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Tourism has been facing challenging times. But long-term collaboration between cultural sites and commercial tourism operators has increased the positive visibility of tourist areas, the aim being to boost visitor numbers when circumstances allow. An important form of collaboration for the international network of Alvar Aalto Cities founded in 2017 is specifically tourism, which is helping add to the viability of cities, municipalities and regions.

The Visit Alvar Aalto online service has been produced to showcase the Aalto architectural sites along the Alvar Aalto Route, with different language versions, sites and tours added along the way. The Route has been designed and produced with Alvar Aalto Cities and local tourism operators, and is so far available in Finnish, English, Russian and Japanese.

Application to make Alvar Aalto Route a Council of Europe Cultural Route

Alvar Aalto Foundation and its partners have submitted an application for the Alvar Aalto Route to become a Council of Europe Cultural Route. The Council’s Cultural Routes are expanding, and the proposal asks that Alvar Aalto’s architecture be included. The Alvar Aalto Route – 20th Century Architecture and Design spans 59 architectural sites in 26 cities in five countries – Finland, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and France. Ten European countries have potential Alvar Aalto sites, stretching from Rovaniemi in Finland to Riola di Vergato in Italy. The next step to becoming a Council of Europe Cultural Route is auditing, with possible certification in spring 2021.

To promote the Route, an association – Cultural Route on Modern Architecture and Design Heritage (Modernin arkkitehtuuri- ja muotoiluperinnön matkailureitti ry.) – was set up, its aim being to make travellers from Europe and beyond aware of architectural sites designed by Alvar Aalto’s architect’s office. ”All the Aalto sites proposed as World Heritage sites are also on the Alvar Aalto Route,” says CEO of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh.

“The association develops and coordinates the Alvar Aalto Route, and informs people about the services for the public provided by the various architectural sites along the way,” says Heli Leinonkoski, President of the Cultural Route on Modern Architecture and Design Heritage. Apart from the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Route’s founding document was signed by the cities of Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kotka, Pori, Varkaus, Seinäjoki, Eura and Raasepori. The Alvar Aalto Route and Visit Alvar Aalto online service also cover the cities of Alajärvi, Espoo, Järvenpää, Kouvola, Lahti, Muurame, Paimio, Rovaniemi, Turku and Vantaa, along with Alvar Aalto sites in Berlin and Wolfsburg in Germany, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne in France, Venice and Riola di Vergato in Italy, Aalborg in Denmark, and Vyborg in Russia. ”All Aalto sites that are accessible to the public in one way or another are welcome to join, along with their service providers,” Leinonkoski says.

The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe engage with Europe’s multifaceted cultural history, for instance, via the built environment and gastronomy, in the Adriatic and Ionian, Alpine, Baltic Sea and Danube regions. Currently, 38 routes have Council of Europe certification. Amid cultural routes based on themes of older cultural history, Alvar Aalto’s architecture and design constitutes a body of modern architecture that takes in all the internationally renowned designer’s most significant sites. “The human-centredness and human scale that hallmarked Aalto’s work, combined with environment-centred design, give the Route a topical global relevance and cultural significance. Cultural-route status would amplify the international profile and significance of Alvar Aalto’s sites as part of European cultural heritage, creating new opportunities, for instance, for developing tourism,” says Tommi Lindh.

The theme of Council of Europe Cultural Routes should be shared by at least three countries. Route status is only granted if it will aid the sustainable development of culture, international cultural youth exchange, cultural-heritage education, and cultural tourism around the route.”We see the spotlighting of cultural co-operation and Finnish culture in the context of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe as very important. It can also open up opportunities for developing tourism more widely,” says Special Government Advisor at the Ministry of Education and Culture Anne Mattero. Finland signed the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes in 2018. The Agreement on Routes is one of several Council of Europe agreements on culture and cultural heritage.

Alvar Aalto Route and Visit Alvar Aalto web service are available at

A video, Routes4U, and other information available here.

More about the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe here.

Alvar Aalto Foundation
CEO, Tommi Lindh
+358 44 562 1625

President of the Cultural Route on Modern Architecture and Design Heritage
Administrative Director, City of Jyväskylä
Heli Leinonkoski
+358 50 365 4287

Alvar Aalto Route
Producer Noora Kiili
+358 44 976 7810


INFORMATION about the Alvar Aalto Route

Visit Alvar Aalto web site:

  • over 60 Aalto sites, designed by Alvar Aalto´s architect office and open for public
  • 30 tours, sold by 10 travel agencies
  • 26 Alvar Aalto Cities
  • Over 100 service providers
  • 4 language versions (Finnish, English, Russian, Japan)
  • Over 600 photographs
  • launched on May 2018
  • coordinated and produced by the Alvar Aalto FoundationVisitor information:
  • app. 40 000 visitors and 100 000 page views / year
  • most common languages of user: 41% Finnish, 24% English, 11% Japanese, 8% Russian, 16% others
  • traffic source by country: 50% Finland, 11% Japan, 10% Russia, 5% USA, 3% United Kingdom, 1,7% Italy, 21,3% others
  • traffic sources: 70% search engines, 15% direct traffic and 12% referring sites

Maison Louis Carré, entrance, France. Photo Martti Kapanen © Alvar Aalto Foundation.