Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland

History | Founding | History : 20th century | Geography | Metropolitan area | Neighbourhoods | Neoclassical and romantic nationalism | Functionalism and modern architecture | Statues and sculptures | Economy | Education | Research universities | Other institutions of higher education | Culture : Museums | Theatres | Culture : Music | Art | Media | Food | Other | Sport | Transport : Road | Intercity rail | Transport : Air | Sea transport | Transport : Urban

🇫🇮 Helsinki, is the capital and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and is the country's most important centre for politics, education, finance, culture, and research; while Tampere in the Pirkanmaa region, located 179 km (111 mi) to the north from Helsinki, is the second largest urban area in Finland. Helsinki is located 80 km (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

Together with the cities of Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen (and surrounding commuter towns, including the eastern neighboring municipality of Sipoo) Helsinki forms the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area. Often considered to be Finland's only metropolis, it is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people as well as the northernmost capital of an EU member state. After Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki is the third largest municipality in the Nordic countries. Finnish and Swedish are both official languages. The city is served by the international Helsinki Airport, located in the neighbouring city of Vantaa, with 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 Contest in 2007.

Helsinki has one of the world's highest standards of urban living. In 2011, the British magazine Monocle ranked Helsinki the world's most liveable city in its liveable cities index. In the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2016 liveability survey, Helsinki was ranked ninth among 140 cities. On July 20, 2021, the American magazine Time ranked Helsinki one of the greatest places in the world in 2021 as a city that "can grow into a sprouting cultural nest in the future", and which has already been known in the world as an environmental pioneer. An international Cities of Choice survey conducted in 2021 by the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group and the BCG Henderson Institute raised Helsinki the third best city in the world to live, with London and New York City ranking the first and the second. Also, together with Rovaniemi in the Lapland region, Helsinki is one of Finland's most significant tourist cities in terms of foreign tourism.


History After the end of the Ice Age and the retreat of the ice sheet, the first settlers arrived in the Helsinki area around 5000 BC. Their presence has been documented by archaeologists in Vantaa, Pitäjänmäki and Kaarela. Permanent settlements did not appear until the beginning of the 1st millennium AD, during the Iron Age, when the area was inhabited by the Tavastians. They used the area for fishing and hunting, but due to the lack of archaeological finds it is difficult to say how extensive their settlements were. Pollen analysis has shown that there were agricultural settlements in the area in the 10th century, and surviving historical records from the 14th century describe Tavastian settlements in the area.

The early settlements were raided by Vikings and later colonised by Christians from Sweden. They came mainly from the Swedish coastal regions of Norrland and Hälsingland, and their migration intensified around 1100. Swedes permanently colonised the Helsinki region's coastline in the late 13th century after the successful Second Crusade to Finland, which led to the defeat of the Tavastians.

Written chronicles from 1417 mention the village of Koskela near the rapids at the mouth of the River Vantaa, where Helsinki was to be founded.


Founding Helsinki was founded by King Gustav I of Sweden on 12 June 1550 as a trading town called Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (now Tallinn) on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. In order to populate the newly founded town at the mouth of the Vantaa River, the king ordered the bourgeoisie of Porvoo, Ekenäs, Rauma and Ulvila to move to the town. The shallowness of the bay did not allow for the construction of a harbour, and the king allowed the settlers to leave the unfortunate location. In 1640, Count Per Brahe the Younger, together with some descendants of the original settlers, moved the centre of the town to the Vironniemi peninsula by the sea, today's Kruununhaka district, where the Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral are located today.

During the second half of the 17th century, Helsinki, as a wooden town, suffered from regular fires, and by the beginning of the 18th century the population had fallen below 1,700. For a long time, Helsinki was mainly a small administrative town for the governors of Nyland and Tavastehus County, but its importance began to grow when a more solid naval defence began to be built in front of the town in the 18th century. Little came of the plans, however, as Helsinki remained a small town plagued by poverty, wars and disease. The plague of 1710 killed most of Helsinki's population. After the Russians conquered Helsinki in May 1713 during the Great Northern War, the retreating Swedish administration set fire to parts of the town. Despite this, the town's population grew to 3,000 by the beginning of the 19th century. The construction of the naval fortress of Sveaborg (Viapori in Finnish, now also called Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status. However, it wasn't until Russia defeated 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. The Russians besieged the Sveaborg fortress during the war, and about a quarter of the town was destroyed in a fire in 1808.

