Helsinki (/ˈhɛlsɪŋki/ or /hɛlˈsɪŋki/; Finnish
pronunciation: [ˈhelsiŋki] ( listen); Swedish:
pronunciation: [helsiŋˈfors] ( listen)) is the
capital city and most populous municipality of Finland.
the seat of the region of
Uusimaa in southern Finland, on the shore of
the Gulf of Finland.
Helsinki has a population of 642,045, the
Helsinki urban area
Helsinki urban area has a population of 1,231,595, and the Helsinki
metropolitan area has a population of over 1.4 million, making it the
most populous municipality and urban area in Finland.
located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia,
400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 390 km
(240 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Helsinki has close
historical ties with these three cities.
Helsinki metropolitan area includes Helsinki's urban core and
Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, and surrounding commuter towns. It
is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people,
and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state.
Helsinki is the third largest city in the Nordic countries, after
Stockholm and Oslo.
Helsinki is Finland's most important political,
educational, financial, cultural, and research center. The neighboring
Vantaa is the location of the
Helsinki Airport, which has
frequent service to many destinations in
Europe and Asia.
Helsinki was the
World Design Capital for 2012, the venue for the
1952 Summer Olympics, and the host of the 52nd Eurovision Song
Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the
world. In 2011, the British magazine Monocle ranked
world's most liveable city in its liveable cities index. In the
Economist Intelligence Unit's 2016 liveability survey,
ninth place among 140 cities.
2.1 Early history
2.2 Founding of Helsinki
2.3 Twentieth century
3.1 Metropolitan area
4 Neighbourhoods and other subdivisions
10.2 Universities of applied sciences
12.2 Intercity rail
12.4 Sea transport
12.5 Urban transport
13 International relations
Special partnership cities
14 Notable people
14.1 Born before 1900
14.2 Born after 1900
15 See also
18 External links
According to a theory presented in the 1630s, settlers from
Hälsingland in central
Sweden had arrived to what is now known as the
Vantaa River and called it Helsingå ("Helsinge River"), which gave
rise to the names of Helsinge village and church in the 1300s.
This theory is questionable, because dialect research suggests that
the settlers arrived from
Uppland and nearby areas. Others have
proposed the name as having been derived from the Swedish word
helsing, an archaic form of the word hals (neck), referring to the
narrowest part of a river, the rapids. Other Scandinavian cities
at similar geographic locations were given similar names at the time,
Helsingør in Denmark and
Helsingborg in Sweden.
When a town was founded in Forsby village in 1548, it was named
Helsinge fors, "Helsinge rapids". The name refers to the
Vanhankaupunginkoski rapids at the mouth of the river. The town
was commonly known as Helsinge or Helsing, from which the contemporary
Finnish name arose.
Official Finnish Government documents and
Finnish language newspapers
have used the name
Helsinki since 1819, when the Senate of Finland
moved itself into the city from Turku. The decrees issued in Helsinki
were dated with
Helsinki as the place of issue. This is how the form
Helsinki came to be used in written Finnish. As part of the Grand
Finland in the Russian Empire,
Helsinki was known as
Gelsingfors in Russian.
Helsinki slang, the city is called Stadi (from the Swedish word
stad, meaning "city"). Hesa (short for Helsinki), is not used by
natives of the city. Helsset is the
Northern Sami name of
History of Helsinki
History of Helsinki and Timeline of Helsinki
Helsinki in 1820 before rebuilding. Illustration by Carl
Suomenlinna began in the 18th century.
Iron Age the area occupied by present day
inhabited by Tavastians. They used the area for fishing and hunting,
for example, but due to lack of archeological finds it is difficult to
say how extensive their settlements were. Pollen analysis has shown
that there were cultivating settlements in the area in the 10th
century and surviving historical records from the 14th century
describe Tavastian settlements in the area.
Swedes colonised the coastline of the
Helsinki region in late 13th
century after the successful Second Crusade to Finland, which lead to
the defeat of the Tavastians.
Founding of Helsinki
Russian Empire 1742–1743
Grand Duchy of
Finland (Russian Empire) 1809–1917
Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic
Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic 1918
Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden
in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to
the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn). Little came of
the plans as
Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars,
and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the
inhabitants of Helsinki. The construction of the naval fortress
Sveaborg (In Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th
century helped improve Helsinki's status, but it was not until Russia
Sweden in the
Finnish War and annexed
Finland as the
autonomous Grand Duchy of
Finland in 1809 that the town began to
develop into a substantial city. During the war, Russians besieged the
Sveaborg fortress, and about one quarter of the town was destroyed in
an 1808 fire.
Russian Emperor Alexander I of
Russia moved the Finnish capital from
Helsinki in 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland,
and to bring the capital closer to Saint Petersburg. Following the
Great Fire of
Turku in 1827, the Royal Academy of Turku, at the time
the country's only university, was also relocated to Helsinki, and
eventually became the modern University of Helsinki. The move
consolidated the city's new role and helped set it on a path of
continuous growth. This transformation is highly apparent in the
downtown core, which was rebuilt in neoclassical style to resemble
Saint Petersburg, mostly to a plan by the German-born architect C. L.
Engel. As elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and
industrialization were key factors behind the city's growth.
