Helsinki, finland

"Helsingfors" redirects here. For the village in Västerbotten County, Sweden, see Hälsingfors.
For the 2009 Finnish film, see Hellsinki.
Helsinki
HelsinkiHelsingfors
City
Helsingin kaupunki
Helsingfors stad
Aurinkolahti beach, City Hall

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Stadi, Hesa[1]
Finland

Coordinates: 60°10′15″N 024°56′15″E / 60.17083°N 24.93750°E / 60.17083; 24.93750Coordinates: 60°10′15″N 024°56′15″E / 60.17083°N 24.93750°E / 60.17083; 24.93750

Country Finland
Region Uusimaa
Sub-region Helsinki
Charter 1550
Capital city 1812
Government
 • Mayor Jussi Pajunen
Area(2011-01-01)[2]
 • City 715.49 km2 (276.25 sq mi)
 • Land 213.75 km2 (82.53 sq mi)
 • Water 501.74 km2 (193.72 sq mi)
 • Urban 640.46 km2 (247.28 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,970.18 km2 (1,146.79 sq mi)
Area rank 170th largest in Finland
Population (2013-08-31)[3]
 • City 610,601
 • Rank Largest in Finland
 • Density 2,856.61/km2 (7,398.6/sq mi)
 • Urban 1,176,976
 • Urban density 1,837.7/km2 (4,760/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,369,813
 • Metro density 461.19/km2 (1,194.5/sq mi)
Demonym helsinkiläinen (Finnish)
helsingforsare (Swedish)
Population by native language[4]
 • Finnish 84.3% (official)
 • Swedish 6.1% (official)
 • Others 9.6%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[5] 18.5%
Website www.hel.fi

Helsinki (Finnish pronunciation: close historical connections with these three cities.

The Helsinki metropolitan area includes urban core of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and surrounding commuter towns.[7] 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.

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.[8] The nearby municipality of Vantaa is the location of Helsinki Airport, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe and Asia.

In 2009, Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012[9] by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, narrowly beating Eindhoven for the title.

In the Economist Intelligence Unit's August 2012 Liveability survey, assessing the best and worst cities to live in, Helsinki placed eighth best overall.[10] In 2011, the Monocle Magazine in turn ranked Helsinki the most liveable city in the world in its Liveable Cities Index 2011.[11]

History

Main article: History of Helsinki

Early history



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.[12] 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.[13]

Czar Alexander I of Russia moved the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland and bring the capital closer to St. Petersburg. Following the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, The Royal Academy of Turku, at the time the country's only university, was also relocated to Helsinki, and eventually became the modern University of Helsinki. The move consolidated the city's new role and helped set it on the path of continuous growth. This transformation is highly apparent in the downtown core, which was rebuilt in neoclassical style to resemble St. Petersburg, mostly to a plan by the German-born architect C. L. Engel. As elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and industrialization were key factors behind the city's growth.

Twentieth century

Despite the tumultuousness of Finnish history during the first half of the 20th century, Helsinki continued its steady development. A landmark event was the XV Olympic games (1952 Olympic Games) held in Helsinki. Finland's rapid urbanization in the 1970s, occurring late relative to the rest of Europe, tripled the population in the metropolitan area, and the Helsinki Metro subway system was built. The relatively sparse population density of Helsinki and its peculiar structure have often been attributed to the lateness of its growth.

Name

Helsinki (Finnish pronunciation places stress on the first syllable: Finnish pronunciation: [ˈhelsiŋki]), is used to refer to the city in most languages, but not in Swedish.

The Swedish name Helsingfors ([hɛlsiŋˈfɔrs] or [hɛlsiŋˈfɔʂ]) is the original official name of the city of Helsinki (in the very beginning, spelled Hellssingeforss). The Finnish language form of the name probably originates from Helsinga and similar names used for the river that is currently known as the Vantaa River as documented already in the 14th century. Helsingfors comes from the name of the surrounding parish, Helsinge (source for Finnish Helsinki) and the rapids (Swedish: fors), which flowed through the original village.

Another suggestion is that the name Helsinge may have originated with medieval Swedish settlers who came from Hälsingland in Sweden. Others have proposed that the name derives from the Swedish word helsing, a former version of the word hals (neck), referring to the narrowest part of the river, i.e. the rapids.[14] Other Scandinavian cities located at this kind of geographical locations were given similar names at the time, such as Helsingør and Helsingborg.

