The 70th anniversary of the Roosevelt Cottage was a success despite the challenging COVID-19 situation. The Cottage also received widespread national and international media attention.
In June 2020, the Roosevelt Cottage, the first building in Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle, turned 70 years old. The Cottage celebrated the visit of UN Goodwill Ambassador Eleanor Roosevelt on June 11, 1950. Read HERE more about the history of Roosevelt Cottage. The “Santa Claus Village Year-Round International Travel Centre” project supported the anniversary of this unique destination in various ways.
In summer 2020, the Cottage was opened for a long time to all visitors of Santa Claus Village and to tourists travelling to Lapland. More recently, the Cottage was on display only for invited guests and small groups. The Cottage was open for presentation in summer 2020 because Finland fortunately had a reasonably good COVID-19 situation at the time. Because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, international visitors to the Cottage were mainly limited to those from Norway and the Baltic countries.
The anniversary year tightened American-Finnish cooperation
Over the past 70 years, the Roosevelt Cottage has become one symbol of friendship between Finland and America. It has been visited by, among others, US. Vice President Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and it was highlighted in a keynote speech in Rovaniemi in 2019 by US. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Representatives of U.S. Embassy in Finland, UNICEF and City of Rovaniemi in front of Roosevelt Cottage 11.09.2020
On June 11, 2020, the city of Rovaniemi and the Santa Claus Village Cooperative in cooperation with the Finnish Embassy to the United States had originally planned to organize a ceremony open to the public in honour of the 70 year history of the Cottage. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commemoration was reconsidered as an event with a limited number of people, which took place on September 11, 2020.
Lapin Lauluveikot Choir performing in 70th anniversary celebration of Roosevelt Cottege.
At the warm-hearted event, greetings were heard from, among others, Robert Pence, United States Ambassador to Finland, and the men’s choir Lapin Lauluveikot performed, just as they did for Mrs. Roosevelt on her visit to the Arctic Circle 70 years and 3 months earlier.
The Roosevelt Cottage received widespread media attention around the world
During its historic anniversary, the Roosevelt Cottage also received a lot of attention in both domestic and foreign media. Mention of the Cottage and its anniversary received mention in Yleisradio, Lapin Kansa, Metsälehti, Maaseudun tulevaisuus, BBC Travel Show, Mediaset Italy, Hong Kong TVB, the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Santatelevision / Joulupukki TV, Nordic Labour Journal, among others.
The Cottage and its long history has clearly become an important cornerstone in increasing the international “street cred” of Santa Claus Village as the home of the real Santa Claus and a leading international Arctic-related year-round travel destination. The Cottage also shows that Santa Claus Village and the Arctic Circle area in Rovaniemi have become a fascinating international wealth- and job-creating tourism area thanks to the efforts and ingenuity of three generations of Laplanders.