Despite the tumultuous nature of Finnish history during the first half
of the 20th century (including the
Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War and the Winter
War which both left marks on the city),
Helsinki continued its steady
development. A landmark event was the 1952 Olympic Games, held in
Helsinki. Finland's rapid urbanization in the 1970s, occurring late
relative to the rest of Europe, tripled the population in the
metropolitan area, and the
Helsinki Metro subway system was built. The
relatively sparse population density of
Helsinki and its peculiar
structure have often been attributed to the lateness of its
Espoo seen from the SPOT satellite
Main article: Geography of Helsinki
Called the "Daughter of the Baltic",
Helsinki is on the tip of a
peninsula and on 315 islands. The inner city is located on a southern
peninsula, Helsinginniemi (”Helsinki’s peninsula”), which is
rarely referred to by its actual name,
peninsula”). Population density in certain parts of Helsinki's inner
city area is very high, reaching 16,494 inhabitants per square
kilometre (42,720/sq mi) in the district of Kallio, but as a
whole Helsinki's population density of 3,050 per square kilometre
(7,900/sq mi) ranks the city as rather sparsely populated in
comparison to other European capital cities. Much of Helsinki
outside the inner city area is postwar suburbs separated by patches of
forest. A narrow, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) long
Park, stretching from the inner city to Helsinki's northern border is
an important recreational area for residents. The City of
about 11,000 boat berths and possesses over 14,000 hectares of marine
fishing waters adjacent to the Capital Region. Some 60 fish species
are found in this area and recreational fishing is popular.
Major islands in
Helsinki include Seurasaari, Vallisaari, Lauttasaari,
and Korkeasaari – the lattermost being the site of Finland’s
largest zoo. Other noteworthy islands are the fortress island of
Suomenlinna (Sveaborg), the military island of Santahamina, and
Pihlajasaari island is a favorite summer spot for gay men
and naturists, comparable to
Fire Island in New York City.
Main article: Greater Helsinki
Helsingin keskustaajama, an officially recognized urban area
Helsinki metropolitan area, also known as the Capital Region
(Finnish: Pääkaupunkiseutu, Swedish: Huvudstadsregionen) comprises
four municipalities: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. The
Helsinki urban area
Helsinki urban area is considered to be the only metropolis in
Finland. It has a population of over 1,1 million, and is the most
densely populated area of Finland. The Capital Region spreads over a
land area of 770 square kilometres (300 sq mi) and has a
population density of 1,418 inhabitants per square kilometre
(3,670/sq mi). With over 20 percent of the country's population
in just 0.2 percent of its surface area, the area's housing density is
high by Finnish standards.
Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Greater Helsinki) consists of the
Helsinki Capital Region and ten surrounding municipalities.
The Metropolitan Area covers 3,697 square kilometres
(1,427 sq mi) and has a population of over 1.4 million, or
about a fourth of the total population of Finland. The metropolitan
area has a high concentration of employment: approximately 750,000
jobs. Despite the intensity of land use, the region also has large
recreational areas and green spaces. The
Greater Helsinki area is the
world's northernmost urban area with a population of over one million
people, and the northernmost EU capital city.
Helsinki urban area
Helsinki urban area is an officially recognized urban area in
Finland, defined by its population density. The area stretches
throughout 11 municipalities, and is the largest such area in Finland,
with a land area of 66,931 square kilometres (25,842 sq mi)
and approximately 1,2 million inhabitants.
Helsinki has a humid continental climate (Dfb). Owing to the
mitigating influence of the
Baltic Sea and
North Atlantic Current
North Atlantic Current (see
also Extratropical cyclone), temperatures during the winter are higher
than the northern location might suggest, with the average in January
and February around −5 °C (23 °F).
Helsinki are notably warmer than in the north of Finland,
and the snow season is much shorter in the capital. Temperatures below
−20 °C (−4 °F) occur at most a few times a year.
However, because of the latitude, days last 5 hours and 48 minutes
around the winter solstice with very low Sun (at noon, the Sun is a
little bit over 6 degrees in the sky), and the cloudy weather at this
time of year exacerbates darkness. Conversely,
Helsinki enjoys long
daylight during the summer; during the summer solstice, days last 18
hours and 57 minutes.
The average maximum temperature from June to August is around 19 to
22 °C (66 to 72 °F). Due to the marine effect, especially
during hot summer days, daily temperatures are a little cooler and
night temperatures higher than further inland. The highest temperature
ever recorded in the city centre was 33.1 °C (91.6 °F), on
18 July 1945, and the lowest was −34.3 °C (−30 °F), on
10 January 1987.
Helsinki Airport (in Vantaa, 17 kilometres
(11 mi) north of the
Helsinki city centre) recorded a temperature
of 34.0 °C (93.2 °F), on 29 July 2010, and a low of
−35.9 °C (−33 °F), on 9 January 1987.
received from frontal passages and thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are
most common in the summer.
Climate data for Central
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average snowfall cm (inches)
Average rainy days
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Climatological statistics for the normal period 1981–2010
(except the Records rows, which are 'all-time' records [data source
Climate data for
Helsinki Airport (Vantaa)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
Source #1: FMI climatological normals for
Source #2: record highs and lows
Neighbourhoods and other subdivisions
Main article: Subdivisions of Helsinki
The view across summertime Eläintarhanlahti
Helsinki Cathedral is among the most prominent buildings in the
Carl Ludvig Engel, appointed to plan a new city centre on his own,
designed several neoclassical buildings in Helsinki. The focal point
of Engel's city plan was the Senate Square. It is surrounded by the
Government Palace (to the east), the main building of Helsinki
University (to the west), and (to the north) the large Helsinki
Cathedral, which was finished in 1852, twelve years after Engel's
death. Helsinki's epithet, "The White City of the North", derives from
this construction era.
