Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin turning 72 years old

Santa Claus Village’s first building, the Roosevelt Cabin, is turning 72 years old. This symbol of American-European reconstruction and the light it brings people is perhaps more important now than ever

On Sunday, June 11, 1950, a valuable guest visited the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. On a sunny day in early summer, the people of the small town received Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt with a choir singing Lapland’s wonders, creating an atmosphere for the historic day. In honour of Mrs. Roosevelt, the first building at Rovaniemi’s Arctic Circle was quickly but carefully erected, a small and graceful log cabin designed by architect Ferdinand Salokangas. The cabin still proudly stands in the same location today.

Eleanor Roosevelt was the widow of Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the US from 1933 to 1945, and the soul of UNICEF’s predecessor UNRRA. Mrs. Roosevelt, an activist well known for her humanism and defence of human rights, decided to visit Rovaniemi in June 1950 to learn about the city’s reconstruction efforts after its destruction during the war. Prior to her visit, she expressed to her Finnish hosts her desire to cross the Arctic Circle. Inspired by this request, Roosevelt’s cabin was built, and around which, the entire Santa Claus Village has grown.

In the summer of 2022, tourists will be able to visit the Roosevelt Cabin, which now house a souvenir shop for Lapland handicrafts. The universal message of Roosevelt’s Cabin, about the importance of cooperation between free and democracy-loving nations, has once again found strong significance in 2022, as Ukraine has fallen victim to a bloody, illegal and immoral war of aggression. Roosevelt’s Cabin is part of the American-European cultural heritage of democratic societies, showing that in the end, light always overcomes darkness.

Click HERE to read more about the history of the Roosevelt Cabin.