LUOMA) and the International Residency Innovation Network for North Ostrobothnia (KRIPA) projects (Kuusamo College).

    Business and association cooperation was launched from the beginning of 2021 through service design workshops, where new ways of producing activities and experiences focused on Kuusamo’s local history and local culture are devised. The services offered to tourists can be related, for example, to Kuusamo customs and traditions (handicrafts, food and music traditions, etc.).

    The experts of Kuusamo history, Helena Palosaari, Jouni Alavuotunki, Pertti Ervasti, Kari Kantola and Erkki Hämäläinen, together with Tiina Laine and Pasi Kovalainen, were charting extensive historical material into manuscripts for exhibition applications in the history working group. Kuusamo’s cultural expertise is represented by Ulla Ingalsuo-Laaksonen.

    During the project, the aim is to collect material related to the history and culture of Kuusamo on a large scale, also with the help of local Kuusamo residents. The project encourages you to contact the project manager Julia Afflekt or the director of culture Ulla Ingalsuo-Laaksonen regarding to possible historical materials.

  • By the end of year 2022, permanent exhibitions presenting the nature, culture and history of the area and a changing exhibition space are planned in the premises of the current Tourist Center Karhuntassu, in connection with the Hannu Hautala Nature photography Centre.

    More than 20 different exhibitions related to the nature, history and culture of the region are planned for the center, including virtual exhibitions.

    One of the main exhibition sites is a miniature model of Kuusamo’s church village, which will get a new home at the center. The approximately 7-meter-long, 1:300-scale miniature model depicts the Kuusamo church village in 1937, and the model has 492 beautifully described buildings in detail. With the help of the interactivity added to the miniature model, you can experience the history of Kuusamo in a new way.

    The history-timeline animation is an educational and pedagogically interesting exhibit where the history of Kuusamo is presented bilingually from prehistory to the present. The application is an interesting experience for the whole family.

    The beginning of Kuusamo’s tourism and culture is presented in unique exhibition screens, where you can familiarize yourself in depth of the topic with the help of digital applications. At the exhibition site, you can marvel at old ski equipment or, for example, traditional musical instruments.

    Kuusamo’s nature attracts local and international tourists now and in the future. Three different map applications guide the traveller to the best nature photography locations, to the villages of Kuusamo to explore nature and cultural sites, and to virtually walk the Pieni Karhunkierros trail or The Salpa Line fortification zone world war trenches. Karhuntassu tourist information strongly supports the operation of the new center with expertise and personal service.

    The city of Kuusamo has catalogued more than 1,700 museum objects, changing exhibitions enables visitors and locals to get acquainted with all the museum objects. Every object has a story, and the stories form a history that affects us all.

    How did children play in the past and now? An interactive “traditional play game” is planned for the center, which creates playfulness and activates the whole family. Virtuality enables time travel and an educational experience at the same time.

    Evacuation stories and Reino Rinnee’s poems are presented in audio and video form, and the personal histories of Kuusamo’s influencers are studied from the past to the present day. The center also has a comprehensive military history section.

More information about the project

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