Helsinki is also home to numerous Art Nouveau-influenced (
Finnish) buildings belonging to the romantic nationalism trend,
designed in the early 20th century and strongly influenced by
Kalevala, which was a common theme of the era. Helsinki's Art Nouveau
style is also featured in central residential districts, such as
Katajanokka and Ullanlinna. An important architect of the Finnish Art
Nouveau style was Eliel Saarinen, whose architectural masterpiece was
Helsinki Central Station.
Helsinki also features several buildings by Finnish architect Alvar
Aalto, recognized as one of the pioneers of architectural
functionalism. However, some of his works, such as the headquarters of
the paper company
Stora Enso and the concert venue Finlandia Hall,
have been subject to divided opinions from the citizens.
Functionalist buildings in
Helsinki by other architects include the
Olympic Stadium, the Tennis Palace, the Rowing Stadium, the Swimming
Stadium, the Velodrome, the Glass Palace, the
Töölö Sports Hall,
and Helsinki-Malmi Airport. The sports venues were built to serve the
Helsinki Olympic Games; the games were initially cancelled due to
the Second World War, but the venues fulfilled their purpose in the
1952 Olympic Games. Many of them are listed by
DoCoMoMo as significant
examples of modern architecture. The Olympic Stadium and
Helsinki-Malmi Airport are also catalogued by the Finnish National
Board of Antiquities as cultural-historical environments of national
Helsinki's neoclassical buildings were often used as a backdrop for
scenes set to take place in the
Soviet Union in many
Cold War era
Hollywood movies, when filming in the USSR was not possible. Some of
The Kremlin Letter
The Kremlin Letter (1970), Reds (1981), and Gorky Park
(1983). Because some streetscapes were reminiscent of Leningrad's
and Moscow's old buildings, they too were used in movie productions.
At the same time the government secretly instructed Finnish officials
not to extend assistance to such film projects.
The start of the 21st century marked the beginning of highrise
construction in Helsinki.
In the 21st century
Helsinki has decided to allow the construction of
skyscrapers. As of April 2017 there are no skyscrapers taller than 100
meters in the
Helsinki area, but there are several projects under
construction or planning, mainly in
Pasila and Kalasatama. An
international architecture competition for at least 10 high-rises to
be built in
Pasila is being held. Construction of the towers will
start before 2020. In Kalasatama, the first 35-story (130 m) and
32-story (122 m) residential towers are already under construction.
Later they will be joined by a 37-story (140 metres), two 32-story
(122 metres, 400 feet), 31-story (120 metres), and 27-story (100
metres) residential buildings. In the Kalasatama area, there will be
about 15 high-rises within 10 years.
A panoramic view over the southernmost districts of
Hotel Torni. The
Helsinki Old Church
Helsinki Old Church and its surrounding park are seen
in the foreground, while the towers of St. John's Church (near center)
Mikael Agricola Church
Mikael Agricola Church (right) can be seen in the middle distance,
backdropped by the Gulf of Finland.
Main article: City Council of Helsinki
Helsinki City Hall
Helsinki City Hall houses the City Council of Helsinki
As is the case with all Finnish municipalities, Helsinki's city
council is the main decision-making organ in local politics, dealing
with issues such as urban planning, schools, health care, and public
transport. The council is chosen in the nationally-held municipal
elections, which are held every four years.
Helsinki's city council consists of eighty-five members. Following the
most recent municipal elections in 2017, the three largest parties are
National Coalition Party
National Coalition Party (25), the
Green League (21), and the
Social Democratic Party (12).
Helsinki is Jan Vapaavuori.
Uspenski Cathedral in Katajanokka.
At 53 percent of the population,
Helsinki has a higher proportion of
women than the national average, 51 percent. Helsinki's population
density of 2,739.36 people per square kilometre makes
densest city in Finland. Life expectancy for men and women is slightly
below the national averages: 75.1 years for men as compared to 75.7
years, 81.7 years for women as compared to 82.5 years.
Helsinki has experienced strong growth since the 1810s, when it
Turku as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland, which
later became the sovereign Republic of Finland. The city continued its
growth from that time on, with an exception during the Finnish Civil
War. From the end of
World War II
World War II up until the 1970s there was a
massive exodus of people from the countryside to the cities of
Finland, in particular Helsinki. Between 1944 and 1969 the population
of the city nearly doubled from 275,000 to 525,600.
In the 1960s, the population growth of
Helsinki began to decrease,
mainly due to a lack of housing. Some residents began to move to
the neighbouring cities of
Espoo and Vantaa, resulting in increased
population growth in both municipalities. Espoo's population increased
ninefold in sixty years, from 22,874 people in 1950 to 244,353 in
Vantaa saw an even more dramatic change in the
same time span: from 14,976 in 1950 to 197,663 in 2009, a thirteenfold
increase. These population changes prompted the municipalities of
Greater Helsinki into more intense cooperation in areas such as public
transportation – resulting in the foundation of HSL – and
waste management. The increasing scarcity of housing and the
higher costs of living in the capital region have pushed many daily
commuters to find housing in formerly rural areas, and even further,
to cities such as Lohja, Hämeenlinna, Lahti, and Porvoo.
Population by mother tongue
The population broken down by language group, 1870–2013. During the
period, the population increased significantly, and the city changed
its linguistic majority from Swedish to Finnish.
Speakers of other languages
Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Helsinki. 81.9%
of the citizens speak Finnish as their native language. 5.9% speak
Swedish. The remaining 12.2% of the population speaks a native
language other than Finnish or Swedish.
