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About Helsinki



Helsinki (/ˈhɛlsɪŋki/Finnish pronunciation: [ˈhe̞l.siŋ.k̟i] ( ); Swedish: Helsingforspronounced [hɛlsɪŋˈfɔʂ] ( )) is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. Helsinki has a population of 621,863, an urban population of 1.2 million (31 December 2013), and a metropolitan population of 1.4 million, making it the most populous municipality and urban area in Finland. Helsinki is located some 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 kilometres (250 mi) north east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg,Russia. Helsinki has close historical connections with these three cities.

The Helsinki metropolitan area includes urban core of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and surrounding commuter towns. It is the world's northernmost metro area of over one million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state. The Helsinki metropolitan area is the fourth largest Nordic metropolitan area after the metropolitan areas of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo and Helsinki city is the third biggest Nordic city after Stockholm and Oslo.

Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, cultural and research centre as well as one of northern Europe's major cities. Approximately 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region. The nearby municipality of Vantaa is the location of Helsinki Airport, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe and Asia.



Helsinki – Helsingfors City

Helsingin kaupunki
Helsingfors stad
Helsinki montage 2015.jpg





Early history


Central Helsinki in 1820 before rebuilding. Drawing by Carl Ludvig Engel.

Construction of Suomenlinna began in the 18th century.

Erottaja Rescue Station



Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn). Little came of the plans as Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars, and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the inhabitants of Helsinki. The construction of the naval fortress Sveaborg (In Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status, but it was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War and annexed Finland as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809 that the town began to develop into a substantial city. During the war, Russians besieged the Sveaborg fortress and about one quarter of the town was destroyed in an 1808 fire.





Wooden Vallila

Aleksanterinkatu in Central Helsinki

Aleksi in Central Helsinki

The view across summertime Eläintarhanlahti

The Helsinki Cathedral is probably the most prominent building and symbol of the city.

Parliament of Finland on the right, and new supplemental offices on the left


Carl Ludvig Engel (1778–1840) was appointed to design a new city centre all on his own. He designed several neoclassical buildings in Helsinki. The focal point of Engel's city plan is the Senate Square. It is surrounded by the Government Palace (to the east), the main building of Helsinki University (to the west), and (to the north) the enormous Cathedral, which was finished in 1852, twelve years after C. L. Engel's death. Subsequently, Engel's neoclassical plan stimulated the epithetThe White City Of The North. Helsinki is, however, perhaps even more famous for its numerous Art Nouveau (Jugend in Finnish) influenced buildings of the romantic nationalism, designed in the early 1900s and strongly influenced by the Kalevala, which is a very popular theme in the national romantic art of that era. Helsinki's Art Nouveau style is also featured in large residential areas such as Katajanokka and Ullanlinna. The master of the Finnish Art Nouveau was Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950), whose architectural masterpiece was the Helsinki central railway station.



In the 21st century Helsinki has decided to allow the construction of skyscrapers. Several projects are already in progress, mainly in Pasila and Kalasatama. The tallest with 40 floors will rise at least 150 meters (500 feet). In Pasila, twenty new high rises will be erected within 10 years. In Kalasataman Keskus REDI, the first 35-story (130 meters) and 32-story (122 meters) residential towers are already under construction. Later they will be joined by a 37-story (140 meters), two 32-story (122 meters, 400 feet), 31-story (120 meters) and 27-story (100 meters) residential buildings. In Kalasatama area, there will be 30 high-rises within 10 years..


A panoramic view over the southernmost districts of Helsinki from Hotel Torni. The Helsinki Old Church and its surrounding park are seen in the foreground, while the towers of St. John's Church (near center) and Mikael Agricola Church (right) can be seen in the middle distance, backdropped by the Gulf of Finland.

A panoramic view of Helsinki Central Railway Station and its surroundings

A panoramic view of Kamppi Central and its surroundings

Suomenlinna at afternoon in winter





University of Helsinki's Main Library: Kaisatalo

Main building of the University of Helsinki

Haaga-Helia University Of Applied Sciences is the largest business polytechnic in Finland.


Helsinki has 190 comprehensive schools, 41 upper secondary schools and 15 vocational institutes. Half of the 41 upper secondary schools are private or state-owned, the other half municipal. Higher level education is given in eight universities (see the section "Universities" below) and four polytechnics.



University of Applied Sciences


Helsinki is one of the co-location centres of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (Future information and communication society) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)..The educational department takes part in Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland.






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