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Helsingin kaupunki
Helsingfors stad
coat of arms map
Helsinki coat of arms Location of Helsinki in Finland
Basic data
State : FinlandFinland Finland
Landscape : Uusimaa
Administrative community : Helsinki
Geographical location 60 ° 10 ′  N , 24 ° 56 ′  E Coordinates: 60 ° 10 ′  N , 24 ° 56 ′  E
Surface: 715.55 km²
of which land area: 213.66 km²
of which inland waterways: 1.17 km²
of which sea area: 500.72 km²
Residents : 648,042 (Dec. 31, 2018)
Population density : 3,033.1 inhabitants / km²
Municipality number : 091
Postcodes : 00100-01055, 10000, 13000, 40000, 50000
Language (s) : Finnish , Swedish
Website : (multilingual)
Helsinki montage 2018.jpg

Helsinki ( Finnish [ ˈhɛlsiŋki ], Swedish Helsingfors ? / I [ hɛlsɪŋˈfɔrs ]) is the capital of Finland . It is located in the Uusimaa region in the south of the country on the coast of the Gulf of Finland and is the northernmost capital of a member state of the EU . With 648,042 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2018) Helsinki is by far the largest city in Finland and the third largest city in the Nordic countries , after Stockholm and Oslo . Audio file / audio sample

Together with the neighboring cities of Espoo , Vantaa and Kauniainen , it forms the so-called capital region , a metropolitan area with around 1.49 million inhabitants and thus the northernmost metropolitan area in the world with over one million inhabitants. Helsinki is the political, economic, scientific and cultural center of Finland. Around six percent of Helsinki's residents are Swedish-speaking , and the city is officially bilingual .

Helsinki is 80 km north of Tallinn , Estonia, 400 km east of Stockholm , Sweden, and 300 km west of Saint Petersburg , Russia. It has close historical ties to these three cities.

The city was founded under the Swedish name Helsinge fors in 1550 when Finland was part of Sweden , but remained insignificant for a long time. Shortly after Finland came under Russian rule, Helsinki was designated the capital of the newly founded Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812 , replacing Turku as the most important city in the country. The official use of the refined name Helsinki only began at this time.

Helsinki has been the capital of independent Finland since 1917.


The Swedish name of the city of Helsingfors comes from the name of the parish Helsinge and the Helsingån river (now Vanda å ), at the last rapids ( Swedish fors ) before the mouth the city was founded. The origin of the name Helsinge is disputed. According to a force since the 1630s opinion had settlers from the Swedish Hälsingland that line the 13th century the Gulf of Finland , settled the river Helsingån given the name of their homeland. Today this theory is questioned because dialectologists were able to show that the new settlers actually came from Uppland and neighboring areas. The name Helsinge therefore cannot go back to the ethnonym of the new settlers and probably describes a characteristic in the landscape. This could have something to do with the “neck” of the river; H. the narrow part of the rapids. The word part of the same name is not only found in the name Hälsingland , but also in the names of the cities Helsingborg and Helsingør , which are all connected to a strait.

When the city was founded in 1550 at the mouth of the Helsingån, it was named Helsinge fors . Today the rapids are called Gammelstadsforsen in Swedish ( Vanhankaupunginkoski in Finnish ). The city was known locally as Helsinge or Helsing , which became Helsinki in Finnish . The Finnish name of the city is first mentioned in official documents in 1819 by ordinances of the Finnish Senate . The Finnish name has only been used predominantly in an international context since the 20th century (except in Sweden and Norway).

In local slang they say Stadi , which comes from the Swedish word stad for "city". Especially outside of the metropolitan area, Helsinki is known as Hesa . Both names are used by both Finnish and Swedish speaking Finns. In North Sami is Helsinki Helsset . Helsingfors is often shortened to H: fors , while Hki is short for Helsinki .

When Helsingfors became Finland's capital in 1812, the proposal arose to rename it (after Tsar Alexander I ) Alexandria ; but this idea failed.


Location and natural conditions

Helsinki is located in the south of the country in the Uusimaa landscape ( Maakunta ) on the coast of the Gulf of Finland opposite the Estonian capital Tallinn .

Helsinki stretches over an area of ​​715 km², of which 214 km² is land, over the mainland and about 300 offshore archipelago . The more than 100 kilometers long coastline is strongly indented with numerous bays and peninsulas. In the course of the last centuries numerous embankments have been made, some of which have changed the coastline considerably. For example, the central district of Kluuvi was still under water at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Vantaanjoki flows through the northern outskirts of Helsinki and flows into the sea in the Vanhakaupunki district , the original place where Helsinki was founded. Rather untypical for Finland, there are only nine small lakes or ponds in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Like the rest of southern Finland, the terrain is defined by round humps , i.e. flat, gently rising hills made of granite rocks. With the rock Helsinkit , the city has also given its name to a local granite or unakite variety. At 90 meters, the highest point in the urban area is a backfill of excavated construction in the Malminkartano sub-area . The highest natural elevation is in the Kivikko sub-area and reaches 62 meters above sea level.

About half of Helsinki's land area consists of various green areas (forests, parks, agricultural areas) (according to another source 36%, of which 22% is forest). Large contiguous green areas can be found mainly in the northern and eastern outskirts. In addition to the boreal coniferous forest typical of Finland, there are also isolated groves with deciduous deciduous forest . On the outer islands the vegetation is sometimes quite sparse, on the other hand a great variety of bird species live there. Helsinki has 50 nature reserves with a total area of ​​684 hectares.

More than half of the approximately 300 islands are smaller than 0.5 ha; about 50 islands are larger than 3 hectares. The most famous islands include the excursion islands Korkeasaari (with a zoo), Seurasaari (with an open-air museum) and the Pihlajasaaret . The historical sea fortress Suomenlinna extends over several artificially connected islands. The largest islands in terms of area include the residential areas Laajasalo and Lauttasaari and the garrison island of Santahamina .

Settlement structure

Land use in the capital region (2005, with the municipal boundaries at that time)

The city center is located on a peninsula in the southwest of the urban area. What is characteristic of Helsinki is the great difference between the historically grown, densely built-up core city (kantakaupunki) on the peninsula and the much more spacious new development areas that have been built since the middle of the 20th century and connect to the north, west and east. The latter extend into the area of ​​the neighboring cities Espoo , Kauniainen and Vantaa , with which Helsinki has grown together into a coherent agglomeration . The four politically independent cities form the so-called capital region (pääkaupunkiseutu) , in fact a single large city with over one million inhabitants. The contiguous urban area ( taajama ) defined by the Finnish Statistical Office , which is not based on the municipal boundaries but on the actual settlement, had a land area of ​​631.11 km² and a population of 1,159,211 at the end of 2011. Another catchment area of Helsinki is the Helsinki region (Helsingin seutu) with the municipalities of Kirkkonummi , Vihti , Nurmijärvi , Tuusula , Kerava , Sipoo , Järvenpää and Hyvinkää . A total of 1.3 million people live in this metropolitan area, which makes up a good quarter of the total population of Finland.

The average population density in Helsinki is 2787 inhabitants / km². In the core city, up to 19,500 inhabitants / km² ( Punavuori ) high values ​​are achieved, while the outer districts with their often very spacious settlements (lähiö) interspersed with extensive green areas are comparatively sparsely populated. Completely uninhabited areas are mainly found in the greater Östersundom district , which was only incorporated into Helsinki in 2009.

View of the south harbor, the cathedral and the Uspensky cathedral

Administrative structure

The division into major districts, city districts and sub-areas
The division into districts

The basis of the official structure of Helsinki are the 137 sub-areas ( Finnish osa-alue ) with their subordinate 369 small areas ( pienalue ) . There are two superordinate parallel systems: the sub-areas are grouped together in different ways, on the one hand to 59 districts ( kaupunginosa ) and on the other to 34 districts ( peruspiiri ) . The city districts are for their part combined into eight major districts ( suurpiiri ) . The practical meaning of these administrative units is limited, however, the names of the various areas used in everyday life often differ from the official ones.

