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What is the capital of Finland? The Finnish capital of Helsinki

What is the capital of Finland? The Finnish capital is Helsinki, but not as many people are aware of this fact as you might think. Unless you’ve been asked to name the capital city of Finland in your last trivia quiz, you might not know much about the Nordic country, or its incredible capital city.

When Helsinki became the capital of Finland, its population rose sharply, and today, it’s one of the most attractive places to visit when you’re exploring the hidden regions of the Nordic landscape.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about Finland and the things that make its capital so special, you’re in the right place. Here’s your guide to everything you need to know about Helsinki.

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What’s the capital of Finland?

As mentioned above, the capital of Finland is Helsinki, otherwise known as Helsingfors in Swedish, or the “white city of the North”, if you’re feeling poetic.

This region isn’t just the “white city” because of its snowy landscape, Finland also constructs a lot of its buildings from white granite.

Originally founded in 1550, King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden was responsible for discovering Helsinki. The region was intended to compete with Tallinn in Estonia, which now lies on the southern shore of Finland.

Helsinki used to be located in a slightly different position to where it is now. First, it was located just at the mouth of the Vantaa river.

Today, the city of Helsinki is around 3 miles south of that location, as it was moved to provide more access to the sea. The town has been through some tough experiences, including a plague in 1710, and a massive fire in 1713.

Redeveloping Helsinki also fell behind schedule to Russian attacks in the 18th century.

Russia burned Helsinki to the ground for a second time when invading in 1808, but when the country ceded to Russia in 1809, it finally began to rebuild.

The German architect Carl Ludwig Engel designed a variety of buildings in the Neoclassical style to bring new life to Helsinki.

When Helsinki rose as the Finnish capital, the population increased rapidly from around 4,000 in 1810, to about 60,000 in 1890. In December 1917, Finland declared independence from Russia, and a civil war ensued.

Finnish capital fact file

Finland is a Northern European sovereign state, bordered by the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia, as well as Sweden, Russia, and Norway. Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, but this wasn’t always the case.

What was the capital of Finland before Helsinki?

The Russian Emperor Alexander the first switched the capital of Finland from Turku to Helsinki in 1812. The aim of this change was to reduce the influence that Sweden had in Finland.

  • Size: About 213.8 km squared
  • Population: 631,695 as of 2016
  • Time zone: Eastern European Standard time
  • Climate: Continental
  • Currency: Euro

Helsinki is a valuable and thriving city thanks to an excellent selection of harbours, as well as good road and railway connections to the whole of Finland.

More than half of the imports issued by Finland each day pass through Helsinki, although the national experts rarely pass through the capital, because these ports are usually dotted along the Finnish coasts.

Today, Helsinki stands out as the fourth largest area (metropolitan) found in the Nordic landscape. The Finnish capital is a significant cultural, political, education, and economic hotspot.

Additionally, around 75% of the companies that foreign groups invest in are located in Helsinki.

Helsinki is a rich cultural melting pot, with Finnish and Swedish as the two primary languages. The location has various ballet and opera companies to check out, as well as annual festivals that are definitely worth checking out if you’re in the Scandinavian region.

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What is Finland’s capital like today?

Colorful, minimalist, and clean, the Finnish capital is a wonderful place to visit, and an intriguing area to build a life in. The capital is surprisingly peaceful compared to other capital cities, with about a third of the area dedicated completely to green spaces.

The “urban” areas are also beautiful thanks to some stunning gothic architecture.

Helsinki is an impressive place with a lot of cultural landmarks, including a city theatre created by Timo Penttila. The city of Helsinki is also home to a Stadium originally built for the Olympic Games in 1952.

Regardless of where your journey through Helsinki might tell you, you’re sure to fall in love with the capital of Finland.

Whether you’re wandering through Old Town to soak up some history or heritage or taking one of the many boats to visit a neighbouring island, there’s something for everyone.

As the only designated UNESCO city of design with its own Chief Design Officer,  Helsinki is best explored on foot.

The more time you spend in the streets, the more you’ll discover. You can even check out the Design District, which is packed full of fashion houses and unique stores.

There’s the Marimekko design house, selling brightly colored clothing, and the Museum of Finnish architecture if you want to catch up on building design history.

Although the Capital of Finland is reasonably easy to explore on foot, we’d definitely recommend dedicating a few days of exploration to the journey. You’ll spend plenty of time marvelling at buildings like Senate Square, and the Helsinki Central Library.

Plus, you may encounter some hidden gems on your journey too — particularly if you talk to the locals.

What is the Finnish capital known for? Fun facts

Helsinki is the biggest city in Finland, with a massive population that continues to grow. It’s the centre of the Finnish landscape for education, culture, science, and business. You can even explore six science and technology parks, alongside 8 universities in Helsinki.

Around 70% of the foreign enterprises that set up shop in Finland end up in Helsinki.

Here are some fun facts you should definitely know about the Finnish capital:

  • Dog swimming pools: Finland opened its official dog swimming pool in Helsinki intended for both professional and beginner swimmers. The service was so popular that tickets sold out almost immediately, before the opening ceremony even launched.
  • A growing population: Helsinki grows its population by around 5 to 8 thousand people every year, but it remains to be one of the smallest cities in Europe.
  • The freshest tap water: Helsinki’s tap water actually trickles down from the mountain springs in Finland. The water technically comes from Päijännetunneli, which is the largest water tunnel in the world so far. The quality of this water is so good that it gets exported to other parts of the world frequently too.
  • In winter there’s no snow on the sidewalks: Though Helsinki can get pretty cold in the winter months, the snows and sidewalks don’t get icy. The government heats the slabs from underground to ensure there’s less chances of you slipping and falling.
  • Helsinki is full of islands: Helsinki is on the northern shore of the Finnish gulf, and it’s made up of around 300 islands in total. There’s a ton of water transport available, and thousands of places where you can leave your boat too.
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Discover the capital of Finland

The capital of Finland is definitely worth your time and attention if you ever decide to take a trip to the Nordic region. Although Helsinki is the world’s coldest capital, don’t let that stop you from taking any opportunity you have to go and explore.

The incredible region is packed full of things to do and see, with an incredible heritage and culture.

If you’re thinking of seeing what Finland has to offer, it makes sense to start with Helsinki, the most eye-catching part of the whole country for many people.

However, don’t forget that there’s always an opportunity to explore the surrounding regions of Finland on a day trip or two too.

There are tons of incredible destinations to check out in the Scandinavian landscape, no matter where you visit.

Our top tip for visiting Helsinki? Make sure you have plenty of battery charge on your phone for snapping photos as you explore.

Additionally, it makes sense to wrap up warm, particularly if you’re planning on checking out the city on foot.

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