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Espoon kaupunki
Esbo stad
coat of arms map
Espoo Coat of Arms Location of Espoo in Finland
Basic data
State : FinlandFinland Finland
Landscape : Uusimaa
Administrative community : Helsinki
Geographical location 60 ° 13 ′  N , 24 ° 40 ′  E Coordinates: 60 ° 13 ′  N , 24 ° 40 ′  E
Surface: 528.16 km²
of which land area: 312.22 km²
of which inland waterways: 17.96 km²
of which sea area: 197.98 km²
Residents : 283,632 (Dec. 31, 2018)
Population density : 908.4 inhabitants / km²
Municipality number : 049
Postcodes : 02002-02980
Language (s) : Finnish , Swedish
Website :
Cultural center in Tapiola
Cultural center in Tapiola

Espoo [ ˈɛspɔː ], Swedish Esbo [ ˈɛsbɔ ], is the second largest city in Finland with 283,632 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2018) . In the wake of the growth of the neighboring capital Helsinki , the original rural community multiplied its population in the second half of the 20th century and was elevated to a city in 1972. Politically, Espoo is an independent city, but is functionally part of an agglomeration known as the “ capital region ” .


Location and extent of the urban area

Espoo is located in the southern Finnish countryside of Uusimaa on the coast of the Gulf of Finland west of the capital Helsinki . Other neighboring cities and communities are Kirkkonummi in the west, Vihti in the northwest, Nurmijärvi in the north, Vantaa in the northeast and Kauniainen, which is completely enclosed by the urban area of ​​Espoos .

The area of ​​Espoos is 528.16 km². Excluding the marine areas, there are 330.18 km², of which a further 17.96 km² are inland waters. The 58 km long coastline is very indented. In front of the city is an archipelago with 165 islands. In total there are 95 lakes in the urban area of ​​Espoo; the largest is Bodominjärvi . The highest point in Espoo is in the Velskola district and is 114.2 m above sea level .

Settlement structure

Land use in the capital region, Espoo to the west

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen together form an agglomeration known as the “ Capital Region ” . In fact, it is a single large city with over a million inhabitants, but the four cities are politically independent.

Since the strong growth of Espoo was only the continuation of the growth of Helsinki outside the official boundaries of Helsinki, Espoo has no historical inner city of its own and no actual center of its own. Instead, there are five sub-centers (aluekeskus) on which future urban development should focus. There are Tapiola , Matinkylä - Olari and Espoonlahti on the route of the future " Westmetro " and Leppävaara and Espoon keskus on the route of the local rail traffic .

The population density with 809 inhabitants per square kilometer is significantly lower than in Helsinki (2787 inhabitants / km²) and also slightly lower than in the other parts of the capital region. Most of the population of Espoo is concentrated in the southern part of the urban area, which is well connected to Helsinki by transport. The northern part of Espoo is only sparsely populated and is partly occupied by the Nuuksio National Park.

City structure

The districts and districts of Espoos

Espoo consists of seven districts (suuralue) , which in turn are divided into a total of 55 districts (kaupunginosa) :

North Espoo : Bodom , Kalajärvi, Lahnus, Lakisto, Luukki, Niipperi, Perusmäki, Röylä, Vanhakartano, Velskola
Suur-Espoonlahti : Espoonlahti, Kaitaa, Latokaski, Nöykkiö, Saunalahti, Soukka, Suvisaaristo
Suur-Kauklahti : Espoonkartano, Kauklahti, Kurttila, Vanttila
Suur-Leppävaara : Karakallio, Kilo , Laaksolahti, Leppävaara , Lintuvaara, Lippajärvi, Sepänkylä, Viherlaakso
Suur-Matinkylä : Henttaa, Matinkylä, Olari
Suur tapiola : Haukilahti, Laajalahti, Mankkaa, Niittykumpu, Otaniemi, Pohjois-Tapiola, Tapiola , Westend
Vanha Espoo : Espoon keskus , Gumböle, Högnäs, Järvenperä, Karhusuo, Karvasmäki, Kaupunginkallio, Kolmperä, Kunnarla, Kuurinniitty, Muurala, Nupuri, Nuuksio , Siikajärvi, Vanha-Nuuksio


Espoo Cathedral dates from the late 15th century.

In the urban area of ​​Espoo, the first traces of human settlement can be found for the period around 7000 BC. Prove. The area has only been permanently settled since the 12th and 13th centuries. Espoo was on the King's Road from Turku to Vyborg . The first written mention of Espoo comes from the year 1431. The Swedish form of the name Esbå should mean “river of aspen” ( äspe is an old Swedish word for “ aspen ”, å means “river”). In 1458 Espoo separated from the parish of Kirkkonummi . The oldest surviving building in Espoo is the stone church, built around 1490. In 1556 the Swedish King Gustav I. Wasa founded the Espoo estate as a royal estate, which is still remembered by the crown in the city's coat of arms.