Emperor Alexander I of Russia moved the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki on 8 April 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland and to bring the capital closer to St Petersburg. Following the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, the Royal Academy of Turku, the only university in the country at the time, was also moved 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 most evident in the city centre, which was rebuilt in the neoclassical style to resemble Saint Petersburg, largely according to a plan by the German-born architect C. L. Engel. As elsewhere, technological advances such as railways and industrialisation were key factors in the city's growth.


History: 20th century By the 1910s, the population of Helsinki was already over 100,000, and despite the tumultuous nature of Finnish history in the first half of the 20th century, Helsinki continued to grow steadily. This included the Finnish Civil War and the Winter War, both of which left their mark on the city. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were roughly equal numbers of Finnish and Swedish speakers in Helsinki; the majority of workers were Finnish-speaking. The local Helsinki slang (or stadin slangi) developed among Finnish children and young people from the 1890s as a mixed Finnish-Swedish language, with influences from German and Russian, and from the 1950s the slang began to become more Finnish. A landmark event was the 1952 Olympic Games, which were held in Helsinki. Finland's rapid urbanisation in the 1970s, which occurred late compared to the rest of Europe, tripled the population of the metropolitan area, and the Helsinki Metro subway system was built. Helsinki's relatively low population density and peculiar structure have often been attributed to its late growth.


Geography Known as the "Daughter of the Baltic" or the "Pearl of the Baltic", Helsinki is located at the tip of a peninsula and on 315 islands. The city centre is located on a southern peninsula, Helsinginniemi ("Cape of Helsinki"), which is rarely referred to by its actual name, Vironniemi ("Cape of Estonia"). Population density is comparatively high in certain parts of downtown Helsinki, reaching 16,494 inhabitants per square kilometre (42,720/sq mi) in the district of Kallio, but overall Helsinki's population density of 3,113 per square kilometre (8,060/sq mi) ranks the city as sparsely populated compared to other European capitals. Outside the city centre, much of Helsinki consists of post-war suburbs separated by patches of forest. A narrow, 10 km (6.2 mi) long Helsinki Central Park, which stretches from the city centre to Helsinki's northern border, is an important recreational area for residents. The City of Helsinki has about 11,000 boat moorings and over 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres; 54 square miles) of marine fishing waters adjacent to the capital region. About 60 species of fish are found in this area, and recreational fishing is popular.

Helsinki's main islands include Seurasaari, Lauttasaari and Korkeasaari - the latter is home to Finland's largest zoo, Korkeasaari Zoo. The former military islands of Vallisaari and Isosaari are now open to the public, but Santahamina is still in military use. The most historic and remarkable island is the fortress of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg). The island of Pihlajasaari is a popular summer resort for gays and naturists, comparable to Fire Island in New York City.

There are 60 nature reserves in Helsinki with a total area of 95,480 acres (38,640 ha). Of the total area, 48,190 acres (19,500 ha) are water areas and 47,290 acres (19,140 ha) are land areas. The city also has seven nature reserves in Espoo, Sipoo, Hanko and Ingå. The largest nature reserve is the Vanhankaupunginselkä, with an area of 30,600 acres (12,400 ha). The city's first nature reserve, Tiiraluoto of Lauttasaari, was established in 1948.

Helsinki's official plant is the Norway maple and its official animal is the red squirrel.


Metropolitan area The 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 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 km (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.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Greater Helsinki) consists of the cities of Helsinki Capital Region and ten surrounding municipalities: Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Nurmijärvi, Sipoo, Tuusula, Pornainen, Mäntsälä and Vihti. The Metropolitan Area covers 3,697 square km (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.

The Helsinki urban area is an officially recognised 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 669.31 square km (258.42 sq mi) and approximately 1.2 million inhabitants.


