Saimaa Phenomenon 2026 invites everyone in the area to join a collective “Saimaa Mycelium”, where each person is tasked with connecting their own networks to join forces with a much larger innovative collaboration of other players, networks, and businesses. The aim of the Mycelium is to utilise Saimaa Phenomenon as a conduit for bringing together wide-ranging issues that may at first appear to be far apart and unconnected.

The EU has been formally designating European Capitals of Culture since 1985. During that time, two Finnish cities have received the coveted recognition: Helsinki in 2000, and Turku in 2011. The prestigious title brings with it considerable cultural, social, and economic benefits to the area. Turku, and southwest Finland in general, benefited to the tune of 260 million Euro as a direct result of receiving the designation.

Soon, another city in Finland will join the ranks as European Capital of Culture 2026. Savonlinna has been nominated for the title, along with Tampere and Oulu. Currently the nine-member team is formulating a high-quality programme and plan to be implemented for the European Capital of Culture 2026 year. The team will submit its final bid book entry to the jury on the 23rd of April 2021, and the jury is expected to announce its designee on June 2.