The 59 districts of Helsinki by major district:

Southern Greater District Eira , Etu-Töölö , Kaartinkaupunki , Kaivopuisto , Kamppi , Katajanokka , Kluuvi , Kruununhaka , Länsisatama , Lauttasaari , Punavuori , Suomenlinna , Taka-Töölö , Ullanlinna
Western Greater District Haaga , Kaarela , Konala , Laakso , Meilahti , Munkkiniemi , Pitäjänmäki , Ruskeasuo
Central Greater District Alppiharju , Hermanni , Kallio , Käpylä , Koskela , Kumpula , Pasila , Sörnäinen , Toukola , Vallila , Vanhakaupunki
Northern Greater District Oulunkylä , Pakila , Tuomarinkylä
Northeast Greater District Malmi , Pukinmäki , Suurmetsä , Suutarila , Tapaninkylä , Viikki
Southeast Greater District Herttoniemi , Kulosaari , Laajasalo , Mustikkamaa-Korkeasaari , Santahamina , Tammisalo , Ulkosaaret , Vartiosaari , Villinki
Eastern Greater District Mellunkylä , Vartiokylä , Vuosaari
Greater Ostersundom District  Ostersundom , Salmenkallio , Talosaari , Karhusaari , Ultuna

For more details see: List of Helsinki neighborhoods

In 1812 Johan Albrecht Ehrenström came up with the idea of ​​naming the city blocks in the city center. From 1820 to 1900, these were each given an animal or flower name, e.g. E.g .: Kortteli 32 Dromedaari (Swedish: Kvarteret 32 ​​Dromedaren, German: Häuserblock 32 Dromedar).


White Night 2005 - midnight in Helsinki
Frozen south harbor

Helsinki's climate combines characteristics of the continental and maritime climates . The annual average temperature in Helsinki is 5.9 ° C, the annual average precipitation is 655 mm. Most of the precipitation falls in August (80 mm monthly mean), the least in April (32 mm). The coldest month is February with an average temperature of −4.7 ° C, while July is the warmest with 17.8 ° C. In summer, maximum temperatures of up to 30 ° C can be reached. In winter, temperatures below −10 ° C are not uncommon; the lowest temperature ever recorded in Helsinki was −34.3 ° C (January 10, 1987). Because of the sea wind, the perceived temperature is often even lower than the measured temperature ( wind chill ) , especially in winter .

The water temperature varies from 1 ° C in February to 17 ° C in August. In the numerous sheltered, low bays, the water temperature can also reach higher values ​​in summer.

The first snow usually falls in mid-November. A permanent snow cover is usually there from the end of December to the end of March. The Gulf of Finland freezes over in winter, so icebreakers are needed to keep a fairway clear.

Helsinki is at the same latitude as the southern part of Alaska and the southern tip of Greenland . Even if the climate in Helsinki is warmer due to the North Atlantic Current, the northern location means that the brightness fluctuates greatly over the course of the year. At the time of the summer solstice, the clear day lasts almost 19 hours, even during the remaining hours it does not get completely dark because the sun is only just below the horizon (so-called white nights ). At the time of the winter solstice, the clear day lasts less than 6 hours, even at noon the sun is low in the sky.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Finnish Meteorological Institute. The data are based on the monthly mean values ​​from 1981–2010.
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Helsinki
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −1.3 −1.9 1.5 7.6 14.4 18.5 21.5 19.8 14.6 9.0 3.7 0.5 O 9.1
Min. Temperature (° C) −6.5 −7.4 −4.1 0.8 6.3 10.9 14.2 13.1 8.7 4.3 −0.6 −4.5 O 3
Precipitation ( mm ) 52 36 38 32 37 57 63 80 56 76 70 58 Σ 655
Rainy days ( d ) 19th 17th 15th 11 11 14th 12 15th 14th 16 18th 20th Σ 182
Water temperature (° C) 2 1 1 2 5 9 15th 17th 14th 10 7th 3 O 7.2
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Finnish Meteorological Institute. The data are based on the monthly mean values ​​from 1981–2010.


Swedish rule

Gustav I. Wasa, the founder of Helsinki

The Uusimaa (Swedish. Nyland ) landscape on the south coast of Finland came under the rule of Sweden in the 12th century and was taken over by Swedish new settlers. Previously, the inhabitants of the Häme landscape inland and the Estonians on the other side of the Gulf of Finland had used the area as a hunting ground without settling there permanently. The area in which the city of Helsinki was later to be founded was incorporated into the church administration as the parish of Helsinki (Swedish Helsinge ). The name is probably derived from the Swedish landscape of Hälsingland , the home region of the new settlers.

The city of Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors ) was founded on June 12, 1550 on the orders of the Swedish King Gustav I. Wasa . (Today this Helsinki Day ” is a city ​​holiday.) The city was originally located at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki River . The Swedish name Helsingfors is derived from a rapids (Swedish fors ) on the lower reaches of the Vantaanjoki, which at that time was still called Helsinge å . The area of ​​the original Helsinki is still called Vanhakaupunki (Old Town) today , although nothing of the original city has survived. The population of Helsinki consisted of citizens of the cities of Porvoo , Ekenäs , Rauma and Ulvila , who had to settle in the newly founded city on the orders of the king.

Helsinki was founded to create a rival port to the Hanseatic city of Tallinn (Reval) on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. Only a little later, in 1561, Sweden conquered Tallinn in the Livonian War , which hampered Helsinki's further development. In addition, the location of the harbor at the end of a shallow bay with many cliffs was unfavorable for large sailing ships. Therefore, Helsinki was moved around five kilometers closer to the open sea in 1640 under the direction of the Governor General Per Brahe, where the present city center is located. The old city at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki was abandoned.

Helsinki City Hall Square in 1820. Engraving by Carl Ludwig Engel

The strengthening of the Russian Empire and the founding of the city of Saint Petersburg in 1703 had a decisive influence on Helsinki. The Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia hit the city hard. First a large part of the population fell victim to a plague epidemic in 1710 , then Helsinki was burned down by its own army in 1713 while retreating. Helsinki was under Russian occupation from 1713 to 1721 and again during the Russo-Swedish War 1741–1743 . After Sweden had to cede the fortress Hamina to Russia in the Treaty of Turku, the sea ​​fortress Sveaborg (now Finnish: Suomenlinna ) was built in 1748 to protect Sweden's eastern border off the coast of Helsinki .

Russian rule

Helsinki around 1895

On March 2, 1808, Helsinki was captured by Russian troops during the Russo-Swedish War . It was again almost completely destroyed by a fire. As a result of the lost war, Sweden had to cede all of Finland to Russia in 1809.

The capital of the newly founded Grand Duchy of Finland was initially Turku , which was then the largest and most important city in the country. From the point of view of Tsar Alexander I , however, Turku was too far away from Saint Petersburg, which is why on April 8, 1812, by decree, Helsinki designated Helsinki as the new capital. At that time the city was rather insignificant with around 4,000 inhabitants. The German architect Carl Ludwig Engel was commissioned to rebuild Helsinki, which was destroyed by the city fire, as a representative capital. This is how the classicist center around Senate Square was created . The surrounding districts consisted of mostly one-story wooden houses, of which only a few are preserved today. Helsinki had been the seat of the Finnish Senate since 1819, making it the final capital of the Grand Duchy.

After the great fire in Turku in 1827, the Turku Academy , at that time the only university in Finland, was moved to Helsinki and converted into the University of Helsinki in 1828 . In the course of industrialization , Helsinki grew rapidly in the second half of the 19th century. The railway connections to Hämeenlinna and Saint Petersburg were established in 1862 and 1870. Shortly after the turn of the century, Helsinki's population exceeded 100,000. Representative buildings in the style of Finnish national romanticism were built ( Helsinki Central Station , Finnish National Museum ). In districts such as Katajanokka , Kruununhaka and Eira , numerous new residential buildings were built in the Art Nouveau style.

