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Sauna Talk with Jasper Pääkkönen, actor, founder, and owner of Löyly Spa in Helsinki Finland

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“It makes me proud as a Finn. Not as the owner of the place, but that people have an opportunity to experience something uniquely Finnish.”

Jasper Pääkkönen – owner, Löly Spa, Helsinki Finland
Löyly Spa, Helsinki (Photo: Archdaily)

He may be most recognized as “The bad guy” in Spike Lee’s American Clansman movie, but those that know Jasper Pääkkönen, know him as anything but a bad guy.

Acting is being little kids again.

Every Finnish family has pretty much similar experience growing up with sauna.

Creates a certain bond. Naked removes the taboos. Strips away all the things that are so uncomfortable with nudity. In reality, nudity is our natural state of being. When you are stripped away from your clothes, you are stripped away from your barriers and roles. Finns grow up with a healthy body image, and an understanding of nudity.

Sauna is generally the place for the mandatory sex education talk.

Childhood home in Helsinki, a small electric sauna in the basement. Pretty much every family in Finland has a sauna in their home.

At the wood burning cabin sauna, everybody wants to go light the fire. The primal nature of fire and fishing. In our DNA. Providing food, catching something, picking berries, mushrooms. Everybody spends a lot of time in Nature. We spend a lot of time.

Everyman’s rights

Every person is allowed to roam freely in Nature. A lot of land is privately owned. Nature is everywhere and Nature is totally accessible. What makes this exotic for Americans is that private land is fenced off and “trespassers will be shot.” In Finland, we don’t even have a concept of land not being accessible to all. “I have never, ever heard of a land owner thinking they have a right to fence off their land… that type of mentality does not exist in Finland.”

It is common sense. It is something we don’t even have to think about. Finland is a very equal society. It is very flat in terms of social classes. This all comes from a few things, the main thing is that the education system is very open. “We don’t have private schools. We don’t have separation of the classes. You never get separated by the wealth of the family.

Education: Finland has often been ranked #1 in the World in terms of education. Everybody is playing on the same

When Finnish men and Finnish people enter the sauna, everybody is equal. When you are stripped away from your clothes, you are stripped away from your wallet, there are no social classes. All titles and status’ are go.

Two emblematic words in the Finnish language

Löyly Spa

A perfect name. A public sauna/bar/restaurant in downtown Helsinki. The most significant sauna building in the whole world. Something that A landmark for the city of Helsinki. Architect: free reigns, Nordic design, sleek, glass. That will become a landmark for

Time Magazine: Jasper’s Loyly: World’s 100 greatest places. Very few places in all the Nordic countries. An important destination for people visiting Helsinki from abroad.

3 tourists from Germany digging themselves between sauna rounds at Loyly Spa, Helsinki Finland.

Loyly is an abstract spirit of the sauna. We have 3.3 million saunas and 3.3 million different. The spirit of the sauna. As Finn’s we have a very practical approach to religion. For Finn’s sauna is a very spiritual place. It is a place of peace and quiet. A spiritual experience. People must like to sit in a church much like how we like to sit in a sauna.


A quick energetic experience. A lot of people start their day with a cold water avanto swim.

Sauna is a deep cleanse. You are pushing your impurities out of your system.

Finns have instinctively known for centuries that sauna is very healthy. For us, it is always been about taking care of our health. Not until recent years have we had significant science to back up these beliefs.

American saunas are horrible. They are built the wrong way. The sauna stoves are small, the seats are too long. The biggest problems are with the sauna room themselves. Signs banning you from adding water to the sauna rocks. The loyly is very essential to the sauna experience. The whole function of the sauna heater is to allow for Loyly.

“Dry sauna” can be a bit frustrating.

Building a real good sauna is not rocket science. As long as you know some very basic principle’s, you can easily build a good sauna.

What does it feel like to you to see people experiencing Loyly?

“It makes me proud as a Finn. Not as the owner of the place, but that people have an opportunity to experience something uniquely Finnish. Overwhelming sense we Finns don’t have a lot of things to be proud about. Thats how we feel about our culture and ourselves. We’ve always felt this overwhelming sense of humbleness. The fact that a visitor comes all the way to one of the most remote parts of the world, Finland, and wants to experience something uniquely Finnish is a matter of pride for us. And i’m so happy that I have a place in Helsinki that offers that chance for visitors. “

Loyly is full everyday. It has become a place where half the visitors are locals and the other half are tourists. You have a lot of different nationalities. We want to keep it extremely accessible so that everybody has a chance to experience it. We charge 19 euros for the entry. If it were in America, it would most likely be $50 minimum. We didn’t want to price it as a premium as it would eliminate the spirit of sauna. Sauna should be accessible to everyone.

It has been an interesting 3 years.

It almost runs itself with the great team we have in place running Loyly.

The serene peaceful feeling between sessions.

Jasper Pääkkönen and Glenn, Sauna Talk in Helsinki, May 2019

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