Helsinki slang is a regional dialect of the city. It combines
influences mainly from Finnish and English, and has traditionally had
strong Russian and Swedish influences. Finnish today is the common
language of communication between Finnish speakers, Swedish speakers,
and speakers of other languages (New Finns) in day-to-day affairs in
the public sphere between unknown persons. In
instances where a speaker's knowledge of Finnish is not known, English
is usually spoken. Swedish is commonly spoken in city or national
agencies specifically aimed at Finland-Swedish speakers, such as the
Social Services Department on Hämeentie or the Luckan Cultural centre
in Kamppi. Knowledge of Finnish is also essential in business and is
usually a basic requirement in the employment market.
Finnish speakers surpassed Swedish speakers in 1890 to become the
majority of the city's population. At the time, the population of
Helsinki was 61,530.
As the crossroads of many international ports and Finland's largest
Helsinki is the global gateway to and from Finland. The city
has Finland's largest immigrant population in both absolute and
relative terms. There are over 140 nationalities represented in
Helsinki. The largest groups (as of 2013[update]) are from Sweden,
Russia, Estonia, Somalia, China, Iraq, Spain, Germany, France,
Vietnam, and Turkey.
Foreign citizens make up 8.0% of the population, while the total
foreign-born population makes up 11.1%. In 2012, 68,375
residents spoke a native language other than Finnish, Swedish, or one
of the three
Sami languages spoken in Finland. The largest groups of
residents not of Finnish background come from
Russia (14,532), Estonia
Somalia (6,845). One third of Finland's immigrant
population lives in the city of Helsinki.
Kamppi Center, a shopping and transportation complex in Kamppi
Greater Helsinki generates approximately one third of Finland's GDP.
GDP per capita is roughly 1.3 times the national average.
The metropolitan area's gross value added per capita is 200% of the
mean of 27 European metropolitan areas, equalling those of Stockholm
and Paris. The gross value added annual growth has been around 4%.
83 of the 100 largest Finnish companies have their headquarters in
Greater Helsinki. Two-thirds of the 200 highest-paid Finnish
executives live in
Greater Helsinki and 42% in Helsinki. The average
income of the top 50 earners was 1.65 million euro.
The tap water is of excellent quality and it is supplied by
120 km (75 mi) long Päijänne Water Tunnel, one of the
world's longest continuous rock tunnels.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March
Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church in the Töölö
neighborhood of the city. The church was designed by architects and
brothers Timo and
Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Built directly
into solid rock, it is also known as the Church of the Rock and Rock
Main building of the University of Helsinki
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences is the largest business
polytechnic in Finland.
Helsinki has 190 comprehensive schools, 41 upper secondary schools,
and 15 vocational institutes. Half of the 41 upper secondary schools
are private or state-owned, the other half municipal. Higher level
education is given in eight universities (see the section
"Universities" below) and four polytechnics.
See also: List of universities in Finland
University of Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics
University of the Arts Helsinki
National Defence University
Universities of applied sciences
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Arcada University of Applied Sciences
Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Helsinki is one of the co-location centres of the Knowledge and
Innovation Community (Future information and communication society) of
European Institute of Innovation and Technology
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The biggest historical museum in
Helsinki is the National Museum of
Finland, which displays a vast historical collection from prehistoric
times to the 21st century. The museum building itself, a national
romantic style neomedieval castle, is a tourist attraction. Another
major historical museum is the
Helsinki City Museum, which introduces
visitors to Helsinki's 500-year history. The University of Helsinki
also has many significant museums, including the
Museum "Arppeanum" and the Finnish Museum of Natural History.
Finnish National Gallery
Finnish National Gallery consists of three museums:
Museum for classical Finnish art,
Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Sinebrychoff Art Museum for
classical European art, and
Kiasma Art Museum for modern art, in a
building by architect Steven Holl. The old Ateneum, a neo-Renaissance
palace from the 19th century, is one of the city's major historical
buildings. All three museum buildings are state-owned through Senate
The city of
Helsinki hosts its own art collection in the
Museum (HAM), primarily located in its
Tennispalatsi gallery. Pieces
Tennispalatsi include about 200 public art pieces and all
art held in property owned by the city.
The Design Museum is devoted to the exhibition of both Finnish and
foreign design, including industrial design, fashion, and graphic
design. Other museums in
Helsinki include the Military Museum of
Finland, Didrichsen Art Museum, Amos Anderson Art Museum, and the Tram
Museums in Helsinki
Classical art museum
Kiasma museum of contemporary art (1998)
Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Sinebrychoff Art Museum (1842)
Helsinki Art Museum
Helsinki Art Museum (1968)
The Design Museum (1894)
The National Museum of
Tram museum (Ratikkamuseo) (1900)
The Military Museum of
Kunsthalle Helsinki art venue (1928)
Finnish Museum of Natural History
Finnish Museum of Natural History (1913)
Didrichsen Art Museum
Didrichsen Art Museum (1964)
Amos Anderson Art Museum
Amos Anderson Art Museum (1913)
Helsinki University Museum
Helsinki University Museum "Arppeanum" (1869)
Finnish National Theatre
Finnish National Theatre (1902), designed by architect Onni
Helsinki has three major theatres: The Finnish National Theatre, the
Helsinki City Theatre, and the
Swedish Theatre (Svenska Teatern).
Other notable theatres in the city include the Alexander Theatre,
Q-teatteri, Savoy Theatre, KOM-theatre, and Teatteri Jurkka.
