The Traveling Sauna was inaugurated in Minneapolis on January 14, 2017. The sauna will be Finland’s centennial mascot in the United States. During the next twelve months it will travel all across the continent, driving altogether over 10,000 miles. At the inauguration ceremony Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi revealed the name of the sauna: it will be called Sisu.
Minnesota had the honor to kick off Finland’s centennial celebrations in the United States. Minnesota was a natural starting point since the state has the biggest percentage of people with Finnish ancestry in the country. Minnesota has a very active Finnish-American community, and even people without Finnish heritage are familiar with Osmo Vänskä, the Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra. Mr. Vänskä serves as the Honorary Chairman of Minnesota Finland 100, and he had a major role during the inauguration weekend.
The inauguration of the Traveling Sauna was held on January 14 in front of the Minnesota Orchestra Hall. A large group of Finnish-Americans and friends of Finland gathered to see the ceremony. Both Ambassador Kauppi and Maestro Vänskä spoke at the event, and in the end Ambassador Kauppi lit the sauna stove.
The men behind the sauna project are Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipilä. Their company Ice Cold Marketing is in charge of all sauna logistics like designing the sauna, creating the route and coordinating the sauna stops with local Finnish and Finnish-American organizations. Risto and Jouko are two Finns living in Minnesota who are passionate about promoting Finland and everything Finnish in the U.S. The sauna was built by a Finnish company Finnleo. It includes a shower, changing room, front porch as well as a wood-burning sauna stove. The Traveling Sauna will showcase the best of Finnish sauna culture in the U.S. For many Americans, this might be the first time they get to experience a real Finnish sauna.
Having firm roots in Finnish cleantech and engineering knowhow, Neste is a proud sponsor of the Traveling Sauna which is one of the many ways in which Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence in 2017.
Neste’s low-carbon drop-in renewable diesel called Neste MY Renewable Diesel will be used to fuel the truck carrying the sauna while traveling along the U.S. West Coast. When Neste MY Renewable Diesel is being used, the journey’s greenhouse gas emission will be cut by up to 80% compared to conventional petroleum diesel. The traveling sauna is hauled by a Ford F-250 pick-up truck with a turbo diesel engine.
“There are not many things that Finns love more than sauna. To haul one across the U.S. is a rather crazy, yet a fun way of celebrating the centenary of Finland’s independence. It is our pleasure to make the sauna’s journey much more environmentally friendly with our Neste MY Renewable Diesel”, Jeremy Baines, VP sales North America from Neste says.
“We are excited about our Traveling Sauna journey across the US, and the fact that we can improve the sustainability by using Neste’s innovate drop-in renewable fuel Neste MY Renewable Diesel”, says one of The Traveling Sauna’s founders Jouko Sipila, Chief Sauna Master.