Neighbourhoods Helsinki is divided into three major areas: Helsinki Downtown (Helsingin kantakaupunki, Swedish: Helsingfors innerstad), North Helsinki (Pohjois-Helsinki, Norra Helsingfors) and East Helsinki (Itä-Helsinki, Östra Helsingfors). Of these, Helsinki Downtown means the undefined core area of capital, as opposed to suburbs. The designations business centre and city centre usually refer to Kluuvi, Kamppi and Punavuori. Other subdivisional centres outside the downtown area include Malmi (Malm), located in the north-eastern part of city, and Itäkeskus (Östra centrum), in the eastern part of city.


Neoclassical and romantic nationalism 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. Most of Helsinki's older buildings were built after the 1808 fire; before that time, the oldest surviving building in the centre of Helsinki is the Sederholm House  (1757) at the intersection of Senate Square and the Katariinankatu street. Suomenlinna also has buildings completed in the 18th century, including the Kuninkaanportti on the Kustaanmiekka Island  (1753–1754). The oldest church in Helsinki is the Old Church (1826) designed by Engel.

Helsinki is also home to numerous Art Nouveau-influenced (Jugend in Finnish) buildings belonging to the Kansallisromantiikka (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 the Helsinki Central Station. Opposite the Bank of Finland building is the Renaissance Revivalish the House of the Estates (1891).

The only visible public buildings of the Gothic Revival architecture in Helsinki are St. John's Church (1891) in Ullanlinna, which is the largest stone church in Finland, and its twin towers rise to 74 meters and have 2,600 seats. Other examples of neo-Gothic include the House of Nobility in Kruununhaka and the Catholic St. Henry's Cathedral.

In addition to other cities in Northern Europe that were not under the Soviet Union, such as Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki's neoclassical buildings gained also popularity as a backdrop for scenes intended to depict the Soviet Union in numerous Hollywood movies during the Cold War era, when filming within the actual USSR was not possible. Some of them, including The Kremlin Letter (1970), Reds (1981), and Gorky Park (1983). was possible due to such Russian cities as Leningrad and Moscow also having similar neoclassical architecture. At the same time due to Cold War and Finnish relations with the USSR the government secretly instructed Finnish officials not to extend assistance to such film projects. There are some films where Helsinki has been represented on its own in films, most notably the 1967 British-American espionage thriller Billion Dollar Brain, starring Michael Caine. The city has large amounts of underground areas such as shelters and tunnels, many used daily as swimming pool, church, water management, entertainment etc.


Functionalism and modern architecture Helsinki also features several buildings by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, recognised 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 1940 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 Heritage Agency as cultural-historical environments of national significance.

When Finland became heavily urbanized in the 1960s and 1970s, the district of Pihlajamäki, for example, was built in Helsinki for new residents, where for the first time in Finland, precast concrete was used on a large scale. Pikku Huopalahti, built in the 1980s and 1990s, has tried to get rid of a one-size-fits-all grid pattern, which means that its look is very organic and its streets are not repeated in the same way. Itäkeskus in Eastern Helsinki was the first regional centre in the 1980s. Efforts have also been made to protect Helsinki in the late 20th century, and many old buildings have been renovated. Modern architecture is represented, for example, by the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, which consists of two straight and curved-walled parts, though this style strongly divided the opinions from the citizens. Next to Kiasma is the glass-walled Sanomatalo (1999).

The start of the 21st century marked the beginning of highrise construction in Helsinki, when the city decided to allow the construction of skyscrapers; prior to this, Hotel Torni (69.5 m (228 ft)), built in 1931, has generally been called Finland's first skyscraper, and was at time the tallest building in Finland until 1976. 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 in 2023. In Kalasatama, the first 35-story (130 m (430 ft); called Majakka) and 32-story (122 m (400 ft); called Loisto [fi]) residential towers are already completed. Later they will be joined by a 37-story, two 32-story, 31-story, and 27-story residential buildings. In the Kalasatama area, there will be about 15 high-rises within 10 years. Even higher skyscrapers under the name Trigoni are planned for the Central Pasila area near the Mall of Tripla shopping centre; the highest of which is to become about 200 meters high, and it can be seen even in good weather all the way to the Estonian coast.