Helsinki is home to two full-size symphony orchestras, the Helsinki
Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, both
of which perform at the
Helsinki Music Centre
Helsinki Music Centre concert hall. Acclaimed
contemporary composers Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Esa-Pekka
Salonen, and Einojuhani Rautavaara, among others, were born and raised
in Helsinki, and studied at the Sibelius Academy. The Finnish National
Opera, the only full-time, professional opera company in Finland, is
located in Helsinki. The opera singer Martti Wallén, one of the
company's long-time soloists, was born and raised in Helsinki, as was
mezzo-soprano Monica Groop.
Many widely renowned and acclaimed bands have originated in Helsinki,
including Hanoi Rocks, HIM, Stratovarius, The 69 Eyes, Finntroll,
Ensiferum, Wintersun, The Rasmus, Poets of the Fall, and Apocalyptica.
The city's main musical venues are the Finnish National Opera, the
Finlandia concert hall, and the
Helsinki Music Centre. The Music
Centre also houses a part of the Sibelius Academy. Bigger concerts and
events are usually held at one of the city's two big ice hockey
Hartwall Arena or the
Helsinki Ice Hall.
Finland's largest fairgrounds, the Messukeskus Helsinki.
Helsinki Arena hosted the
Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest 2007, the first
Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest arranged in Finland, following Lordi's win in
Strange Fruit performing at the
Night of the Arts in Helsinki
Helsinki Festival is an annual arts and culture festival, which
takes place every August (including the Night of the Arts).
Vappu is an annual carnival for students and workers.
At the Senate Square in fall 2010, Finland's largest open-air art
exhibition to date took place: About 1.4 million people saw the
international exhibition of United Buddy Bears.
Helsinki was the 2012 World Design Capital, in recognition of the use
of design as an effective tool for social, cultural, and economic
development in the city. In choosing Helsinki, the World Design
Capital selection jury highlighted Helsinki's use of 'Embedded
Design', which has tied design in the city to innovation, "creating
global brands, such as Nokia, Kone, and Marimekko, popular events,
like the annual
Helsinki Design Week, outstanding education and
research institutions, such as the
Aalto University School of Arts,
Design and Architecture, and exemplary architects and designers such
Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto".
Helsinki hosts many film festivals. Most of them are small venues,
while some have generated interest internationally. The most prolific
of these is the Love & Anarchy film festival, also known as
Helsinki International Film Festival, which features films on a wide
spectrum. Night Visions, on the other hand, focuses on genre cinema,
screening horror, fantasy, and science fiction films in very popular
movie marathons that last the entire night. Another popular film
festival is DocPoint, a festival that focuses solely on documentary
Yle headquarters in Pasila, Helsinki
Today,[when?] there are around 200 newspapers, 320 popular magazines,
2,100 professional magazines, 67 commercial radio stations, three
digital radio channels, and one nationwide and five national public
service radio channels.
Sanoma publishes Finland's journal of record, Helsingin Sanomat, the
tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, the commerce-oriented Taloussanomat, and the
television channel Nelonen. Another Helsinki-based media house, Alma
Media, publishes over thirty magazines, including the newspaper
Aamulehti, the tabloid Iltalehti, and the commerce-oriented
Finland's national public-broadcasting institution
Yle operates five
television channels and thirteen radio channels in both national
Yle is headquartered in the neighbourhood of Pasila. All TV
channels are broadcast digitally, both terrestrially and on cable.
The commercial television channel
MTV3 and commercial radio channel
Radio Nova are owned by Nordic Broadcasting (Bonnier and Proventus
Main article: Sport in Helsinki
Helsinki Olympic Stadium
Helsinki Olympic Stadium was the centre of activities during the
1952 Summer Olympics.
Helsinki has a long tradition of sports: the city gained much of its
initial international recognition during the 1952 Summer Olympics, and
the city has arranged sporting events such as the first World
Championships in Athletics 1983 and 2005, and the European
Championships in Athletics 1971, 1994, and 2012.
successful local teams in both of the most popular team sports in
Finland: football and ice hockey.
Helsinki houses HJK Helsinki,
Finland's largest and most successful football club, and IFK
Helsingfors, their local rivals with 7 championship titles. The
fixtures between the two are commonly known as Stadin derby.
Helsinki's track and field club Helsingin Kisa-Veikot is also dominant
Ice hockey is popular among many
who usually support either of the local clubs IFK Helsingfors (HIFK)
or Jokerit. HIFK, with 14 Finnish championships titles, also plays in
the highest bandy division, along with Botnia-69. The Olympic
stadium hosted the first ever
Bandy World Championship in 1957.
Helsinki was elected host-city of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but due to
World War II
World War II they were canceled. Instead
Helsinki was the host of the
1952 Summer Olympics. The Olympics were a landmark event symbolically
and economically for
Finland as a whole that was
recovering from the winter war and the continuation war fought with
the Soviet Union.
Helsinki was also in 1983 the first ever city to
host the World Championships in Athletics.
Helsinki also hosted the
event in 2005, thus also becoming the first city to ever host the
Championships for a second time. The
Helsinki City Marathon has been
held in the city every year since 1980, usually in August. A Formula
3000 race through the city streets was held on 25 May 1997. In 2009
Helsinki was host of the European Figure Skating Championships, and in
2017 it hosted World Figure Skating Championships.
Helsinki region roads
The backbone of Helsinki's motorway network consists of three
semicircular beltways, Ring I, Ring II, and Ring III, which connect
expressways heading to other parts of Finland, and the western and
eastern arteries of
Länsiväylä and Itäväylä respectively. While
variants of a Keskustatunneli tunnel under the city centre have been
repeatedly proposed, as of 2017[update] the plan remains on the
Helsinki has some 390 cars per 1000 inhabitants. This is less than
in cities of similar population and construction density, such as
Brussels' 483 per 1000, Stockholm's 401, and Oslo's 413.