Since gaining independence

German soldiers in Helsinki after conquering the city

When the Finnish parliament declared independence on December 6, 1917 , Helsinki became the capital of the new state. In the Finnish civil war that broke out soon afterwards , the Red Guards took control of the city on January 28, 1918, and the bourgeois government fled to Vaasa . In April, German troops intervened in support of the whites in the war and conquered Helsinki on April 13, 1918 after two days of fighting. Unlike Tampere , the civil war in Helsinki did relatively little damage. After the war had been decided in favor of the bourgeois whites, around 10,000 followers of the Reds were interned on the island of Suomenlinna, of which around 1,500 died of starvation or disease.

A number of neoclassical buildings were built in Helsinki up until the 1930s (e.g. the Reichstag building in 1931).

During the Second World War , Helsinki was exposed to several major bombings by the Soviet Air Force . Compared to other European cities, however, the damage remained relatively low, which was not least due to efficient air defense .

Helsinki was originally supposed to host the 1940 Summer Olympics . Numerous functionalist buildings such as the Olympic Stadium or the Lasipalatsi cultural center were built for the Games . The games had to be canceled because of the war. Helsinki received the 1952 Summer Olympics as a replacement .

In 1975 the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki hosted the first conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which led to a rapprochement between the Eastern Bloc and Western Bloc countries .

Expansion of the urban area

Map of Helsinki early 20th century

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Helsinki city area was still limited to the Helsinginniemi peninsula. This area is known today as the core city (kantakaupunki) . The city was surrounded by the area of ​​the rural municipality Helsinki (Helsingin maalaiskunta) , the remains of which form today's Vantaa .

Over the course of the century, parts of the rural community were repeatedly incorporated into the city of Helsinki: in 1906 the districts of Meilahti , Käpylä and Kumpula , in 1912 Pasila , in 1926 Ruskeasuo and Uusipelto . The city received its present form essentially in 1946, when 14 districts from the rural municipality were added to the city in the course of a large incorporation. At the same time, the then independent communities Haaga , Huopalahti , Kulosaari and Oulunkylä were incorporated. Helsinki last acquired the district of Vuosaari in 1966 and parts of the neighboring communities Sipoo and Vantaa in 2009 , from which the new districts Östersundom , Salmenkallio , Talosaari , Karhusaari and Ultuna were formed.

Considerations to combine Helsinki with the other cities of the capital region, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen, to form a greater Helsinki, have been taken up again and again over the decades. Since the government in Finland is now generally striving to create larger municipal units, this option is currently being seriously discussed again.


Population structure

Shopping street Aleksanterinkatu in Helsinki city center

The population of Helsinki is 648,042 (as of December 31, 2018). This makes Helsinki by far the largest city in Finland. The entire capital region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) is home to over a million people, almost a fifth of Finland's total population. The mobility of the population in Helsinki is higher than in the rest of Finland. Many people from other communities in Finland move to the capital to work or study. At the same time, especially because of the high housing costs, they leave many families for the suburbs. In 2005, a total of 33,953 people from other municipalities in Finland or abroad moved to Helsinki, while 33,381 people left the city.

At the beginning of 2010, 7.2 percent of Helsinki's residents were foreign nationals and 10.7 percent were born abroad. The most important individual countries of origin are Russia , Estonia , Sweden and Somalia . Most of the migrants live in the east and north of the city, the highest proportion being in the Jakomäki district (14.0 percent foreign citizens and 20.4 percent people born outside of Finland). Compared to other European capitals, the proportion of foreigners in Helsinki is low, but the trend has been increasing since the early 1990s. In the period 1985–2009, the number of foreign citizens in Helsinki increased more than sevenfold.

Population development

The surge in population of Helsinki began when the city became the capital of Finland in 1812 and continued unabated until the late 1960s. In the 1970s, growth slowed. When many residents moved to the neighboring communities, the population even fell temporarily until it began to rise again in the 1990s. Most recently, the population grew by 1.4 percent annually. In 2012, Helsinki broke the 600,000 mark for the first time.

Helsinki's population development since 1875 and forecast for 2020–2050
year Residents
1875 023,070
1880 036,346
1885 041,579
1890 056,236
1895 064,554
1900 079.126
1905 093,626
1910 118,736
1915 153,467
1920 152,200
year Residents
1925 162.070
1930 205.833
1935 225,482
1940 252.484
1945 276.277
1950 368,519
1955 403.970
1960 448.315
1965 494,796
1970 523,677
year Residents
1975 502.961
1980 483,675
1985 483.364
1990 490.872
1995 515.765
2000 551.123
2005 559.046
2010 583,350
2015 620.715
2018 643.272
year Residents
2020 658.315
2025 690.751
2030 720,662
2035 739.104
2040 751.715
2045 762.917
2050 774.435

Helsinki population development (1875–2018) and forecast (2020–2050)


Bilingual street signs in Helsinki

Of the Helsinki population, 81.9 percent speak Finnish and 5.9 percent speak Swedish as their mother tongue. The remaining 12.2 percent are in other languages ​​(as of 2013). Helsinki is officially bilingual with Finnish as the majority and Swedish as the minority language. All streets have Finnish and Swedish names, announcements in public transport are bilingual, etc. In everyday life, however, Finnish dominates as the lingua franca between speakers of different languages. Knowledge of Finnish is de facto a prerequisite for participation in the labor market.

The southern coast of Finland historically belongs to the settlement area of ​​the Finland-Swedes . This is why Helsinki was mostly Swedish-speaking until the end of the 19th century: in 1850, almost 90 percent of Helsinki's residents spoke Swedish as their mother tongue. However, due to the influx from other areas of the country, the proportion of the Swedish-speaking population decreased noticeably. In 1870, 57 percent of the inhabitants of Helsinki still spoke Swedish, 26 percent Finnish, 12 percent Russian , 2 percent German and 3 percent other languages ​​as their mother tongue. In 1900 the Finnish speakers made up the majority of the population with 50 percent compared to 42 percent Swedish, 5 percent Russian and 3 percent foreign speakers.

The variety of Finnish spoken in Helsinki has developed as a compensatory dialect among speakers of different Finnish dialects in an originally Swedish-speaking environment. Today it serves as a model for the general Finnish colloquial language. A special sociolect is the so-called Helsinki slang (stadin slangi) , which developed among the multilingual working class at the end of the 19th century as a mixed language with Finnish grammar and predominantly Swedish vocabulary.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kallio, 1908–1912

The majority of Helsinki's residents belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland . At 51.0 percent, the proportion of Evangelical Lutheran church members is significantly lower than the national average of 68.7 percent (as of the end of 2019). In Helsinki there are 18 Finnish-speaking, three Swedish-speaking and one German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran congregation. The city is the seat of the Diocese of Helsinki , which includes the Finnish-speaking parishes in Helsinki, Vantaa and eastern Uusimaa. The cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki is Helsinki Cathedral . The Swedish and German-speaking communities of Helsinki, on the other hand, belong to the diocese of Borgå .

The Uspensky Cathedral is the seat of an Orthodox bishop

In addition to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Finland's second state church, the Orthodox Church of Finland , is also present in Helsinki. Orthodox Christians have been resident in Helsinki since Russian times. After the Second World War, many Orthodox refugees from Karelia moved to Helsinki. Today the Helsinki Orthodox parish, which includes all of Uusimaa, has around 20,000 members (as of 2011), which makes up around a third of all Orthodox believers in Finland. Helsinki is also the seat of the Orthodox Diocese of Helsinki , one of three dioceses of the Orthodox Church in Finland. The main church of the Orthodox community and at the same time the episcopal church is the Uspenski Cathedral .

The small Roman Catholic minority in Finland has its center in Helsinki: the city is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Helsinki , which includes all of Finland. The episcopal church is the Henrik Cathedral . The two Roman Catholic parishes in Helsinki include the city as well as the rest of Uusimaa and together have around 6,600 members, more than half of all Catholics in Finland. There are also several smaller free church congregations in Helsinki .