Statues and sculptures Well-known statues and monuments strongly embedded in the cityscape of Helsinki include the Keisarinnankivi ("Stone of the Empress", 1835), the statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II (1894), the fountain sculpture Havis Amanda (1908), the Paavo Nurmi statue (1925), the Three Smiths Statue (1932), the Aleksis Kivi Memorial (1939), the Eino Leino Statue (1953), the Equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim (1960) and the Sibelius Monument (1967).


Economy Greater Helsinki generates approximately one third of Finland's GDP. GDP per capita is roughly 1.3 times the national average. Helsinki profits on serviced-related IT and public sectors. Having moved from heavy industrial works, shipping companies also employ a substantial number of people.

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 the 120 km (75 mi) Päijänne Water Tunnel, one of the world's longest continuous rock tunnels.


Education 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. There are two major research universities in Helsinki, the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, and a number of other higher level institutions and polytechnics which focus on higher-level professional education.


Research universities • University of Helsinki • Aalto University (Espoo);


Other institutions of higher education • Hanken School of Economics • University of the Arts Helsinki • National Defence University • 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 • HUMAK University of Applied Sciences; Helsinki is one of the co-location centres of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (Future information and communication society) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).


Culture: Museums The biggest historical museum in Helsinki is the National Museum of Finland, which displays a vast 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 Helsinki University Museum "Arppeanum" and the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

The Finnish National Gallery consists of three museums: Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art, 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 Properties.

The city of Helsinki hosts its own art collection in the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), primarily located in its Tennispalatsi gallery. Around 200 pieces of public art lie outside. The art is all city property.

Helsinki Art Museum will in 2020 launch the Helsinki Biennial, which will bring art to maritime Helsinki – in its first year to the island of Vallisaari.

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 Rex Art Museum, and the Tram Museum.


Theatres 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 [fi], Savoy Theatre [fi], KOM-theatre [fi], and Teatteri Jurkka [fi].


Culture: Music 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 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 Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Hanoi Rocks, HIM, Stratovarius, The 69 Eyes, Finntroll, Ensiferum, Wintersun, The Rasmus, Poets of the Fall, and Apocalyptica. The most significant of the metal music events in Helsinki is the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Suvilahti, Sörnäinen.

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 arenas: the Helsinki Halli or the Helsinki Ice Hall. Helsinki has Finland's largest fairgrounds, the Messukeskus Helsinki, which is attended by more than a million visitors a year.

Helsinki Arena hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, the first Eurovision Song Contest arranged in Finland, following Lordi's win in 2006.


Art The Helsinki Day (Helsinki-päivä) will be celebrated on every 12 June, with numerous entertainment events culminating in an open-air concert. Also, the Helsinki Festival is an annual arts and culture festival, which takes place every August (including the Night of the Arts).

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 [fi], outstanding education and research institutions, such as the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and exemplary architects and designers such as 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 Helsinki International Film Festival – 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 [fi], a festival that focuses solely on documentary cinema.


Media Today, 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 tabloid Iltalehti, and the commerce-oriented Kauppalehti.

Finland's national public-broadcasting institution Yle operates five television channels and thirteen radio channels in both national languages. Yle is headquartered in the neighbourhood of Pasila. All TV channels are broadcast digitally, both terrestrially and on cable. Yle's studio area houses the 146-metre (479 ft) high television and radio tower, Yle Transmission Tower (Pasilan linkkitorni), which is the third tallest structure in Helsinki and one of Helsinki's most famous landmarks, from the top of which, in good weather, can be seen even as far as Tallinn over the Gulf of Finland.

The commercial television channel MTV3 and commercial radio channel Radio Nova are owned by Nordic Broadcasting (Bonnier and Proventus).


Food Helsinki was already known in the 18th century for its abundant number of inns and pubs, where both locals and those who landed in the harbor were offered plenty of alcoholic beverages. At that time, taxes on the sale of alcohol were a very significant source of income for Helsinki, and one of the most important sellers of alcohol was Johan Sederholm  (1722–1805), a trade councilor who attracted rural merchants with alcohol and made good deals. Gradually, a new kind of beverage culture began to grow in the next century, and as early as 1852, the first café of Finland, Café Ekberg [fi], was established by confectioner Fredrik Ekberg [fi] (1825–1891) after attending his studies in St. Petersburg. Ekberg has also been said to have created Finland's "national pastry tradition". At first, café culture was only a prerogative of sophisticated elite, when it recently began to take shape as the right of every man. Today, there are several hundred cafés in Helsinki, the most notable of which is Cafe Regatta, which is very popular with foreign tourists.

