Helsinki Pride Parade – a party for all

On the last Saturday of June Helsinki sparkles with colours. For over ten years, that’s when people have gathered to march together at the Pride Parade to celebrate equality and human rights. (See our slideshow of the parade.)

The colourful parade is the culmination of the annual Helsinki Pride Week, which features lots of different events: exhibitions, lectures, workshops and concerts. There’s also a separate program for people aged 13–29: Youth Pride Week.

The procession starts at the Senate Square and marches through the city center of Helsinki towards Kaivopuisto park, located in the southern part of the city. Here the party goes on with concerts, dancing and picnics.

More than 80,000 people participated in the parade in 2019. Everyone who stands for equality and human rights is welcome. Besides private individuals, many organisations and NGOs participate, as well as political parties and city and government institutions. Many private businesses also support and some even sponsor the Helsinki Pride.

In 2019, Antti Rinne was the first Finnish prime minister who participated in the parade. This was also the first year when bishops of the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church officially joined it. The church was also one of the official media sponsors of the event.

Majority at the minority party

A large crowd of people sitting on the stairs of Helsinki cathedral.

The Helsinki Pride parade begins with participants gathering at the Senate Square. Photo: Eeli Kettunen

A group of smiling young people lying on the ground.

A part of Helsinki Pride is Youth Pride week: a special program for people aged 13–29. Photo: Anna Ruohonen

Five people with rainbow flags standing in front of the Helsinki cathedral; the person in the middle is holding a sign saying 'Russian, gay and proud'.

Helsinki Pride is the biggest public event in Finland dedicated to human rights. People from other cities and even from abroad travel to Helsinki to attend the parade. Photo: Anna Ruohonen

A group of people walking on the street waving rainbow flags and holding a large banner saying 'Feminism gives you freedom' in Swedish.

Almost all Finnish political parties participate in the procession. “Feminism gives you freedom,” says this banner of the Swedish People’s Party in Swedish, also an official language of Finland. Photo: Eeli Kettunen

A young boy sitting on the shoulders of an adult and waving a big rainbow flag amidst other parade-goers.

People of different ages, from babies to seniors, march together to celebrate equality and human rights. Photo: Pasi Markkanen

A large crowd walking past Stockmann department store.

City and government institutions and private businesses show their support for example by flying rainbow flags during the whole Pride week, like this department store in the center of Helsinki. Photo: Anna Ruohonen

Two elderly people participating in the parade on their senior scooters.

Helsinki Pride strives for a Finland that is free of discrimination of all kinds. Photo: Eeli Kettunen

A small dog amidst the parade crowd.

The peaceful atmosphere of the parade allows you to take four-legged friends with you. Photo: Eeli Kettunen

A large crowd of people sitting on the lawn in Kaivopuisto park, a big Helsinki Pride sign in the background.

The procession goes through the city center to Kaivopuisto park. Here there’s a concert, people enjoy their picnics, good company and dancing. Photo: Pasi Markkanen

By Anna Ruohonen, July 2019