The number of Muslims in Helsinki cannot be precisely determined; it is estimated that a large proportion of Finland's 60,000 Muslims live in the capital region. There are around ten Muslim prayer rooms in Helsinki. Islam was brought to Helsinki by Tatars as early as the 19th century , and more recently, the number of Muslims has increased significantly through immigration from the Middle East and Somalia . There is also a Jewish community in Helsinki , one of two in Finland, with around 1200 members. The Helsinki Synagogue was consecrated in 1906.



The Reichstag building (parliament) in Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital of the Republic of Finland. The city is home to the Parliament , the Council of State (the government body), all ministries and the President . The two highest courts, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, are also located in Helsinki.

coat of arms

Description: In blue, a golden boat floats on a white wave shield base under a golden crown.

City council

Composition of the City Council (2017-2021)
Political party Election result Allocation of seats from January 1, 2018
Collection party 28.3%
10 12 21st 25th 6th 
A total of 85 seats
Green covenant 24.1%
Social democrats 13.8%
Left alliance 11.2%
Base fins 06.7%
Swedish People's Party 05.8%
Center Party 02.8%
Christian Democrats 02.8%
Feminists 01.5%
Pirates 00.9%
Rest 02.1%
The market square with a view of the town hall on the inner-city southern harbor

As in all Finnish cities, the Helsinki City Council (Finnish: kaupunginvaltuusto ) is the highest decision-making body in local matters. These include urban planning, schools, healthcare and public transport. The council, consisting of 85 members, is elected for four years.

Traditionally, the conservative rallying party is the strongest parliamentary group in the city council, followed by the Green Bund , which is most strongly represented in Helsinki across the country and has ousted the Social Democrats to third place. Currently, almost two thirds of the seats go to these three parties. The left alliance and right-wing populist grassroots women achieved their best results to date in the 2012 city council elections with around 10% each. The Swedish People's Party , the political representation of the Finland-Swedes, achieved a share of the vote with a good 6%, which corresponds to the population of the minority in the capital. Although one of the three largest parties in the country, the Center Party , as in most other large cities, has little significance. The Christian Democrats and the Communist Party of Finland are still represented on the city council .

For historical reasons, the Helsinki City Director has the title of Lord Mayor (Finnish: ylipormestari ). He is subordinate to the city council and is appointed by it. His job is to run the administration and manage the city's budget. Jussi Pajunen from the Collection Party has held this post since 2005 .

Town twinning

Helsinki does not have city partnerships, but is part of the METREX network of European metropolitan regions. The city maintains relations with the capitals of the other EU member states and Nordic countries as well as cities in the Baltic Sea region . There is also a special collaboration with Moscow and Beijing . Helsinki is a member of the Covenant of Mayors .

Culture and sights


Helsinki Cathedral is the city's landmark that can be seen from afar

Helsinki is considered a stronghold of classicism . In addition, the cityscape is shaped by the Art Nouveau architecture from the early years of the 20th century. Among the modern buildings, several representatives of functionalism can be highlighted.


After Helsinki was chosen as the capital in 1812, the architect Carl Ludwig Engel (1778–1840) was commissioned to plan a representative center based on the model of Saint Petersburg . Around the central Senate Square (Senaatintori) there is a unique classical ensemble with the cathedral built between 1830 and 1852 , the old Senate building and the main building of the university . Further noteworthy classical buildings are u. a. the National Library and the Presidential Palace . Engel's neoclassical center later earned Helsinki the nickname white city of the north .

Art Nouveau building in the Katajanokka district
Art Nouveau

Finnish Art Nouveau is strongly influenced by the national romantic art of that era, inspired by the national epic Kalevala .

Examples of Art Nouveau architecture can be found in the residential buildings, especially in districts such as Katajanokka , Kruununhaka or Eira . Representative buildings such as the main train station , the National Museum and the Kallio Church were also built in the national romantic Art Nouveau style. Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950) is considered the most important representative of Finnish Art Nouveau architecture .

Finlandia Hall, one of the most prominent examples of functionalism

The famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976), one of the pioneers of functionalism, designed several buildings in Helsinki . Many of his designs, such as the Finlandia Hall , a concert and congress building completed in 1971, or the headquarters of the Stora Enso paper company , met with some controversy among the population. Along the main street Mannerheimintie there are other functionalist buildings with the Lasipalatsi cultural center , the post house and the Olympic stadium.

More Attractions

Helsinki's promenades are the Aleksanterinkatu and the Esplanadi . The former is named after Tsar Alexander I and leads from Senate Square to Mannerheimintie. Aleksanterinkatu is lined with numerous shops, including Stockmann , the largest department store in the Nordic countries. The Esplanadi runs parallel to the Aleksanterinkatu and consists of two streets Pohjoisesplanadi and Eteläesplanadi (north and south planade) with a park in between. The market square (Kauppatori) is located at the eastern end of the Esplanadi directly at the southern harbor . In summer, fruit, vegetables, freshly caught fish and souvenirs are sold in the lively market. There is also the Vanha kauppahalli , the oldest market and department store in Helsinki. The famous Havis Amanda sculpture stands on the edge of the market square .

Suomenlinna Fortress, located on five islands off Helsinki
The Sibelius Monument

A ferry runs from the market square to the Suomenlinna Fortress (Swedish Sveaborg ). The fortress was built in 1748 on several islands and part of the 1991 UNESCO - World Heritage Site . Suomenlinna is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The islands are still inhabited by around 950 people today. Part of the area is used for military purposes and is not accessible to civilians.

The Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral rises on a rock in the west of the Katajanokka peninsula . The Russian-Byzantine style construction was completed in 1868 and is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe. Another church building that attracts many visitors is the modern Temppeliaukio Church in the Töölö district . It was built into a granite rock in 1969. The Kamppi Chapel, completed in 2012, is even younger . The oldest indoor swimming pool in Finland, the Yrjönkadun uimahalli, is also located in the Kamppi district .

The former lightship Relandersgrund is now a restaurant ship.

The Sibelius Monument in Sibelius Park in the Töölö district is one of the most visited and popular attractions in the city. The abstract monument, which was controversially discussed at the time, was inaugurated in 1967.


The Finnish National Theater

Helsinki has three major theaters . The Finnish National Theater (Suomen Kansallisteatteri) was originally founded in Porvoo . It was the first theater to perform plays in the Finnish language. Since 1902 it has been housed in an Art Nouveau building on Bahnhofsplatz. The Helsinki City Theater (Helsingin Kaupunginteatteri) was created through the merger of the Workers' Theater and the People's Theater. The municipal theater has been located in the Kallio district since 1967 . The Swedish Theater (Svenska Teatern) is the city's oldest theater and performs plays in Swedish.


The new music center Musiikkitalo

The most important opera house in the country is the Finnish National Opera (Kansallisooppera) in the Helsinki district of Töölö . In addition to operas, concerts and ballet performances take place here. In 2011 the concert hall Musiikkitalo was opened. It is the new music center of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri) , the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Sibelius Academy , the only music academy in Finland.

Helsinki hosts the Helsingfors Biennale in late August or early September . Concerts, exhibitions, opera and ballet of international standing are then organized. The International Violin Competition takes place every five years in honor of Jean Sibelius .

In the summer, central Helsinki hosts numerous open-air rock and pop events, including several free concerts in Kaivopuisto Park and Kaisaniemi Park, next to Central Station. In the latter park, the annual Tuska Open Air Metal Festival attracts around 30,000 visitors every July, making it the largest metal festival in Finland.


The National Museum of Finland (Suomen kansallismuseo) houses exhibits on the history of Finland from prehistoric times to the 21st century. The museum building from 1910 imitates medieval castles and churches in the national romantic Art Nouveau. The Helsinki City Museum presents the five hundred year history of Helsinki. The University of Helsinki also has several museums, including the University Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

The Finnish National Gallery is divided into three museums. The most important Finnish works of art from the 18th to 20th centuries are on display in the Ateneum on Bahnhofsplatz, built in the neo-Renaissance style in 1887 , including paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kallela , Helene Schjerfbeck and Albert Edelfelt . The Sinebrychoff Art Museum (Sinebrychoffin taidemuseo) shows classic European art. The contemporary art , the Kunsthalle Helsinki and Kiasma dedicated -Museum. These collections contain Finnish and foreign, mainly Northern European, art from the 1960s onwards. The architecture of the modern building on Mannerheimintie Street sparked controversy when it opened in 1998. Helsinki is home to the Finnish Architecture Museum, one of the oldest architecture centers in Europe. Next to the architecture museum is the design museum, in which u. a. the art of the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto is presented.

