GETTING people together to speak in many different languages may not be a revolutionary idea. Yet with the eagerness of one determined person in Helsinki a language café was born, which has served as the birth place of many lasting friendships.

Café Lingua was organised in 2005 as a site where anyone is welcome to come and join in conversations in a number of different languages. The event gathers together Finns wanting to keep up or improve their language skills and foreigners who wish to learn more Finnish, or simply talk to somebody in their own language.

The organiser of Café Lingua, Marja-Liisa Helenius, says she has always been fascinated by languages and culture, and once she heard of the idea of a language café she decided to arrange one in Helsinki.

“Changing tables and speaking a number of languages in one night can be exhausting and confusing, but it’s also a great opportunity. The best part about Café Lingua has always been the people and many friendships that have been born

Café Lingua
Mondays at Café
Esplanad, 19-21:30
Pohjoisesplanadi 37, Helsinki
Join the “Café Lingua in
Helsinki” Facebook group
to check for changes.

there,” she says.

The popularity of Café Lingua has varied during the five years of its existence and it has not always been as popular as it is today, with often over 40 participants at each event. “It has taken a lot of effort to keep the language event alive for five years, but it has been worth it,” Helenius declares.

Petra Nyman