In Helsinki slang the city is nicknamed as either Stadi (from the Swedish word stad, meaning "city") or Hesa (short of Helsinki + slang suffix sa), with Stadi being used to assert that the speaker is native to the city.[1][15] Helsset is the Northern Saami name of Helsinki.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Helsinki


Helsinki is spread across a number of bays and peninsulas and over a number of islands. The inner city area occupies a southern peninsula, which is rarely referred to by its actual name Vironniemi. Population density in certain parts of Helsinki's inner city area is very high, reaching 16,494 inhabitants per square kilometre (42,720 /sq mi) in the district of Kallio, but as a whole Helsinki's population density of 3,050 per square kilometre (7,900 /sq mi) ranks it as quite sparsely populated in comparison to other European capital cities. Much of Helsinki outside the inner city area consists of postwar suburbs separated from each other by patches of forest. A narrow, ten-kilometre-long (6 mi) Helsinki Central Park that stretches from the inner city to the northern border of Helsinki is an important recreational area for residents.

Major islands in Helsinki include Seurasaari, Lauttasaari and Korkeasaari – the lattermost being the site of the country's biggest zoo. Other significant islands are the fortress island of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) and the military island of Santahamina. Pihlajasaari island is a favourite summer spot for gay men and naturists, very much comparable to Fire Island off New York City.

Urban area


Helsinki urban area spreads to 10 different municipalities[16] and is considered to be the only metropolis in Finland.[17] It has population of 1 159 211, land area of 631,11m2 and population density of 1 836,8 per square kilometre[6] It is by far the biggest and most densely populated area of Finland, 3,7 times bigger than subsequent Tampere.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area consists of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. The Metropolitan Area covers 745 square kilometres (288 sq mi) and contains a total population of approximately one million. With about 19 per cent of the country’s population in just 0.2 per cent of its surface area, the housing density of the area is high by Finnish standards. The Metropolitan Area also has a high concentration of employment: approximately 580,000 jobs. Despite the intensity of land use, the region also has large recreational areas and green spaces.

The Helsinki metropolitan area is the world's northernmost urban area among those with a population of over one million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state. Altogether 1.3 million people, approximately one in four Finns, live in the Greater Helsinki area.

Climate

Helsinki has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb). Owing to the mitigating influence of the Baltic Sea and Gulf Stream, temperatures in winter are much higher than the far northern location might suggest, with the average in January and February around −5 °C (23 °F).[18] Temperatures below −20 °C (−4 °F) occur normally a week or two in a year. However, because of the latitude, days last less than six hours around the winter solstice with very low sun rays, and the very cloudy weather at this time of year accentuates the darkness. Conversely, Helsinki enjoys long days in summer, close to nineteen hours around the summer solstice.[19] The average maximum temperature from June to August is around 19 to 23 °C (66 to 73 °F). Due to the marine effect, especially in the summer daily temperatures are cooler and night temperatures are higher than further away in the mainland. The highest temperature ever recorded in the city centre was 33.1 °C (91.6 °F) on 18 July 1945 and the lowest was −34.3 °C (−30 °F) on 10 January 1987.[20] Helsinki Airport recorded a temperature of 34.0 °C (93.2 °F) on 29 July 2010 and a low of −35.9 °C (−33 °F) on 9 January 1987.