The art museum HAM (Helsinki Art Museum) is located in the functionalist former tennis palace in the city center. The HAM specializes in modern and contemporary art and attracts visitors with its extraordinary exhibitions such as Charlie Chaplin , Yayoi Kusama and Tove Jansson . It also shows the works of art outside of their own premises in parks, underground stations and on the streets of Helsinki.

The Didrichsen Art Museum is located on the island of Kuusisaari in the far west of the city, near the border with the neighboring city of Espoo . The couple Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen have been collecting works of art since the middle of the 20th century and have turned their villa, which is surrounded by a modern sculpture park and built by the architect Viljo Revell in 1958/59, into a museum. Exhibitions by artists such as Edvard Munch and Helene Schjerfbeck are shown there every year.

freetime and recreation

For a city of its size, Helsinki has quite a lot of green spaces. About 30% of the urban area consists of forests or parks. Helsinki's most famous park is Kaivopuisto , located in the southeast of the city center, directly on the sea . It was created in the 1830s as a spa park. It has been a public park since 1886. From the cliffs of Kaivopuisto there is a view over the archipelago off the coast of Helsinki over to Suomenlinna . Other parks in the center are the park in Kaisaniemi and the so-called plague park (Ruttopuisto) at the old church in Bulevardi Street. The latter served as a cemetery until 1829 and got its name because the dead from the plague epidemic of 1710 were buried there.

The Linnanmäki amusement park, which opened in 1950, is located in the Alppiharju district close to the center . It is also known colloquially as Lintsi and is run by the children’s aid organization Klassen Päivän Säätiö . The park has 40 rides of different sizes, the most famous of which is the wooden roller coaster Vuoristorata , built in 1951 . Admission is free; however, the individual rides require entry (with a few exceptions, such as the Panoraama observation tower ). Linnanmäki is open from April to September.

At the Hietaniemi Bay in the west of the center there is a bathing beach and the extensive Hietaniemi cemetery . A little further north in the Taka-Töölö district is Sibelius Park with the Sibelius monument, which was erected from over 600 steel tubes in honor of the composer Jean Sibelius . The island of Seurasaari is a popular destination and is home to an open-air museum. The largest park in Helsinki is the 10 km² central park (Keskuspuisto) , which begins north of Töölö and extends to the northern border of Helsinki. However, it is more of a natural forest area than a park. A special feature of the park are the flying squirrels , whose population has recovered surprisingly quickly in recent years, after having been considered to have disappeared at the end of the 20th century.


The 72 m high tower of the Olympic Stadium

The most important international sporting event to have taken place in Helsinki so far was the 1952 Summer Olympics . Helsinki was originally supposed to host the Olympic Games in 1940 , but these had to be canceled due to the Second World War. The biggest international event that took place in Finland was an opportunity for the small country, which was only just recovering from the aftermath of the war, to present itself to the world. The World Athletics Championships took place in Helsinki in 1983 and 2005 . In addition, the ice hockey world championship was played in Helsinki in 1974 , 1982 , 1991 , 1997 and 2003 . In 2009, Helsinki was the central venue for the women's European football championship held in Finland .

The football club HJK Helsinki is the record champions of the Veikkausliiga . In the 1998/99 season he became the first and so far only Finnish club to qualify for the UEFA Champions League . He plays his home games in the Finnair Stadium, which was built in 2000, next to the Olympic Stadium . In ice hockey , the two Helsinki clubs Jokerit and HIFK are among the top teams of the KHL and the Liiga . HIFK's home arena is the Helsinki ice rink , also in the vicinity of the Olympic Stadium, while Jokerit plays in the Hartwall Arena , a multifunctional hall in the Pasila district, opened in 1997 . The SSV Helsinki won several championships and the cup in floorball .

The largest sporting event that regularly takes place in Helsinki is the Helsinki Cup , a football tournament for juniors that has been held since 1976 . In 2002 a record number of participants was set with 819 teams. At the Helsinki City Marathon every year about 6,000 runners take place. The circular course of the marathon route starts near the Olympic Stadium next to the Paavo Nurmi monument , leads along the Baltic Sea shore over several bridges and islands and usually ends in the Olympic Stadium (during the renovation of the stadium from 2016 to 2019 in the directly adjacent Töölö football stadium ).


Stockmann's main store in the center of Helsinki
Main building of Yle

The Finnish economy is inextricably linked to the Helsinki region, which generates roughly a third of the gross domestic product of the economy. With the Helsinki Stock Exchange and numerous banks, Helsinki is the center of financial life in Finland. Information technology and the financial sector can be considered the backbone of Helsinki’s economy today .

The Helsinki economy has gradually moved away from industry and is now mainly based on the service sector . Most Finnish corporations and the regional divisions of international corporations have their headquarters in the Helsinki area, mainly because of the international connections, the logistics network and the availability of manpower. 83 of the 100 largest companies in the country are headquartered in Helsinki. However, some of the most important companies, including Nokia , have settled in the neighboring city of Espoo . The most important groups based in Helsinki themselves include the telecommunications service provider Elisa , the media groups Otava and Sanoma, and in the retail sector the retailers Kesko , HOK-Elanto and the department store chain Stockmann .

Also Yleisradio , the public broadcaster of Finland, has its headquarters in the capital. Yle operates four national television channels as well as several national and regional radio stations. The broadcaster is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Nordvision , an association of state broadcasters in the Nordic countries .

During the middle of the 20th century Helsinki was considered the most important industrial location in Finland, but between 1960 and 1980 the number of jobs in the industrial sector halved. What remains are the Helsinki Shipyard in Hietalahti and the ABB plants in Pitäjänmäki . The Arabia ceramic factory, which was temporarily one of the largest in Europe, closed in 2016; their production was outsourced to Romania and Thailand.

Every year in October, the traditional herring market takes place in central Helsinki .

Every year in November, the startup and technology event Slush takes place in Helsinki .

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Helsinki was ranked 32nd out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


Air traffic

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is located 15 kilometers north of the city center in the neighboring city of Vantaa . It is Finland's largest commercial airport and serves 18 million passengers a year. Until it opened in 1952, Malmi Airport in the Malmi district , 10 kilometers northeast of the center, was the city's main airport. Today it serves general aviation . The city of Helsinki is aiming to close Malmi Airport in the long term in order to free up the area for residential construction. The planned closure is controversial. In addition, the airline Copterline operated a helicopter connection from the port of Helsinki to Tallinn until 2008 .


The southern harbor with the Olympic terminal, the main landing stage for the
Silja Line ferries

The port of Helsinki is the largest port for freight and passenger traffic in Finland. Passenger focuses on situated in the very center of the city of South Haven (Eteläsatama) and on the West Harbor ( Länsisatama ) in the same district. Freight traffic is now completely handled in the port in Vuosaari , which was completed at the end of 2008 (apart from the trucks that ride on the passenger ferries that use the south and west ports). The areas of the part of the western port formerly used for freight traffic and the former container port in the Sörnäinen district have become available for new residential construction projects.