Helsinki Central Railway Station
Helsinki Central Railway Station is the main terminus of the rail
network in Finland. Two rail corridors lead out of Helsinki, the Main
Line to the north (to Tampere, Oulu, Rovaniemi), and the Coastal Line
to the west (to Turku). The railway connection to the east branches
from the Main Line outside of
Helsinki at Kerava, and leads via Lahti
to eastern parts of
Finland and to Russia.
A majority of intercity passenger services in
Finland originate or
terminate at the
Helsinki Central Railway Station. All major cities in
Finland are connected to
Helsinki by rail service, with departures
several times a day. The most frequent service is to Tampere, with
more than 25 intercity departures per day as of 2017. There are
international services from
Saint Petersburg and to Moscow
in Russia. The
Saint Petersburg to
Helsinki route is operated with the
Allegro high-speed trains.
Tallinn Tunnel has been proposed and agreed upon by
representatives of the cities. The rail tunnel would connect
Helsinki to the Estonian capital Tallinn, further linking
the rest of continental
Europe by Rail Baltica.
Air traffic is handled primarily from the international Helsinki
Airport, located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of
Helsinki's downtown area, in the neighbouring city of Vantaa.
Helsinki's own airport, Helsinki-Malmi Airport, is mainly used for
general and private aviation.
Charter flights are available from
The South Harbour
Like many other cities,
Helsinki was deliberately founded at a
location on the sea in order to take advantage of shipping. The
freezing of the sea imposed limitations on sea traffic up to the end
of the 19th century. But for the last hundred years, the routes
Helsinki have been kept open even in winter with the aid of
icebreakers, many of them built in the
Helsinki Hietalahti shipyard.
The arrival and departure of ships has also been a part of everyday
life in Helsinki. Regular route traffic from
Helsinki to Stockholm,
Saint Petersburg began as far back as 1837. Over 300
cruise ships and 360,000 cruise passengers visit
There are international cruise ship docks in South Harbour,
Katajanokka, West Harbour, and Hernesaari.
Helsinki is the second
busiest passenger port in
Europe with approximately 11 million
passengers in 2013.
Ferry connections to Tallinn, Mariehamn, and
Stockholm are serviced by various companies. Finnlines
passenger-freight ferries to Gdynia, Poland; Travemünde, Germany; and
Germany are also available.
St. Peter Line
St. Peter Line offers passenger
ferry service to
Saint Petersburg several times a week.
Public transport in Helsinki
Helsinki Metro with its characteristic bright orange trains is the
world's northernmost subway
Central railway station, inaugurated 1919
Helsinki metropolitan area, public transportation is managed by
Helsinki Regional Transport Authority, the metropolitan area
transportation authority. The diverse public transport system consists
of trams, commuter rail, the metro, bus lines, two ferry lines and a
public bike system.
Helsinki's tram system has been in operation with electric drive
continuously since 1900. 13 routes that cover the inner part of the
city are operated. As of 2017, the city is expanding the tram network,
with several major tram line construction projects under way. These
include the 550 trunk line (Raide-Jokeri), roughly along
Ring I around
the city center, and a new tramway to the island of Laajasalo.
Helsinki Metro, opened in 1982, is the only metro system in
Finland, albeit the
Helsinki commuter rail
Helsinki commuter rail trains operate at
metro-like frequencies. In 2006, the construction of the long debated
extension of the metro into Western
approved. The extension finally opened after delays in November
2017. An eastern extension into the planned new district of
Östersundom and neighboring
Sipoo has also been seriously debated.
Helsinki's metro system currently consists of 25 stations, with 14 of
The commuter rail system includes purpose-built double track for local
services in two rail corridors along intercity railways, and the Ring
Rail Line, an urban double-track railway with a station at the
Helsinki Airport in Vantaa. Electric operation of commuter trains was
first begun in 1969, and the system has been gradually expanded since.
