Helsinki, Finland

According to abbreviationfinder, Helsinki is the capital of Finland and the province of Uusimaa, the port on the Gulf of Finland, (2018) 648 000 residents; 5.7% are Swedish-speaking (2017).

The metropolitan area has 1.27 million residents, which makes up almost a quarter of the total population of Finland; their share of the Finnish population has risen by a third since 1970, while that of the city of Helsinki is growing only slowly. Helsinki is the seat of the Reichstag and the government, a Lutheran, a Russian Orthodox and a Catholic bishop. Among higher educational institutions there is the University (founded in 1640 in Turku, moved to Helsinki in 1828), the University of Aalto (in Espoo) and the University of the Arts as well as several universities of applied sciences. More than a third of all Finnish students are educated in Helsinki. Other cultural institutions are the Academy of Sciences, research institutes, national library and archive as well as over 50 museums (including National Museum, Museum of Modern Art [Kiasma], Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Design Museum, Amos Rex Art Museum, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Museum of Finnish art (Ateneum, Finnish Sports Museum), national opera, several theaters, Musiikkitalo concert hall; Zoo; Olympic Stadium (built in 1938; Summer Games 1952). The Sibelius Festival, dedicated to Finnish music, has been held every June since 1951.

Even if Helsinki is still Finland’s main industrial city, the proportion of those employed in the secondary sector has fallen below 10%. However, Helsinki remains the headquarters of all major Finnish companies. Helsinki’s importance is greater in the tertiary sector, where finance, media and information technology are of particular importance.

The port (iced for 2-3 months, mostly kept open by icebreakers) is of paramount importance for Finland, especially for the import of bulk goods with (2015) 10.4 million tons of port throughput in international traffic; the freight traffic will be handled in the port in Vuosaari, which was completed at the end of 2008; Car and passenger ferries run to Travemünde, Lübeck, Rostock, Stockholm and Reval / Tallinn. In 1982 the subway was opened. Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport had 18.9 million passengers in 2017.


Numerous bays, peninsulas and islands (skerries) determine the picture and the layout of the urban area (716 km 2), which for the most part consists of water (502 km 2). The city center lies on a peninsula. Helsinki has been expanded according to plan since 1816 according to plans by J. C. L. Engel. His classicist buildings still dominate the center around the Senate Square with the government palace (formerly the Senate building).

University, university library and the Nikolaikirche (1830 ff., Today cathedral and landmark of the city), which is elevated on a granite rock. Engel’s style continued into the 1880s (former Ständehaus, Reichsarchiv). To the east of the center is on the Katajanokka peninsula, an upmarket place of residence around the turn of the century with examples of a nationally influenced Art Nouveau as well as the location of the naval barracks (1830, von Engel; today Foreign Ministry), the red brick building of the Uspenski Cathedral (1868), the largest Orthodox church in Finland.

The main station (1910-14) by Eliel Saarinen, the National Theater (1902) with granite facade, the National Museum (1910), the church by L. Sonck (1908) in the Kallio district, but also some commercial buildings were built in the style of Finnish national romanticism. An outstanding monumental building is the neoclassical Reichstag building with a facade in light red granite by J. S. Sirén (1931).

In 1971 the concert and congress hall “Finlandia” was completed by A. Aalto; He also planned the redesign of the entire area around Töölöbucht and the station district; Small National Theater (1954) by Kaija and H. Sirén; Stadttheater (1964–67) by T. Penttilä. The new opera house, designed by architects Eero Hyvämäki, Jukka Karhunen and Risto Parkkinen, opened in 1993, and in 1998 it was designed by Steven Holl inaugurated the modern art museum (Kiasma). The election of Helsinki as European City of Culture in 2000 promoted the renovation of numerous historic buildings in the city center. The Ruoholahti development area on Töölöbucht has been implemented with interesting examples of modern residential architecture. On the south bank of Katajanokka, former customs warehouses and warehouses have been refurbished and converted into cultural institutions, restaurants, offices, etc.

In front of the center of Helsinki in the southeast are the structural remains of the formerly mighty Suomenlinna fortress (1748–72). It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and the area was expanded into a leisure and cultural area.

In the western suburb area, already in the urban area of ​​Espoo, in Otaniemi, the University of Aalto is located (started in 1961 by Aalto and others) with the Dipoli student house (1964–67) by R. Pietilä and his wife Raili Paatelainen and the garden city of Tapiola, where various Architects realized their ideas. In the Etu-Töölö district is the domed rock church by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen (1968–69), an outstanding example of Expressionist architecture from the 1960s. In 1987/88 the geometrically shaped Finnish science center Heureka was built in Tikkurila in the north-west of Helsinki, with which the architects Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen became known. In 2011, the Musiikkitalo concert hall opened, designed by Japanese acoustic designer Yasuhisa Toyota.


Helsinki was founded in 1550 by King Gustav I Wasa at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki and moved to the open sea in 1640. The fortress Sveaborg (Suomenlinna), built on the offshore islands in 1748, protected the city from the sea. With the elevation to the capital of the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812 the heyday of Helsinki began, which was greatly expanded after 1816.

The 1952 Summer Olympics were held in Helsinki; the city was the venue for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1973 (opening) and 1975 (closing session) (“Helsinki Final Act”, August 1, 1975).

Helsinki, Finland