In 2019, 14.4 million tonnes of goods (2018: 14.7 million t) were handled in the port, the number of containers was 533,810 TEU (2018: 509,500 TEU). In ferry traffic, there were 12.2 million travelers and 603,500 passengers on cruise ships , in 2018 there were 11.6 million passengers, 520,000 on cruise ships. In 2013, a total of 8,126 ships docked in the port of Helsinki; this corresponds to an average of around 22 ships per day. In the 2013 summer season, 283 cruise ships visited the port and brought 424,000 day trippers to Helsinki. The volume of scheduled traffic in 2013 was 10.7 million travelers per year. As the passenger capacity of the cruise ships is increasing, there were a total of 266 cruise ships with 478,000 day guests in the 2017 summer season; this corresponds to an increase of 18.6% over the previous year. Cruise ships dock in both the south and west ports, depending on their size. In addition, the Tallinn – Helsinki – Tallinn connection overtook all other shipping routes in Europe in terms of passenger capacity, for example the one between Dover and Calais. The ferry companies Viking Line , Silja Line , Finnlines , Tallink , Linda Line and Stella Naves Russia offer regular ferry connections to Tallinn , Stockholm , Saint Petersburg , Lübeck-Travemünde , Rostock and Gdynia . Travel with the so-called Sweden Ships (ruotsinlaiva) , which offer restaurants, nightclubs and tax-free shops on board, has long been popular.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union , connections to the Estonian capital Tallinn, some 80 kilometers away, were so lively that people are already talking about a common metropolitan region called Talsinki . Tallinn is attractive to day trippers from Helsinki because of its picturesque old town and the low price level. Conversely, around 17,500–18,500 Estonians commute to work in the Helsinki region (as of 2011). The possibility of a Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel for rail traffic was examined from 2016 to 2018 in an EU-funded feasibility study. This tunnel would be the longest submarine tunnel in the world.

Helsinki Central Station


Helsinki Central Station is the largest terminal station of the railway traffic in Finland. Long-distance trains run to the most important cities in Finland as well as to Saint Petersburg and Moscow . In addition, the main train station is the end of all lines of local rail transport that connects the center with the northern and western suburbs and neighboring cities. The station building was completed in 1919 according to plans by the architect Eliel Saarinen and is a landmark of the city.

All trains departing from the main station stop first at Pasila station , which is the largest transfer hub for residents of the suburbs and surrounding communities. Here the route splits into the main line (päärata) via Hämeenlinna to Tampere and the coastal line (rantarata) to Turku .

The Helsinki Metro is the northernmost subway in the world


The public transport is performed by buses, trams, subway, commuter trains and ferries. The regional transport association HSL has been responsible for planning and coordinating local transport since 2010 . In 2010, 326.9 million passengers were carried in the entire HSL area (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Sipoo), of which 166.6 million were carried by buses, 57.1 million by underground Rail, 54.5 million by tram, 47.1 million by local trains and 1.6 million by ferry to Suomenlinna. The share of local public transport in the total volume of traffic within the city was 32% in autumn 2014.

The Helsinki Metro , which opened in 1982, is Finland's only metro. Since November 2018 it has had two lines (M1 and M2) that connect the center with the east of the city and the neighboring city of Espoo to the west . The network with 25 stations is 35 km long, 19 of which are in the Helsinki metropolitan area and the remaining 6 in the neighboring city of Espoo. The Helsinki tram is also the only one in the country. Currently (autumn 2018) there are ten lines, all of which run in the city center. The local rail transport system in this form is the only one in the country. There is also a dense bus network. Bus traffic to Espoo and long-distance bus services are handled in the underground bus station in Kampinkeskus , which opened in 2005 . The bus terminals are used by around 170,000 passengers every day.

Tram at the Protestant cathedral

The transport system is largely oriented radially towards the center of Helsinki. Thus the connections from the outskirts to the center are very good, but the cross connections within the outskirts are poorly developed. The opening of a Metrobus -like, Jokeri bus called (Joker) in 2003 and with the 2015 opened Ringbahn some efforts have been made in the 21st century to resolve this shortcoming. In addition, with the opening of the so-called Westmetro , the underground will change from a radial to a diameter line .

Road traffic

Main traffic routes in the capital region

The total length of the Helsinki road network is 1078 km, of which 997 km are asphalt (as of 2007). The city is surrounded by two ring roads, Ring I and Ring III. Because Helsinki is on the coast, they are semicircular. The middle ring road (Ring II) has remained a fragment, a complete middle ring is no longer planned. Instead, the option is being discussed of leading the east-west through traffic under the center in a so-called center tunnel.

Eight major arterial roads lead out of Helsinki. The city is the starting point of Finnish state roads 1 , 3 , 4 and 7 . The European roads 12 , 18 and 75 partly follow the course of these highways. Helsinki is also the end point of the E 67 (Via Baltica).

Because of the good public transport and the short distances, car traffic in Helsinki, especially in the city center, plays a comparatively minor role. In the city-wide average, the share of car traffic in autumn 2014 was 22% of the traffic volume. The number of registered passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants is 403, well below the national average of 548 (as of the end of 2011). The majority of households in Helsinki do not have their own car.

Politicians are particularly trying to limit motor vehicle traffic from outside towards the city center by regulating parking facilities. In the city center there are almost only short-term and / or paid parking spaces for non-residents. Residential parking, on the other hand, is encouraged: long-term parking permits are relatively cheap for residents, and the city stipulates a comparatively high minimum number of parking spaces for new buildings that can be realized on the property (often in an underground car park ).

Pedestrian and bicycle traffic

The former Baana railway line in central Helsinki is now reserved for cyclists and pedestrians.

In autumn 2014, the share of foot traffic was 34% and that of bicycle traffic was 11% of the total in-city traffic. The total length of the Helsinki cycle paths is 1200 km, but a large part of them are combined walking and cycling paths. The bike paths are paved over a distance of 730 km. About 500 km of the cycle paths are in green areas, 90 km follow the bank. The city of Helsinki aims to increase the share of cycling to 15 percent by 2020. This is to be achieved in particular by expanding the cycle path network, especially in the city center, which has so far been relatively poorly covered. The showcase project is the Baana , which opened in 2012 on a former railway line , a 1.3 km long, crossing-free cycle expressway that leads from Ruoholahti right through the center to near the main train station. The maintenance of the cycle paths is also to be improved, especially snow removal during the winter months. Furthermore, since May 2016 there has been a public bike rental system with 238 rental stations that are in use from the beginning of April to the end of October. There was one for a few years at the beginning of the 21st century.


power supply

The Salmisaari coal-fired power station; in the background the small Kellosaari oil power station, which serves as a reserve for exceptional situations

The City of Helsinki has its own energy company, Helsingin Energia , which produces electricity , district heating and district cooling and is the owner of the relevant transmission networks in Helsinki. Most of the city's electricity consumers get their electricity from Helsingin Energia; but there are also other providers. Helsingin Energia's district heating system covers almost the entire city and meets 90% of its heating needs.

There are three larger power plants in Helsinki, all of which are operated by Helsingin Energia and produce electricity and district heating at the same time using the very energy-efficient cogeneration process . These are: a gas and steam combined cycle power plant with two units in the Vuosaari district and a coal-fired power plant each in Salmisaari ( Länsisatama district ) and in Hanasaari ( Sörnäinen district ). There are also a number of smaller systems. As a renewable energy source, the power plant in Hanasaari has been burning wood pellets in a pilot plant since 2012 ; Since the beginning of 2018, wood pellets have also been routinely burned in the Salmisaari power plant for energy production. The Hanasaari incineration power plant will only remain in operation until the end of 2024 and then be replaced by a modern power plant in Vuosaari that draws its energy from (seawater) heat pumps and renewable energy sources. Helsingin Energia also owns shares in other energy companies, through which it has interests in wind and nuclear power plants outside Helsinki.

In 2011 Helsingin Energia and its subsidiaries produced 7,126 GWh of electricity, of which 5,081 GWh were within the city. The energy mix for the entire electricity production was as follows: 51% natural gas, 21% hard coal, 20% nuclear power, 8% renewable energies. District heating was produced within Helsinki's 6,674 GWh. The energy mix here was 51% natural gas, 42% hard coal, 4% oil, and 3% heat recovered from waste water (see below). The share of renewable energies is to be increased to 20% by 2020, and production is to be climate-neutral by 2050 .

