About us

Activities

The Club year runs from September to May. The most important meeting place for members is the regular monthly Luncheon or Dinner Meeting, which starts with a presentation and discussion on a subject of topical interest to members. We invite as speakers authorities from, for example, the world of art, culture, business, finance or politics. The Club also has a weekly program of visits and excursions to businesses, institutions, museums, exhibitions, cultural events and places of cultural interest in Finland. Whenever possible, the Club also assists in the organization of trips abroad to members’ own countries.

The Club’s own events and activities are supplemented by a wide range of activity groups run by members. These include, for example, language conversation in a variety of languages, golf, tennis, advanced oil painting, book clubs, and bridge.

Membership

Membership is open to Finnish women and women of foreign nationalities living in Finland who are interested in and open to international cultures and global affairs and are prepared to take an active role in the Club’s activities. Each applicant needs two members as sponsors. The acceptance of applications for membership are decided by the Board. According to the Club’s by-laws the number of Finnish members must not exceed the number of foreign members and the Board must make every effort to secure an active membership by maintaining a balance in ages and interests among members. Annual membership fees are decided at the Annual General Meeting. The membership fee for the year 2016-2017 is 70€.

Today the Club has about 200 members of whom approximately half are of foreign nationality from over 40 countries. Our foreign members are ambassadors, diplomats, ex pat managers working for Finnish companies, researchers, artists or their partners or simply women who have decided for one reason or another to make their life in Finland. Our Finnish members have usually lived abroad for the same reasons as our foreign members are in Finland today.

If you think that you would enjoy being an active Club member and that you can bring added value to the Club and its membership, please contact our Membership Secretary with information about yourself and your background.

Communication within the Club

Information on the Club’s activities, membership, activity group meetings and other matters of interest to members is contained in the monthly Newsletter. A Membership Directory is sent to all members once a year, which also contains short profiles of our members to facilitate networking between members. The Board of the Club’s aim is to communicate with members efficiently and electronically where ever possible.

History of the Club: Our Story

In the spring of 1986 a group of friends who had lived abroad were talking about their memories and their positive experiences from International Women’s Clubs in different countries. They thought that a similar club was needed in Helsinki and decided to found one. The aim was to provide a forum for foreigners and Finns to meet. They gathered a group of eleven positive, active and well-informed ladies and started to carry out the plan.

The first IWCH Luncheon was held on February 10, 1987. The seating was done by lottery so that members and guests could get acquainted with one another. From the beginning, a Luncheon Meeting with a guest speaker on the second Tuesday of every month from September to May became the practice. These arrangements prevail mostly unchanged today. Besides holding the luncheons, they started arranging visits to places of interest once or twice a month. During the first year most programs featured Finnish society and culture. During the second year they added foreign cultures to their focus. Since then, cultural diversity has been very visible in the activities of our Club.

To increase the Club’s membership, the eleven charter members sent invitations to embassies, foreign banks and companies active in Helsinki. For Finnish members, however, they established strict standards. Every charter member could name three Finnish candidates and each one had to be unanimously accepted to become a member. They were expected to contribute to the purpose of the club. By the first Annual General Meeting in May 1987, the club had grown to 105 members representing 28 countries.

In thirty years, the number of members has more than doubled and we still want every new member to be willing and able to contribute something to the Club. Since the time of the IWCH’s founding, society has changed and many of our members work outside their homes. For some of our foreign members, a job may have brought them to Finland. However, our Club is still an excellent forum for contacts and friendship across borders, a dialogue between cultures and an introduction to Finnish society and culture. The aim to make our members’ daily lives easier, happier and more meaningful remains.

Contact Information

President
Leena Saastamoinen
leena.saastamoinen@iwch.fi

Vice President
Camilla Vitzthum

Foreign Vice President
Josien Bansema

Membership Secretary
Laura Vargas

www.iwch.fi
Postal Address
Liinasaarentie 1, FIN-02160 ESPOO

Bank Account
IBAN FI86 1572 3000 2000 14
BIC NDEAFIHH