United Buddy Bears in Helsinki
Buddy bears, better known as "Berlin Bears", were created in 2001 on the initiative of German entrepreneurs Klaus and Eva Herlitz and sculptor Roman Strobl. Two-meter fiberglass figures of bears with their hands raised symbolized friendliness and positive emotions and were painted by artists from different countries in the national spirit.
In June 2002, 140 colorful figures formed a ring around the Brandenburg Gate, the exhibition was called "The Art of Tolerance".
After the exhibition ended, some of the bears were installed on the streets of Berlin, at the embassies of the respective states, becoming an unofficial symbol of the German capital. Other sculptures were auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The exhibition was a huge success, with the appearance of the United Buddy Bears, which produced the second set of sculptures, which went on an international tour.
In 2003, the bears again surrounded the Brandenburg Gate, and the following year they visited Austria and China.
Berlin bears have visited Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Poland, North Korea, Argentina, Uruguay, and Kazakhstan.
In September 2010, the bears reached the Finnish capital, where they were displayed around the perimeter of the Senate Square.
Bears still continue their journey across countries and continents, promoting peace and good relations between people of different nations.