Water supply

The Silvola reservoir in Vantaa is fed by the water from the Päijänne tunnel ; it serves as a water reservoir for the supply of the capital region.

The regional association HSY has been responsible for the water supply since 2010 . The tap water comes from Lake Päijänne, about 120 km to the north, and is carried to Helsinki through the Päijänne Tunnel , one of the longest rock tunnels in the world. There are two water treatment plants there , in which the water is made into drinking water: one in Pitkäkoski and one in Vanhakaupunki . The high-quality water was sometimes even bottled and exported abroad. If necessary, instead of the Päijänne water, the water from Vantaanjoki can also be treated to make drinking water.

The wastewater is treated in two plants, in Viikinmäki in Helsinki and in Suomenoja in Espoo, before being discharged into the sea. As a by-product of cleaning, u. a. Biogas , which is used to generate energy. In addition, the thermal energy contained in the wastewater is recovered and fed into the Helsinki district heating network.

Education and Research

Illuminated main building of Helsinki University (2017)

The Helsinki region is the scientific center of Finland. There are five colleges and universities there with a total of around 60,000 students. All of these universities are headquartered in Helsinki itself, with the exception of Aalto University , which is headquartered in the neighboring city of Espoo. There are also six universities of applied sciences and several independent research institutions such as B. the VTT Technical Research Center (the latter in Espoo).

Colleges and universities

Domed Hall of the National Library of Finland
Historical high school Helsingin normaalilyseo

The University of Helsinki is the oldest and with around 35,000 students (as of 2013) also the largest university in Finland. It is a full university and successor to the Academy in Turku , founded in 1640 , which was relocated to Helsinki after the great fire of Turku in 1828. The classical main building is located on Senate Square and was designed by Carl Ludwig Engel . In addition to the campus in the center, there are three other campuses in the districts of Kumpula (mathematics and natural sciences), Viikki (biological and environmental sciences, agriculture, veterinary medicine, pharmacy) and Meilahti (medicine). In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki is regularly the best-placed Finnish university. In the 2014 Shanghai ranking it was in 73rd place. (For comparison: only three German universities were able to rank better, namely the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg in shared 49th place and the Technical University of Munich in 53rd place.)

Aalto University , named after the architect and designer Alvar Aalto , whose main campus is in the neighboring city of Espoo, focuses on technology and business. It was created in 2010 through the merger of three previously independent universities: the Helsinki University of Technology (founded in 1849, university status since 1908), the Helsinki University of Commerce (1904/1911) and the Helsinki University of Art and Design (1871/1973). In 2015 Aalto University had approximately 20,000 students.

The University of the Arts Helsinki was also merged in 2013, namely the Sibelius Academy (founded in 1882, university status since 1980), the Helsinki Art Academy (1848/1993) and the Helsinki Theater Academy (1979). It is the only art university in Finland and had around 2000 students in 2013.

There is also the Swedish-speaking Hanken Commercial College, founded in 1909, with around 2400 students, and the Finnish Defense College of the Finnish Army, founded in 1993, with around 1000 students.

Elementary schools and high schools

The city of Helsinki has 131 primary schools (peruskoulu) and 17 high schools (lukio) , some of which are Swedish (as of 2013). There are also some private schools, including several English and two French-speaking schools, one Russian-speaking and one German-speaking school (the German School Helsinki ).


The Rikhardinkatu Library, opened in 1881, was the first building in the Nordic countries to be designed as a public library from the start. In the 1920s the building was increased by one floor.
Reading room on the third floor of the Oodi library (2018)

The Finnish National Library, directly across from Helsinki Cathedral, is the oldest and most important academic library in the country. It is subordinate to the University of Helsinki and was named University Library Helsinki until 2006 . Today's Helsinki University Library, on the other hand, was created in 2010 through the merger of the university's various specialist libraries and is housed in a modern building completed in 2012.

The municipal libraries of the capital region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) are united in a network called HelMet (from Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries ). This maintains a network of 63 actual libraries, 37 of them in Helsinki, as well as some other institutions such as B. six mobile libraries (as of 2015). Helsinki City Council decided in January 2015 to build a new central library. The Oodi library was built northwest of the main train station and opened in December 2018. The German Library Helsinki is one of the other local libraries .


Helsinki is the birthplace of numerous prominent personalities. These include the soprano Aino Ackté , the designer Aino Aalto , the Nobel Prize winner Ragnar Granit , the former Finnish President Tarja Halonen , the writer and illustrator Tove Jansson , the polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld , the actors Matti Pellonpää and Kati Einojuhani , the composer Rautavaara , the painter Helene Schjerfbeck , the founder of the Linux and Git project Linus Torvalds , the writer Mika Waltari , the singer and songwriter Samu Haber and Ville Valo, who works in the music business .


  • Astrid Feltes-Peter: Baedeker Finland . 2nd Edition. Baedeker, Ostfildern 2002, ISBN 3-89525-478-9 , p. 114 ff.
  • Arvi Ilonen: Helsinki: An Architectural Guide . Otava, Helsinki 1990, ISBN 951-1-10762-3 (English).
  • Neil Kent: Helsinki: A Cultural and Literary History . Signal Books, Oxford 2004, ISBN 1-902669-75-4 (English).
  • Heikki Mäntymäki, Teresia Liljelund: Urban planning considerations Helsinki . Helsingin kaupungin kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto / City Planning Office, Helsinki 2008, ISBN 978-952-223-054-6 .
  • Eino E. Suolahti: Helsinki: An Empire City . Otava, Helsinki 1973, ISBN 951-1-01240-1 .
  • Hélène le Tac, Lotta Sonninen: National Geographic Explorer - Helsinki (translated by Ulrike Jamin). National Geographic, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-86690-176-6 .