As an important port city on the Baltic Sea, Helsinki has long been known for its fish food, and it has recently started to become one of the leading fish food capitals in Northern Europe. Helsinki's Market Square is especially known for its traditional herring market, which has been organized since 1743. Salmon is also a typical Helsinki fish dish, both fried and souped. The most prestigious restaurants specialising in seafood include Restaurant Fisken på Disken.

Helsinki is currently experiencing a period of booming food culture, and it has developed into an internationally acclaimed food city, receiving recognition for promoting food culture. The local food culture is made up of cuisines from around the world and the fusions they form. Various Asian restaurants such as Chinese, Thai, Indian and Nepalese are particularly prominent in Helsinki's cityscape, but over the past couple of years, restaurants serving Vietnamese food have been very popular. Sushi restaurant buffets have also made their way into the city's restaurant offerings in one fell swoop. The third prominent trend is restaurants serving pure local food, many of which specialize primarily in serving pure Nordic flavors. In past years Middle Eastern food culture rose in its popularity. Especially Helsinki's eastern part offers many different options for Middle Eastern cuisine lovers. There is also some touches of Russian cuisine, one of which is the Finnish version of blinis, a thick pancakes that are usually fried in a cast iron pan. One of the most significant food culture venues in Helsinki is the general public area known as Teurastamo in the Hermanni district, which operated as the city's slaughterhouse between 1933 and 1992, to which the name of the place also refers.

A nationwide food carnival called Restaurant Day (Ravintolapäivä) has begun in Helsinki and has traditionally been celebrated since May 2011. The purpose of the day is to have fun, share new food experiences and enjoy the common environment with the group.


Other Vappu is an annual carnival for students and workers on 1 May. The last week of June marks the Helsinki Pride human rights event, which was attended by 100,000 marchers in 2018.


Sport 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. Helsinki hosts 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 within Finland. Ice hockey is popular among many Helsinki residents, 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 they were canceled. Instead Helsinki was the host of the 1952 Summer Olympics. The Olympics were a landmark event symbolically and economically for Helsinki and 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 1981, 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. The city will host the 2021 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup.

Most of Helsinki's sports venues are under the responsibility of the city's sports office, such as 70 sports halls and about 350 sports fields. There are nine ice rinks, three of which are managed by the Helsinki Sports Agency (Helsingin liikuntavirasto). In winter, there are seven artificial ice rinks. People can swim in Helsinki in 14 swimming pools, the largest of which is the Mäkelänrinne Swimming Centre [fi], two inland swimming pools and more than 20 beaches, of which Hietaniemi Beach is probably the most famous.


Transport: Road 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 the plan remains on the drawing board.

Many important Finnish highways leave Helsinki for various parts of Finland; most of them in the form of motorways, but a few of these exceptions include Vihdintie. The most significant highways are: • Finnish national road 1/E18 (to Lohja, Salo and Turku) • Finnish national road 3/E12 (to Hämeenlinna, Tampere and Vaasa) • Finnish national road 4/E75 (to Lahti, Jyväskylä, Oulu and Rovaniemi) • Finnish national road 7/E18 (to Porvoo and Kotka).

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.


Intercity rail 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 Main Line (päärata), which is the first railway line in Finland, was officially opened on 17 March 1862, between cities of Helsinki and Hämeenlinna. 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.

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.

Until 2022 there also was an international services from Helsinki to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The Saint Petersburg to Helsinki route was operated by Allegro high-speed trains.

A Helsinki to 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 Helsinki to the rest of continental Europe by Rail Baltica.


Transport: Air Air traffic is handled primarily from Helsinki Airport, located approximately 17 km (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 Hernesaari Heliport.