15 different services are operated as of 2017, some extending outside
Helsinki region. The frequent services run at a 10-minute
headway in peak traffic.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Finland
Special partnership cities
Helsinki has a special partnership relation with:
Saint Petersburg, Russia
China (since 2006)
Born before 1900
Karl Fazer, the chocolatier and Olympic sport shooter best known for
Peter Forsskål (1732–1763), Swedish-Finnish naturalists and
Axel Hampus Dalström (1829–1882), architect
Jakob Sederholm (1863–1934), Petrologe
Karl Fazer (1866–1932), baker, confectioner, chocolatier,
entrepreneur, and sport shooter
Emil Lindh (1867–1937), sailor
Oskar Merikanto (1868–1924), composer
Gunnar Nordström (1881–1923), theoretical physicist
Väinö Tanner (1881–1966), politician
Walter Jakobsson (1882–1957), figure skater
Mauritz Stiller (1883–1928), Russian-Swedish director and
Karl Wiik (1883–1946), Social Democratic politician
Lennart Lindroos (1886–?), swimmer, Olympic games 1912
Erkki Karu (1887–1935), film director and producer
Kai Donner (1888–1935), linguist, anthropologist and politician
Gustaf Molander (1888–1973), Swedish director and screenwriter
Johan Helo (1889–1966), lawyer and politician
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895–1973), chemist, Nobel Prize 1945
Elmer Diktonius (1896–1961), Finnish-Swedish writer and composer
Yrjö Leino (1897–1961), communist politician
Toivo Wiherheimo (1898–1970), economist and politician
Born after 1900
Linus Torvalds, the software engineer best known for creating the
popular open-source kernel Linux
Paavo Berglund (1929–2012), conductor
Laci Boldemann (1921–1969), composer
Irja Agnes Browallius
Irja Agnes Browallius (1901–1968), Swedish writer
Bo Carpelan (1926–2011), Finland-Swedish writer, literary critic and
Tarja Cronberg (born 1943), politician
Ragnar Granit (1900–1991), Finnish-Swedish neurophysiologist and
Tarja Halonen (born 1943), President of Finland
Ville Valo (born 1976), Lead Singer of the rock band HIM
Reino Helismaa (1913–1965), writer, film actor and singer
Bengt Holmström (born 1949), Professor of Economics, Nobel laureate
Tove Jansson (1914–2001), Finland-Swedish writer, painter,
illustrator, comic writer, graphic designer
Lennart Koskinen (born 1944), Swedish, Lutheran bishop
Olli Lehto (born 1925), mathematician
Samuel Lehtonen (1921–2010), bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Finland
Juha Leiviskä (born 1936), architect
Magnus Lindberg (born 1958), composer and pianist
Lill Lindfors (born 1940), Finland-Swedish singer and TV presenter
Vesa-Matti Loiri (born 1945), actor, comedian, singer
Georg Malmstén (1902–1981), singer, musician, composer, orchestra
director and actor
Tauno Marttinen (1912–2008), composer
Susanna Mälkki (born 1969), conductor
Rolf Nevanlinna (1925–2016), architect, university teacher and
Markku Peltola (1956–2007), actor and musician
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928–2016), composer
Elisabeth Rehn (born 1935), politician
Kaija Saariaho (born 1952), composer
Riitta Salin (born 1950), athlete
Esa-Pekka Salonen (born 1958), composer and conductor
Heikki Sarmanto (born 1939), jazz pianist and composer
Märta Tikkanen (born 1935), Finland-Swedish writer and philosophy
Linus Torvalds (born 1969), software engineer, creator of Linux
Sirkka Turkka (born 1939), poet
Mika Waltari (1908–1979), writer
Subdivisions of Helsinki
^ a b Ainiala, Terhi (2009). "Place Names in the Construction of
Social Identities: The Uses of Names of Helsinki". Research Institute
for the Languages of Finland. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
^ "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land
Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
^ a b "Ennakkoväkiluku sukupuolen mukaan alueittain, elokuu 2017" (in
Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
^ "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and
land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's
PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December
2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland.
Retrieved 28 April 2009.
^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration
of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
^ Collins English Dictionary
^ American Heritage Dictionary
^ "Taulukko: Taajamat väkiluvun ja väestöntiheyden mukaan
31.12.2015" (in Finnish). 31 December 2015. Retrieved 20 February
^ "Cities of Finland". Eurostat. Archived from the original on 18 May
2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
^ a b "Past capital: Helsinki". Worlddesigncapital.com. Retrieved 19
^ "Most liveable city: Helsinki — Monocle Film / Affairs".
Monocle.com. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
^ 2016 Global Liveability Ranking
^ Salminen, Tapio (2013). Vantaan ja Helsingin pitäjän keskiaika
[The Middle-age in
Vantaa and Helsinki] (in Finnish). Vantaa.
^ Hellman, Sonja (7 June 2015). "Historiska fel upprättas i ny bok"
[Historical misinformation corrected in new book]. Hufvudstadsbladet
^ "Utbildning & Vetenskap: Svenskfinland". Veta.yle.fi. Archived
from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
^ "Onko kosken alkuperäinen nimi Helsinginkoski vai
Vanhankaupunginkoski?". Helsinginkoski. Retrieved 26 February
^ Jäppinen, Jere (2007). "Helsingin nimi" (PDF).
www.helsinginkaupunginmuseo.fi. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo. Retrieved 26
^ Jäppinen, Jere (15 November 2011). "Mistä Helsingin nimi on
peräisin?". Helsingin Sanomat: D2.
^ Ristkari, Maiju: Heinäsorsat Helsingissä.
Aku Ankka #44/2013,
introduction on page 2.
^ "Sami Grammar". uta.fi. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
^ a b V.-P. Suhonen and Janne Heinonen. "Helsingin keskiaikaiset ja
uuden ajan alun kylänpaikat 2011, Inventointiraportti. Museovirasto,
Arkeologiset kenttäpalvelut" (PDF).
^ Tarkiainen, Kari (2010). Ruotsin itämaa. Helsinki: Svenska
litteratussällskapet i Finland. pp. 122–125.
^ "Ruttopuisto – Plague Park". Tabblo.com. Archived from the
original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2008.
^ Niukkanen, Marianna; Heikkinen, Markku. "Vuoden 1808 suurpalo".
Kurkistuksia Helsingin kujille (in Finnish). National Board of
Antiquities. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "8 April 1812 Emperor Alexander I promotes
Helsinki to the capital
of the Grand Duchy. -
Helsinki 200 years as capital".
^ "Geography of Helsinki, Overview of Finland". easyexpat.com.
Retrieved 5 February 2014.
^ "Helsinki — School of Computer Science — SOCS". McGill
University. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
^ "Aluejaot". Tietopalvelu (in Finnish). Uudenmaan liitto. Retrieved
29 May 2014.
^ "Uudenmaan maakuntakaava selostus" (PDF) (in Finnish).
Uusimaa Region. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August
2011. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
^ "Helsingin seutu tiivistetysti". Kaupunkitieto (in Finnish).
^ "Climate Helsinki: Temperature, Climograph, Climate table for
Helsinki - Climate-Data.org". en.climate-data.org. Retrieved
^ a b "Climatological statistics for the normal period 1971–2000".