Espoo remained a rural community well into the 20th century. In 1920 it had only 9,000 inhabitants, 70 percent of whom were Swedish-speaking and 75 percent worked in agriculture. The actual urban development did not begin until the expansion of Helsinki in the 1950s. Accompanied by massive construction activity, the population grew quickly. The service sector became the main area of ​​employment. The administrative center ( Espoon keskus ) was built around the old church and the train station. In 1963 Espoo was made a market town and in 1972 a town.

In 1991, the Convention on Environmental Effects in a Transboundary Context - the Espoo Convention of the UNECE - was signed in Espoo .


Population structure

Customers in the
Iso Omena shopping center

The population of Espoos is 283,632 (as of December 31, 2018). This makes Espoo the second largest city in Finland after Helsinki. Almost a quarter of the residents of the capital region live in Espoo.

The population of Espoo is younger than the national mean: 20 percent of the population are younger than 15 years, 69 percent between 15 and 64 years old and 11 percent 65 years old or older. At the same time, the level of education and income is above average: 44 percent of residents over 14 years of age have a higher level of education, while the national average is only 28 percent. The average taxable income per employee is around 35,000 euros, 42 percent higher than the average in Finland. 7 percent of Espoo's residents have foreign citizenship. The proportion of foreigners is thus significantly higher than the Finnish average of 3 percent (as of December 31, 2010).


Bilingual signpost in Espoo

Espoo is officially a bilingual city ​​with Finnish as the majority and Swedish as the minority language. Of the inhabitants of Espoo, 82 percent speak Finnish and 8 percent Swedish as their mother tongue (see Finland-Sweden ). The remaining 10 percent are in other languages ​​(as of December 31, 2011). Historically, Espoo, located in the Finnish-Swedish settlement area on the coast of Uusimaa, was mostly Swedish-speaking: in 1910, 72 percent of Espoo's residents spoke Swedish as their mother tongue, compared with 43 percent in 1950. Due to the influx from other parts of the country, the proportion of the Swedish-speaking population in Espoo has decreased significantly, even if it is still slightly higher than the average for the capital region.


The Church of Olari, one of six Evangelical Lutheran parishes in Espoo

69 percent of Espoo's residents belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (as of 2012). The city is the seat of the diocese of Espoo , which includes the Finnish-speaking communities in western Uusimaa. There are six Evangelical Lutheran parishes in the city. The cathedral parish and the parishes Espoonlahti, Leppävaara, Olari and Tapiola are Finnish-speaking and belong to the diocese of Espoo; the Swedish-speaking community that looks after the Swedish-speaking believers throughout the city is part of the Borgå diocese .

The orthodox believers in Espoos belong to the Helsinki Orthodox Church. In Espoo, however, there is a branch church in the Tapiola district. There are also several free church and Islamic communities in the city .

Population development

In 1950 Espoo only had 22,000 inhabitants. In fifty years that number rose to over 210,000. At the turn of the year 2008/2009 the population of Espoos was 241,565.

Development of the population (December 31) :

  • 1983 - 149.057
  • 1985 - 156,851
  • 1987 - 164,569
  • 1990 - 172,629
  • 1997-200834
  • 2000 - 213,271
  • 2002 - 221,597
  • 2003 - 224,231
  • 2004 - 227,472


The townhouse in the Espoon keskus district is the seat of the city council of Espoo

As in all Finnish cities, Espoo's city council ( kaupunginvaltuusto in Finnish ) is the highest decision-making body on local matters. These include urban planning, schools, healthcare and public transport. The council, which consists of 75 members, is elected for four years.

The strongest faction in the city council is by far the conservative rallying party . Since the local elections in 2008, the Green Bund has been the second strongest party and has ousted the Social Democrats to third place. For the first time since the local elections in 2008, the Base Finns , a right-wing populist party, are represented in Espoo's city council with just under ten percent of the vote, while the Center Party , one of the country's three major parties, has no major significance, as is the case in most major cities. Also represented are the Swedish People's Party , the Left Alliance , the Christian Democrats and a liberal party.

Result of the 2017 city council election
Political party Share of votes Seats
National rally party 33.7% 26th
Green covenant 22.3% 17th
Social democrats 12.5% 10
Base fins 09.8% 07th
Swedish People's Party 08.0% 06th
Center Party 03.9% 03
Left alliance 03.9% 03
Christian Democrats 03.6% 02
Liberal Party 00.6% 01

The city director (Finnish kaupunginjohtaja ) of Espoo is subordinate to the city council and is appointed by it. Its job is to manage the city's administration and budget. Jukka Mäkelä has held this post since 2011.