Sea transport 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 leading to 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, Tallinn, and Saint Petersburg began as far back as 1837. Over 300 cruise ships and 360,000 cruise passengers visit Helsinki annually. There are international cruise ship docks in South Harbour, Katajanokka, West Harbour, and Hernesaari. In terms of combined liner and cruise passengers, the Port of Helsinki overtook the Port of Dover in 2017 to become the busiest passenger port in the world.

Ferry connections to Tallinn, Mariehamn, and Stockholm are serviced by various companies; very popular MS J. L. Runeberg ferry connection to Finland's second oldest city, medieval old town of Porvoo, is also available for tourists. Finnlines passenger-freight ferries to Gdynia, Poland; Travemünde, Germany; and Rostock, Germany are also available. St. Peter Line offers passenger ferry service to Saint Petersburg several times a week.


Transport: Urban In the Helsinki metropolitan area, public transportation is managed by the 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 officially began in Helsinki in 1891, when the first trams were horse-drawn; with electric drive, it has been in operation 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 Jokeri light rail (replacing the 550 bus line), roughly along Ring I around the city centre, and a new tramway to the island of Laajasalo. Tram line 9 is planned to be extended from Pasila to Ilmala, largely along the new line, and line 6 from Hietalahti first to Eiranranta, later to Hernesaari. New line sections are also planned for the Kalasatama area; construction work on the new tram as the number line 13 (Nihti–Kalasatama–Vallilanlaakso–Pasila) has begun in May 2020, and the line is scheduled for completion in 2024. In August 2016, the city council decided to implement the Crown Bridges project, and the goal for the completion of the entire tram connection of the Crown Bridges is 2026.

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 of the Helsinki region. The frequent services run at a 10-minute headway in peak traffic.

Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland 
<b>Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland</b>
Image: Adobe Stock jovannig #169173302

Helsinki is rated Beta by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.

Helsinki is the #28 city in the world according to the Global Power City Index (GPCI) which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their magnetism, or their comprehensive power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. It does so through measuring six key functions: Economy, Research and Development, Cultural Interaction, Liveability, Environment, and Accessibility.

Helsinki is the #43 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.

Helsinki is ranked #124 and rated C+ by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. C+ cities are strong international gateway cities. Helsinki was ranked #203 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Helsinki has a population of over 648,042 people. Helsinki also forms part of the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,671,024 people. Helsinki is the #9 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 6.7052 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores. Helsinki is ranked #44 for startups with a score of 10.006.

To set up a UBI Lab for Helsinki see: Twitter:

Helsinki is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for Design see:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Helsinki is officially the sister city of; [:

🇨🇳 Beijing, China 🇩🇪 Berlin, Germany 🇸🇪 Kista, Sweden 🇷🇺 Moscow, Russia, until 2022 🇮🇸 Reykjavík, Iceland 🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg, Russia, until 2022 🇸🇪 Stockholm, Sweden 🇪🇪 Tallinn, Estonia
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GPCI | GFCI | GaWC | GUCR | Hipster Index | Nomad | StartupBlink

  • Cyril Leonard Sjöström Mardall |

    🇫🇮 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Architect Cyril Leonard Sjöström Mardall is associated with Helsinki. During World War Two he served as an intelligence officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Antipodal to Helsinki is: -155.067,-60.167

Locations Near: Helsinki 24.9333,60.1667

🇫🇮 Espoo 24.813,60.168 d: 6.6  

🇫🇮 Vantaa 25.033,60.283 d: 14.1  

🇫🇮 Riihimäki 24.767,60.733 d: 63.7  

🇪🇪 Kesklinn 24.75,59.433 d: 82.2  

🇪🇪 Tallinn 24.733,59.433 d: 82.3  

🇫🇮 Porvoo 25.67,60.396 d: 48  

🇫🇮 Lohja 24.067,60.25 d: 48.8  

🇫🇮 Hämeenlinna 24.459,60.997 d: 95.8  

🇫🇮 Lahti 25.662,60.983 d: 99.1  

🇪🇪 Rakvere 26.362,59.349 d: 121.1  

Antipodal to: Helsinki -155.067,-60.167

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 15254.4  

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 15395.3  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 14756.2  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 14686  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 11131.5  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 11020  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 11003.4  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 11000.9  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 11000.6  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 10952.9  

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