Fmi.fi. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
^ Tukiainen, Matti. "Helsinki, Finland – Sunrise, sunset, dawn
and dusk times around the World!". Gaisma. Retrieved 11 February
^ "Ilmatieteen laitos – Sää ja ilmasto –
Ilmastotilastot – Ilman lämpötila" (in Finnish). Finnish
Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 4 June 2009.
Retrieved 8 July 2009.
^ "FMI normals 1981-2010" (PDF). Fmi.fi. Retrieved 26 April
^ "FMI open data". FMI. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
^ "Stora Enson pääkonttori, Kanavaranta 1". "Helsingin Aallot" blog
(in Finnish). 25 February 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
^ "Kohtaako Enson konttori voittajansa?".
Helsingin Sanomat (in
Finnish). 14 June 2008. Lead editorial. Retrieved 5 February
^ Penttilä, Vappu. "
Kiasma nousi inhokkien ykköseksi". Verkkoliite
(in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat. Archived from the original on 29 June
2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
^ Willis, David K. (4 August 1983). "When it comes to films on Russia,
they've seen enough" – via Christian Science Monitor.
^ Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Political Department: "Memo
56 of 20 January 1982 (labelled highly confidential in 1982)"
(PDF). (1.37 MB)
^ "Uutta Helsinkiä".
^ "REDI" (PDF).
^ "Helsingin vaalipiiri — Tulospalvelu — Kuntavaalit
2012". Vaalikone.fi. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013.
Retrieved 12 March 2013.
^ Tapani Valkonen ym. (17 December 2007). "Tutkimuksia 10/2007:
Elinajanodotteen kehitys Helsingissä ja sen väestönosaryhmissä
1991–2005" (PDF). Helsingin kaupunki, tietokeskus. Retrieved 30
^ Tilastolaitoksen historiaa. "Tilasto". Stat.fi. Retrieved 13 April
^ "Helsingin historia". Hel.fi. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
^ "Maan alle". Aatos.fi. 30 December 1972. Retrieved 13 April
^ Butzin, Bernhard (1991). "Helsinki — aspects of urban
development and planning". GeoJournal. Springer, Netherlands. 2 (1):
11–26. doi:10.1007/BF00212573. ISSN 0343-2521.
^ "HSL Helsingin seudun liikenne – About HSL". Hsl.fi. 1
January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 January 2010. Retrieved
13 April 2010.
^ "HSY – Default". Hsy.fi. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
^ "Foreigners in
Helsinki 2013" (PDF). City of Helsinki. Retrieved 18
^ "General information on Helsinki".
^ "Immigrants Learning Swedish over Finnish Run into Problems News
YLE Uutiset". yle.fi. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
^ "Helsingin nimistön vaiheita". Scripta.kotus.fi. Retrieved 13 April
^ "Kysy.fi Helsingin kaupunginkirjasto" (in Finnish).
Igs.kirjastot.fi. Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved
17 February 2014.
^ a b c "12 06 28 Tilastoja 23 Peuranen" (PDF) (in Finnish). City of
Helsinki. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
^ Katriina Pajari (7 December 2008). "Kolmannes maahanmuuttajista asuu
Helsingissä – HS.fi – Kaupunki". HS.fi. Archived from
the original on 17 February 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
Helsinki Region Statistics". Helsinginseutu.fi. Retrieved 17
^ "Kansilehti2.vp" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2010.
^ "Helsingin Sanomat – International Edition – Metro".
Hs.fi. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
^  Archived 11 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki", Retrieved 5 September 2012.
^ "Rock church (Temppeliaukio)".
Helsinki parishes. Retrieved 20
^ "European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Home".
Eit.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved
13 April 2010.
Eurovision Song Contest 2007
Eurovision Song Contest 2007 Final". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 8
Helsinki Festival". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
Helsinki International Film Festival". hiff.fi. Retrieved 21
^ "DocPoint". docpoint.info. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
^ "Night Visions Film Festival". Nightvisions.info. Retrieved 21
^ Video from the Finnish final 2009 against OLS from Oulu: Youtube.com
^ "The Finnish
Bandy Federation". Retrieved 2 April 2016.
World Figure Skating Championships 2017".
^  Archived 11 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Runge" (PDF). European Academy of the Urban Environment. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 17 February
^ "Tietokeskus: suunnatframe". Hel2.fi. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
Tallinn tunnel proposals look to bring cities closer than
ever". The Guardian. 6 January 2016.
^ Feargus O'Sullivan (7 January 2016). "
Tallinn Agree to
Build the World's Longest Underwater Rail Tunnel". CityLab.
Länsimetro rakentaa tulevaisuutta turvallisesti". Lansimetro.fi.
Retrieved 17 February 2014.
^ "Metro extension finally launched – commuters rejoice, experts
cautious". Yle. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
^ "Route maps".
^ a b c d e f "International Relations". Hel.fi. City of Helsinki.
Retrieved 11 June 2017. Helsinki’s main bilateral city partners are
St. Petersburg, Tallinn,
Stockholm and Berlin. In addition, Helsinki
maintains special long-term partnerships with
Beijing and Moscow.
Helsinki has no official sister cities.
Helsinki primarily works with
^ Yan, Yangtze (14 July 2006). "Beijing,
Helsinki forge sister city
relationship". Gov.cn. Chinese Government. Retrieved 5 August
^ "Sister Cities".
Beijing Municipal Government. Retrieved 23 June
See also: Bibliography of the history of Helsinki
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