Climate data for Helsinki (Kaisaniemi)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.5
(47.3)
11.8
(53.2)
17.1
(62.8)
21.9
(71.4)
29.6
(85.3)
32.0
(89.6)
33.1
(91.6)
31.2
(88.2)
26.2
(79.2)
19.4
(66.9)
11.6
(52.9)
10.0
(50)
33.1
(91.6)
Average high °C (°F) −1.3
(29.7)
−1.9
(28.6)
1.6
(34.9)
7.6
(45.7)
14.4
(57.9)
18.5
(65.3)
21.5
(70.7)
19.8
(67.6)
14.6
(58.3)
9.0
(48.2)
3.7
(38.7)
0.5
(32.9)
9.0
(48.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.9
(25)
−4.7
(23.5)
−1.3
(29.7)
3.9
(39)
10.2
(50.4)
14.6
(58.3)
17.8
(64)
16.3
(61.3)
11.5
(52.7)
6.6
(43.9)
1.6
(34.9)
−2.0
(28.4)
5.9
(42.6)
Average low °C (°F) −6.5
(20.3)
−7.4
(18.7)
−4.1
(24.6)
0.8
(33.4)
6.3
(43.3)
10.9
(51.6)
14.2
(57.6)
13.1
(55.6)
8.7
(47.7)
4.3
(39.7)
−0.6
(30.9)
−4.5
(23.9)
2.9
(37.2)
Record low °C (°F) −34.3
(−29.7)
−31.5
(−24.7)
−24.5
(−12.1)
−16.3
(2.7)
−4.8
(23.4)
0.7
(33.3)
5.4
(41.7)
2.8
(37)
−4.5
(23.9)
−11.6
(11.1)
−18.6
(−1.5)
−29.5
(−21.1)
−34.3
(−29.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 52
(2.05)
36
(1.42)
38
(1.5)
32
(1.26)
37
(1.46)
57
(2.24)
63
(2.48)
80
(3.15)
56
(2.2)
76
(2.99)
70
(2.76)
58
(2.28)
655
(25.79)
Snowfall cm (inches) 20
(7.9)
24
(9.4)
15
(5.9)
0.4
(0.16)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
3
(1.2)
10
(3.9)
72
(28.3)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 38 70 138 194 284 297 291 238 150 93 36 29 1,858
Source: Climatological statistics for the normal period 1981–2010 [20]
Climate data for Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (Helsinki Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.2
(46.8)
10.0
(50)
17.5
(63.5)
23.6
(74.5)
28.8
(83.8)
31.4
(88.5)
34.0
(93.2)
31.5
(88.7)
25.3
(77.5)
18.2
(64.8)
10.5
(50.9)
9.6
(49.3)
34.0
(93.2)
Average high °C (°F) −2.4
(27.7)
−2.7
(27.1)
1.5
(34.7)
8.7
(47.7)
15.8
(60.4)
19.6
(67.3)
22.5
(72.5)
20.5
(68.9)
14.8
(58.6)
8.6
(47.5)
2.6
(36.7)
−0.7
(30.7)
9.1
(48.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.0
(23)
−5.7
(21.7)
−1.9
(28.6)
4.1
(39.4)
10.4
(50.7)
14.6
(58.3)
17.7
(63.9)
15.8
(60.4)
10.7
(51.3)
5.6
(42.1)
0.4
(32.7)
−3.2
(26.2)
5.3
(41.5)
Average low °C (°F) −8.1
(17.4)
−8.9
(16)
−5.4
(22.3)
−0.2
(31.6)
4.8
(40.6)
9.5
(49.1)
12.6
(54.7)
11.3
(52.3)
6.9
(44.4)
2.7
(36.9)
−2.1
(28.2)
−6.0
(21.2)
1.4
(34.5)
Record low °C (°F) −35.9
(−32.6)
−30.2
(−22.4)
−27.2
(−17)
−12.1
(10.2)
−5.4
(22.3)
−0.5
(31.1)
4.0
(39.2)
2.0
(35.6)
−7.3
(18.9)
−14.5
(5.9)
−19.9
(−3.8)
−29.5
(−21.1)
−35.9
(−32.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 54
(2.13)
37
(1.46)
37
(1.46)
32
(1.26)
39
(1.54)
61
(2.4)
66
(2.6)
79
(3.11)
64
(2.52)
82
(3.23)
73
(2.87)
58
(2.28)
682
(26.86)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 38 74 131 196 275 266 291 219 143 84 37 26 1,780
Source: Climatological statistics for the normal period 1981–2010 [20] Sun and record temperatures 1981-2011 only

Cityscape




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 epithet, The 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.

Helsinki also features several buildings by the world-renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976), recognized as one of the pioneers of architectural functionalism. However, some of his works, such as the headquarters of the paper company Stora Enso and the concert venue, Finlandia Hall, have been subject to divided opinions from the citizens.[21][22][23]

Renowned functionalist buildings in Helsinki by other architects include the Olympic Stadium, the Tennis Palace, the Rowing Stadium, the Swimming Stadium, the Velodrome, the Glass Palace, the Exhibition Hall (now Töölö Sports Hall) and Helsinki-Malmi Airport. The sports venues were built to serve the 1940 Helsinki Olympic Games; the games were initially cancelled due to the Second World War, but the venues eventually got to fulfill their purpose in the 1952 Olympic Games. Many of them are listed by DoCoMoMo as significant examples of modern architecture. The Olympic Stadium and Helsinki-Malmi Airport are in addition catalogued by the National Board of Antiquities as cultural-historical environments of national significance.

As a historical footnote, Helsinki's neoclassical buildings were often used as a backdrop for scenes set to take place in the Soviet Union in many Cold War era Hollywood movies, when filming in the USSR was not possible. Some of the more notable ones are The Kremlin Letter (1970), Reds (1981) and Gorky Park (1983). Because some streetscapes were reminiscent of Leningrad's and Moscow's old buildings, they too were used in movie productions—much to some residents' dismay. At the same time the government secretly instructed Finnish officials not to extend assistance to such film projects.[24]

Gulf of Finland.
A panoramic view of Helsinki Central Railway Station and its surroundings
A panoramic view of Kamppi Central and its surroundings