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The Finnish Association in Belgium Tulosta Sähköposti

Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l., the Finnish Association in Belgium, is a non-profit organisation, whose objectives are to establish and promote contacts between Finns living in Belgium, to make it easier for them to settle down in Belgium and maintain their connections with the Finnish way of life and culture. The association was founded in 1979.

Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. organises events, creates means and opportunities for its members to share their hobbies and interest with other Finns as well as provides information on topical issues that concern them. The association looks after its members’ interests by conveying their problems and needs to the Finnish authorities through the Finnish Expatriate Parliament, a co-operation forum for Finnish expatriates throughout the world.

Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. works in close collaboration with other Finnish and Nordic associations as well as with Finnish authorities and companies in Belgium. Suomi-Klubi is a member of the Finland Society, which informs about services offered to expatriate Finns.

The operation of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. is funded by membership fees, income derived from advertisements in its media and with the help of sponsors. The association operates under the Belgian laws that are enacted for non-profit organisations. The day-to-day operation is based on voluntary work.

The membership fee is paid per household (including spouse and children) or per company (one appointed person). In March 2003, the membership of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. counted 774 households and three companies. It is estimated that about two thirds of Finns living in Belgium are members of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l.

Administration of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l

The General Assembly, held once a year in March, is the highest authority of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. Every member of the association has a right to take part in the General Assembly, and one membership fee corresponds to one vote in the Assembly.

The day to day operation is run by the board of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. There are nine members and eight deputy members of the board. Each member is elected by the general assembly for a two year period of office. The names and contact details of the members of the board can be found in the Finnish version of these internet pages.

- The president of Suomi-Klubi runs and plans the overall operation of the association. She also handles the external relations and the contacts with authorities, companies and other associations.
- The vice-president helps the chairman to run the overall operation.
- The treasurer is in charge of the accounting and funds. Incoming invoices are addressed to the treasurer.
- Book-keeping. The person in charge takes care of the book-keeping.
- The secretary of the board keeps minutes of the board meetings and takes care of the overall correspondence of the association.
- Membership issues – the person in charge takes care of the membership applications, handles the membership fees, maintains the membership register, etc.
- Invoicing – the person in charge takes care of the invoicing (for the advertisements etc.).
- Culture and events – the persons in charge arrange the cultural events of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. and inform the members of other cultural events in Belgium.
- Festivities - the persons in charge arrange the festivals and parties of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l.
- Sports - the persons in charge arrange sports activities of Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l.
- Parlööri editorial staff is in charge of publishing “Parlööri”, the association's membership periodical.
- Advertising – the person in charge handles the advertising in Parlööri and other media of the association.

- IT and internet - the person in charge takes care of these internet pages as well as assists the other members of the board in matters concerning information technology.

A proposal for the plan of action and the budget is published each year in the March issue of the membership periodical Parlööri. The plan of action and budget are then revised and approved by the General Assembly.

Suomi-Klubi media

Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. publishes a periodical, which is distributed to all its members as well as to several Finnish companies, institutions and other associations in Belgium. The membership periodical - Parlööri - comes out ten times a year, and its 850 copies reach about 2 000 readers per issue. The deadlines of the issues as well as prices and other information on advertising in Parlööri can be found in the Finnish version of the Parlööri internet pages. In addition to Parlööri, members can get information on Suomi-Klubi and other topics by reading these internet pages, or by joining the email group “Klubilainen”.

Members of “Klubilainen” email group receive each week a message with updated information on association’s events as well as other happenings in Belgium, directly to their own email address. For those who have just moved to Belgium, Suomi-Klubi offers a guide (in Finnish), which provides the newcomers with advice and tips of how to live in Belgium. The guide is also available online and it is updated annually.

Advertisements can be placed in all these media. For more information on advertising and prices, contact the person responsible for Suomi-Klubi’s advertising.


Festivities and other events

Fostering Finnish culture among the Finns living in Belgium and getting acquainted with Belgian culture have been at the core of the operation through out the 25 years of existence.

One of Suomi-Klubi’s objectives has been nurturing the tradition of celebrating the Finnish festivities. The Finnish Independence Day on 6th of December is a very important and emotional day for the Finns, especially for those living abroad. Suomi-Klubi has commemorated this day with balls, cocktail parties and concerts featuring Finnish music.

In November/December the children and child-minded have met Santa-Claus, who comes from the Finnish Lapland, at the Suomi-Klubi Christmas party, where they have also enjoyed Christmas carols, Christmas plays and rice pudding.

At the Carnival time (in February-March) the Shrovetide in Finland is spent going outdoors, downhill on sledges on snowy hills. In Belgium – in the absence of snow - we go skating and eat Shrove buns by the skating rink. On May Day Eve, at the same time a statue in Helsinki is topped with a white student’s cap, the Manneken Pis statue in Brussels receives the Finnish student’s cap in the presence of several hundreds celebrating Finns.

On the midsummer’s eve, the Finns living in Brussels go on a picnic in a park, sing and play games. This is just to mention a few festivities…

Suomi-Klubi organises also other events: visits to museums, exhibitions and concerts, guided tours in Belgium, trips to events in neighbouring countries, lectures and courses.

Sports and other activities

Finns are sport enthusiasts. Suomi-Klubi’s sports activities range from tennis, floor hockey, football, skating, badminton, volley ball… to ice hockey, riding, diving, snooker and golf. There is a group of joggers and marathon runners as well as an athletics club for children. Suomi-Klubi’s members have gone outdoors cycling, trekking and canoeing, and made trips to sports events in Belgium and neighbouring countries.

There are hobby groups for other activities and interests, which include sauna (of course), gardening, literature, motor cycling, Villeroy & Boch china, dogs… Little children and their parents meet in nursery groups.

For more information on Suomi-Klubi a.s.b.l. and its activities, please contact the president of Suomi-Klubi or other members of the board.