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The LumiLinna SnowCastle in Kemi, Finland

The LumiLinna SnowCastle in Kemi, Finland

The first SnowCastle in 1996, was a gift from the UNICEF together with the City of Kemi to all the children in the whole wide world. The very first idea for building the SnowCastle in Kemi arose in the minds of the City’s decision makers from the fact that even though snow is a very common aspect for us Finns, for the majority of the children in the world it is ever quite a strange, or even an unknown element, and yet, in itself, utterly interesting: how snow looks like, tastes like, how it feels, are factors to fascinate the young and old alike. The first SnowCastle of 1996 with its 1100 metre long walls made the Guinness Record Book as the world’s first SnowCastle with the longest snow-walls ever.


From the SnowCastle’s first year onwards we have constructed a restaurant, a chapel and an estrade within the snowy walls of the Castle. When building the third SnowCastle, the constructers took the challenge of experimenting in building two-story snow-structures – and they succeeded! The following year the builders adventured into ever greater achievements: the SnowCastle of 1999 consisted of three stories, and the structures arose all the way up to the height of 14, 5 metres. Also, in the same year of 1999, visitors had an extra surprise, and with it a chance to stay overnight in the SnowCastle: the very first SnowHotel was constructed within the walls of the SnowCastle.
  SnowCastle in Kemi, FinlandBedroom in the SnowCastle

Every January, from these already historic years onwards, we construct a SnowHotel, a SnowRestaurant, a SnowChapel and the Children’s World within white snowy walls. The SnowCastle is open every year from the end of January to the beginning days of April. Each year 80-100 000 clients visit the SnowCastle.
Building the SnowCastle
In December, as soon as the weather is appropriate, the making of the snow and the constructing of the SnowCastle begins. For constructing the SnowCastle we use piped snow; piped snow is made from water in appropriate conditions, and it keeps its consistence better in the varying winter-weather-conditions than natural snow. When making the snow the temperature has to be at least -7 Celsius. In normal conditions it takes about four to five weeks every year to build the SnowCastle. 
  SnowCastle barSnowCastle Dining Room

SnowCastle’s Changing Theme for Each Year
Every year the SnowCastle is designed and built according to a different plan as well as according to a different theme. In 2006 we took the idea of a specific theme to support the designing of the SnowCastle; in 2006 the theme was Fire, 2007 The Sea, 2008 Travel, 2009 Design, and 2010, as the SnowCastle celebrated its 15th anniversary, the theme was National Romanticism.The theme for the year 2011 was Comics. 2012’s theme is sports. Each year we try to select a theme that is actual and many-sided. Year 2012 is a noteworthy year for sports, in addition to which Finland also celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Helsinki Olympics.


Snowy Services at the SnowCastle
Within the SnowHotel we have 18 double rooms, two group-rooms for five persons each, and a suite for Honeymoon couples, or, other visitors desiring to sleep in the suite. In the Hotel we can accommodate 48 guests per night. Before entering the room for sleeping, the SnowHotel guests are welcome to spend the evening relaxing, enjoying refreshments at the Café-Bar within the cosy CastleLounge. The atmosphere within the SnowHotel rooms is rather unique with its arctic austerity, with its snowy white walls, with the temperature of about -5 Celsius. And yet you will enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep breathing in fresh air, while the thick walls, at the same time, will provide you with an absolute quiet for the night. When preparing to go to sleep in the rooms, the guests will be well instructed in the ways of sleeping in the SnowHotel. First when going to sleep each guest will be given a warm sleeping-bag (with a fleece bag) designed especially for arctic conditions. The bed is covered with a lambskin for extra warmth. Toilets are situated in the CastleLounge, and there is no TV in the room! When waking up, the next morning, a delicious Continental Breakfast will be served in the CastleLounge, and after that, transportation will be provided to a nearby Hotel for sauna and/or shower

There are three different cabinets with altogether 150 seats in the SnowRestaurant. The tables in the SnowRestaurant are made of ice, yet covered with a transparent plexus for the convenience of serving warm food on the tables. And believe you me: you will be enjoying a warm meal, wrapped in a foil and served on a wooden tray! Benches and seats are made of wood with a reindeer- or lambskin covering, yet we strongly advise you to dress warmly in quilted winter overalls, with caps and mittens, as the temperature within the snowy structures remains at about -5 Celsius at all times. In the SnowRestaurant you can enjoy a delicious three-course dinner of your choice, made of fresh local produce. (Reservations must be made in advance, a day before!) There are refreshments, hot and cold drinks and beverages to be enjoyed at the SnowRestaurant also. Some evenings there may be a pre-arranged musical performance or disco-dancing in the SnowRestaurant as well.

The ecumenical SnowChapel offers peaceful moments for even the most stressed-out visitor with its quietly serene and artful, beautifully sculpted atmosphere. Over the years, plenty of couples from around the world have had their wedding-ceremony in the SnowChapel, and this year there are reservations for ever more couples. In co-operation with the Church of Kemi at the snowy altar, we also have christenings to newborns in addition to weddings. On Sunday afternoons the SnowChapel offers a Sunday Service, often attended by locals from the City of Kemi. The service, in co-operation with the Church of Kemi is open for all visitors in the Castle.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly: children will have plenty to do, enjoy and experiment within the walls of the SnowCastle! There will be performances by clowns, magicians and musicians, known for children throughout Finland, and perhaps the world, during the week-ends. In addition to week-end programs, in honour of the theme this year, we will arrange various sport events: Children’s SnowCastle skiing day, and among others, the very first Finland’s champion in throwing the snowball in the Castle -competition. In the Children’s World, also during the week-days, children will have plenty of chances to romp and play about. A great joy, in particular, is always the long snow-tube-slide on which any a child, or any a person with the playful mind, can experience the thrill of snow, and arctic spell while coming down fast!
More information:
Castle Manager: Mrs Marika Tomminen
Phone: 358-16-258 878 or 358-45-635 5853



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