Economy and Infrastructure

Main traffic routes in the capital region


The most densely populated southern part of Espoo is connected to downtown Helsinki by the Länsiväylä motorway, which runs in an east-west direction . An extension of the Helsinki Metro to southern Espoo, which runs roughly parallel to the motorway, is currently under construction.

The railway line from Helsinki to Turku runs a few kilometers to the north , also in an east-west direction. She will u. a. served by local rail services in the Helsinki region . Long-distance trains stop at Espoo Station in the Espoon keskus district . The Turunväylä motorway runs parallel to it .

The most important cross-connections within Espoos are the three ring roads, which start near the south coast and (apart from the unfinished Ring II) continue north and north-east to Helsinki and Vantaa.

Established businesses

Numerous international companies have their headquarters in Espoo, including the network manufacturer Nokia , the cell phone manufacturers Microsoft Mobile and HMD Global , the elevator manufacturer Kone , the computer game developers Remedy Entertainment and Rovio Entertainment Ltd. , paper and board manufacturer Metsä Board and energy companies Fortum and Gasum .

The main building of the Technical University planned by Alvar Aalto (today part of the Aalto University )


Espoo is home to the main Aalto University campus . This was created in 2010 through the merger of three previously independent universities: the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki University of Commerce and the Helsinki University of Art and Design. The Technical University was founded in Helsinki in 1849 and relocated to the Espoo district of Otaniemi in the 1950s and 1960s due to a lack of space . There she received a new, spacious campus, which Alvar Aalto also helped to plan . After the merger in 2010, the School of Commerce and the School of Art and Design were also partially relocated from Helsinki to the Otaniemi campus.

A well-known graduate from Helsinki University of Technology is e.g. As Linus Torvalds , the initiator of the Linux - kernel . The Technical University made its main lecture hall available for the presentation of Linux 1.0 (the first complete and fully developed version of the Linux kernel) in March 1994.

In addition to Aalto University, Espoo is also home to a number of colleges .

Culture and sights

  • The Espoo Cathedral dates from the late 15th century. It is adorned with frescoes from the early 16th century, but did not get its current appearance until 1820.
  • The satellite town of Tapiola from the 1960s is of particular architectural interest.
  • The Finnish Watch Museum deals with timekeeping and the history of clocks and watchmaking. Its task is to promote knowledge about clocks and watchmaking in Finland.


The men's ice hockey team of Espoo Blues played in Finland's top division, the Liiga , until 2016 . The women's team of the Blues has played in the highest women's ice hockey league, the Naisten SM-sarja , since 1990 and won its championship a total of 13 times by 2017.

The men's team at FC Honka Espoo played in Finland's top football league, the Veikkausliiga , between 2006 and 2014 . The women's team plays in the Naisten Liiga , the highest league in Finnish women's football , and was champion there in 2006 and 2007.

Town twinning

Espoo's twin cities are:

  • China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Shanghai , People's Republic of China, since 1998
  • DenmarkDenmark Køge , Denmark, since 1970
  • EstoniaEstonia Nõmme , Estonia, since 1993
  • HungaryHungary Esztergom , Hungary, since 1974
  • IcelandIceland Sauðárkrókur , Iceland, since 1984

sons and daughters of the town

Web links

Commons : Espoo  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Espoo  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Maanmittauslaitos (Finnish land surveying office): Suomen pinta-alat kunnittain January 1, 2010 (PDF; 199 kB)
  2. Statistical Office Finland: Table 11ra - Key figures on population by region, 1990-2018
  3. Maanmittauslaitos (Finnish land surveying office) (PDF; 247 kB)
  4. Kaupunginjohtaja Jukka Mäkelä: Hyvinvointi ja kilpailukyky syntyvät yhteistyöllä city ​​of Espoo
  5. Statistical Office Finland: Table 11ra - Key figures on population by region, 1990-2018
  6. Tilastokeskus Finnish statistics office: avainluvut Kuntien. Espoo - Esbo
  7. John Westerholm: “Kansa ja alue. Suomenruotsalaiset osana kansakuntaa ja valtiota “, in: Markku Löytönen and Laura Kolbe (eds.): Suomi. Maa, kansa, culttuurit . Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1999, here p. 285
  8. website of the parishes of Espoo: Espoolaisista 68.9 prosenttia kuuluu kirkkoon.
  9. Väestörekisterikeskus (Finnish population register): Suomen asukasluku vuodenvaihteessa 2008–2009 ( Memento of April 21, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Finnish Ministry of Justice: Result of the 2008 local elections
  11. Helsinki Times - Borderless Friendship: Twin towns & sister cities, April 23, 2014 , accessed August 24, 2018