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Impilinna is a residency on the island of Utö in the Finnish archipelago. The residency is exclusive to the students and alumnus of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. The residency is being managed and run by Kuvan residenssi ry, a voluntary association.
The idea of the recidency is to offer a unique place and oppotunity for the students and the alumni of Kuva to work in Utö. When you are granted a time please be in touch with the previous and the following resident about your travel dates.
The Utö island is located in Baltic Sea far away from the mainland. It’s nature is harsh and daily life there is very much dependent on the current weather conditions. The main islands and islets offer a sheltered natural harbor for vessels. This is also why Utö has always been considered as an important place in maritime routes.
Pilotage, lighthouse, customs and military operations have characterised the island since the 1600’s to this day. The sea has been an isolating and connecting element in the island life, which is reflected in the present day. The buildings are built in different historical periods and the village is centered around the lighthouse. The rest of the island is uninhabited.
These days the island is inhabited by roughly 30 people. It has a functioning lighthouse, one the most important pilot bases and the smallest elementary schools in Finland as well as a range of accommodation services, a meteorological station, a small library, and a shop.
SHOP is open all year round but in winter months only a couple of hours during the day. The variety of produce is reasonably good and the prices are more or less the same as in the mainland. Please remember that when you buy from the village shop you support its existence, so please bring only the necessities with you from the mainland.
The opening hours can be checked at the shop’s facebook page.
ISLAND’S WATER is filtered from the sea water through the process of a reverse osmosis, which means that the water is much more expensice on the island than anywhere else in Finland.
ELECTRICITY comes from the mainland and is therefore very expensive.
HOTEL operates in former military buildings and there’s a reasonably priced seasonal buffet there. You can also find a hostel as well as many B&B’s (bed and breakfasts) that are open throughout the year. The lighthouse can only be accessed as part of a larger group of tourists.
TEMPERATURE on the island is often higher than on the mainland but high winds make the air feel colder than on the continent. Temperature and wind forecasts and real-time information can be found on www.uto.fi pages. The Meteorological Institute pages also provide site-specific weather information. Real-time readings can also be checked from the wall of the meteorological station, which is located 200 meters from the residency house.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. Warm clothing is necessary at all times of the year. Good hiking boots or rubber boots allow for outdoor activities around the island.
The recidency house is located 700 meters away from the dock on the island. Walk along the island’s only main road that starts as a downhill going straight into the village and lighthouse. There’s the marina with orange pilot boats on the left and you will see a shop called Utö-handel on your right. Walk past the shop and take the second path on your right and walk until you get to the end of it. You will see a memorial stone in front of the red residency building. This is also where the row of street lights ends.
The residency building is a log cabin built under the Russian rule in the 1910s and used to function as the telegrapher’s house.
The building is known on the island as Impilinna (Virgin castle) or as Telegrafen in Swedish and nowadays even as Taiteilijatalo (The Artists’ house). It has a small terrace and is surrounded by white fenced yard. The windows open onto four different directions and you can see the lighthouse in its full lenght from one the windows.
The house encompasses around 40 square meters which are divided into small bedroom and studio, a modern bathroom and a functioning kitchen. There’s electric heating, running water with a boiler. The electricity comes from the mainland and the water is filtered from the sea water using the method of reverse osmosis. This means that the utility costs are much more expensive than anywhere else in Finland so please use water and electricity responsibly.
- Bedroom: double bed, pillows and blankets for three
- Living/work room: daylight fluorescent lamps, table with wooden cover plate (please feel free to rearrange the furniture)
- Kitchen: Everything you need for cooking and eating
- Tools: A hammer, a handsaw, an electric drill, screwdrivers, cleaning equipment etc.
There’s a wood-fired sauna by the shore which can be rented out for 10 eur/an hour.
Take bus from Helsinki to Turku (or Piispanrsti) and from there to Pärnäinen. In Pärnäinen change to a ferry called “M/S Eivor” right next to the stop. The ferry is free of charge and it takes from 4 to 5 hours to Utö. The ferry stops at many other islands, Utö being the last one. There’s a canteen offering small selection of refreshments. The whole trip takes from 7,5 to 9 hours.
The route of the ferry Eivor is Pärnäinen – Beghamn – Nötö – Aspö – Jurmo – Utö. All the islands on the route are different and worth visiting.
When you are travelling the opposite way (from Utö back to Pärnäinen) please note that the bus will not pick up passengers from the ferry. In order to get on the bus you have to walk to the bus stop that is a short distance from the harbour. If the ferry is late coming back from Utö it normally informs the archipelago bus line of it.
It is of course possible to drive a car to Pärnäinen and then take the ferry. Note that it is not possible or even allowed to take a car to Utö, so you will have to leave it in a parking lot in Pärnäinen. There is one ferry for cars on the way to Pärnäinen (between Parainen and Nauvo) and it might be very crowded. Sometimes you have to wait even for an hour or so to get on the other side. The busses get to go first. Please consider this when planning your journey.
Note: The summer timetables differ from those in the winter so you should check the connections before you travel. In summer there’s another ferry connection to Utö from Turku center, M/S Kökar.