Web links

Commons : Helsinki  - collection of images
Wiktionary: Helsinki  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Helsinki  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Maanmittauslaitos (Finnish land surveying office): Suomen pinta-alat kunnittain 1.1.2010 . (PDF; 199 kB)
  2. Statistical Office Finland: Table 11ra - Key figures on population by region, 1990-2018
  3. Facts about the Helsinki Region. In: Accessed April 7, 2019 .
  4. Helsingfors in the dictionary Finlandssvenska bebyggelsenamn
  5. Jere Jäppinen: Mistä Helsingin nimi on peräisin? (Finnish) , Helsingin Sanomat. November 15, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2020. 
  6. Helsingfors in the dictionary Finlandssvenska bebyggelsenamn of Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland .
  7. Tapio Salminen: Vantaan ja Helsingin pitäjän keskiaika ( fi ). Vantaan kaupunki, Vantaa 2013, ISBN 978-952-443-455-3 , pp. 140-147.
  8. ^ Sonja Hellman: Historiska fel upprättas i ny bok (sv) , Hufvudstadsbladet. June 7, 2015, p. 12. 
  9. Tapio Salminen: Vantaan ja Helsingin pitäjän keskiaika . Vantaan kaupunki, Vantaa 2013, ISBN 978-952-443-455-3 , p. 167.
  10. Jere Jäppinen: Helsingin nimi ( fi ) Helsingfors stadsmuseum. 2007. Retrieved February 26, 2016 ..
  11. Jere Jäppinen: Mistä Helsingin nimi on peräisin? (fi) , Helsingin Sanomat. November 15, 2011. 
  12. - stadilaisuus ( Memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Staffan Bruun: Inget att fyra, tyckte många Helsingforsare (Swedish) , Hufvudstadsbladet. April 7, 2012, p. 34. Retrieved on February 5, 2020. "Original leagues fanns planer på att Finlands huvudstad skulle heta Alexandria." 
  14. Tilastot - Maanmittauslaitos . Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  15. Järviwiki: Helsinki
  16. City of Helsinki: Helsingin ympäristön tila: teemakatsaus 1/2009 ( Memento from April 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, p. 1)
  17. a b City of Helsinki: Page no longer available , search in web archives: Luonto@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  18. City of Helsinki: Saaret - osa Helsinkiä ( Memento of 9 February 2013, Internet Archive )
  19. Taajamat väkiluvun ja väestöntiheyden mukaan December 31, 2011  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  20. Tourist Office of the City of Helsinki ( Memento of the original dated August 31, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Finnish) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. a b Climate table (with water temperature) of Helsinki
  22. Tähtitieteelliset vuodenajat Ilmatieteen laitos (Finnish Meteorological Institute). Access date April 28, 2012.
  24. 1812–2012 - Helsinki 200 years as capital ( Memento from September 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  25. Tilastokeskus (Statistics Center)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Finnish)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  26. Helsinki alueittain 2011 PDF, Finnish, pages 26 (all of Helsinki) and 150 (Jakomäki).
  27. Ulkomaalaiset Helsingissä ja pääkaupunkiseudulla ( Memento of the original from February 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Pekka Vuori, Helsinki City Information Center. PDF, Finnish, p. 2. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  28. City of Helsinki: Statistical Yearbook of Helsinki 2018. (PDF; 1.1 MB)
  29. City of Helsinki: Helsingin ja Helsingin seudun väestöennuste 2017–2050. (Excel; 1.8 MB)
  30. City of Helsinki: General information on Helsinki
  31. Immigrants Learning Swedish over Finnish Run into the problem, 4 November of 2010.
  32. Heikki Paunonen: The Finnish Language in Helsinki. In: Bengt Nordberg (Ed.): The Sociolinguistics of Urbanization: The Case of the Nordic Countries. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1994, pp. 223–245, here p. 223.
  33. result of the Census 1870, see Wäenlasku Maaliskuussa 1870 Helsingin, Turun, Wiipurin yes Oulun kaupungeissa, Helsinki 1874, p XXXV. (PDF; 10.3 MB)
  34. ^ Result of the 1900 census, see Vänenlasku Helsingissä, Turussa, Tampereella ja Viipurissa joulukuun 5 päivänä 1900, Helsinki 1904, p. 61. (PDF; 19.4 MB)
  35. Heikki Paunonen: The Finnish Language in Helsinki. In: Bengt Nordberg (Ed.): The Sociolinguistics of Urbanization: The Case of the Nordic Countries. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1994, pp. 223–245.
  36. Helsingin seurakuntien vuositilasto 2019 Helsingin seurakuntayhtymä (Finnish)
  37. Population structure Statistics Finland
  38. ^ Website of the Helsinki Orthodox Church Community : Tietoa Helsingin ortodoksisesta seurakunnasta. ( Memento of the original from November 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  39. 3500 in the St. Heinrichs parish (according to the parish's website ( Memento of the original from April 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and remove then this note. ) and 3100 in the St. Marien Congregation (according to the website of the community ). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  40. Muslimit tarvitsevat lisää tilaa Helsingissä, December 30, 2010.
  41. 1188 in 2009 according to the municipality's website .
  42. Official final result of the 2016 local elections on the website of the Finnish Ministry of Justice, accessed on January 2, 2020.
  43. Didrichsen Art Museum (English)
  44. Hyvä tietää . In: Linnanmäki . Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  45. Esa Lammi, Pekka Routasuo: Helsingin liito-oravakartoitus 2018  (= Helsingin kaupungin kaupunkiympäristön julkaisuja). City of Helsinki, Helsinki January 2019, ISBN 978-952-331-519-8 .
  46. ^ Finnish Athletics Federation: Helsinki City Running Day - General Info . In: Helsinki City Running Day . Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  47. Perinteikäs Arabian keramiikkatehdas lopetti - Mitä tapahtuu tehdaskorttelille? . In: Yle Uutiset . Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  48. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .
  49. ↑ Ferry traffic and shore power . In: Hansa , issue 4/2020, p. 81.
  50. ^ André Germann: Record cover in Helsinki . In: Daily port report of January 22, 2019, p. 4.
  51. 2013 annual statistics of the port of Helsinki ( Memento of the original from December 17, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF, Finnish), accessed on December 17, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  52. Retrieved April 13, 2018 .
  53. Helsingin Satama Euroopan matkustajasatamien kärkeen. Retrieved April 13, 2018 (Finnish).
  54. Economic flows between Helsinki-Uusimaa and Tallinn-Harju regions ( Memento of the original dated December 23, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 1.5 MB). P. 4, accessed on December 18, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  55. Implementation of Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel to be studied with EU funding . Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council. June 14, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  56. Final report of the FinEst Link project published . FinEst Link. February 7, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  57. HSL Annual Report 2010 ( Memento of the original dated February 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF, Finnish; 4.1 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  58. a b c Suurin osa helsinkiläisten matkoista taittuu kävellen ja joukkoliikenteellä ( Memento of the original from December 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. City of Helsinki, Dec. 16, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  59. ^ By metro. In: Accessed April 7, 2019 .
  60. City of Helsinki: Katuverkon asfalttipäällysteiden kuntotieto ( Memento of the original from April 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF, p. 2/6; 8.5 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  61. City of Helsinki: Liikenteen kehitys Helsingissä vuonna 2011 (PDF, p. 2; 1.2 MB)
  62. Helsingin Uutiset, May 8, 2013: Jo yli puolet talouksista autottomia Helsingissä
  63. City of Helsinki: Pyöräily ( Memento of the original from February 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  64. City of Helsinki: Pyöräilyn edistäminen ( Memento of the original dated February 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  65. Ratakuilun kevyen liikenteen väylä eli Baana ( Memento of the original from August 29, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  66. City bikes - About the service
  67. Helsingin Energia: / Helsingin Energia in brief ( Memento of the original from March 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  68. Helsingin Energia: Tuotamme energiaa / Energy production  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  69. Sofia Grönroos: Pelletti on tullut - pysyäkseen | Helen . May 22, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  70. Marina Galkin-Aalto: Pellets were ignited in Finland's largest pellet boiler | Helen . October 20, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  71. Helen invests in renewable energy and closes Hanasaari power plant | Helen . Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  72. Helsingin Energia: Vuosikertomus 2011 ( Memento of the original from September 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 7.2 MB) / Annual Report 2011 ( Memento of the original from September 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF, p. 8; 7.8 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  73. Helsingin Energia: Kehitysohjelma kohti hiilineutraalia tulevaisuutta / Energy from renewable sources  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  74. HSY: Juomavesi ja veden laatu ( Memento of the original from March 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. / Drinking water and water quality ( Memento of the original from August 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  75. Helsingin Sanomat, International Edition, Jan. 7, 2004: Helsinki sells 1,400,000 bottles of water to Saudi Arabia ( Memento of the original from October 14, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  76. HSY: Puhdistamme jätevedet tehokkaasti ( Memento of the original from March 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. / Wastewater is treated efficiently ( Memento of the original from August 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  77. HSY: Jätevedestä lämpöä ( Memento of the original from April 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. / Heat from wastewater ( Memento of the original from March 16, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  78. Opiskelijat tiedekunnittain ( Memento of 26 September 2015, Internet Archive )
  79. units and faculties . In: University of Helsinki . November 10, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  80. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014
  81. (Finnish)
  84. Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulu ( Memento of March 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  85. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: archive link )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  86. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: archive link )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  87. SVK | Suomalais-venäläinen koulu . Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  88. ^ The German School Helsinki . Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  89. Rikhardinkadun kirjasto 130 vuotta ( Memento from January 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  90. , Kultur heute , June 30, 2019, Laura Weißmüller: A living room for Helsinki (June 30, 2019)
  91. (June 30, 2019)
  92. Pääkaupunkiseudun HelMet-kirjastot ovat käytössäsi ( Memento from October 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  94. Oodi. Retrieved December 17, 2018 (American English, official Oodi Library web site).
  95. Andreas Fanizadeh: Oodi library in Helsinki: bulwark against populism . In: The daily newspaper: taz . December 17, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed December 17, 2018]).
  96. ^ Thomas Rogers: Helsinki's New Library Has 3-D Printers and Power Tools. (And Some Books, Too.) . In: The New York Times . December 6, 2018, ISSN  0362-4331 ( [accessed December 17, 2018]).
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 2, 2006 .