The capital of Finland is a green and pleasant city located on a peninsula to the south of the country. Especially in the summer, Helsinki is idyllic and charming. In winter, Helsinki, like the rest of the Nordic countries, is dark, cold and with fewer tourists.
Helsinki is a lively city, without being hectic, and has plenty of attractions to offer, not least for the little ones. And it is a clean and little polluted city, without the traffic chaos and noise that most major capitals struggle with.
Helsinki is a good starting point for exploring the rest of Finland, and it is not far to the lakes and Nuuksio National Park. A short ferry trip to Tallinn, which is the capital of Estonia. St. Petersburg in Russia is also within easy reach.
Many people in Norway tend to pronounce the name incorrectly, with pressure on other syllables. But pressure should be put on HELsinki. Helsinki is also often called Helsinki, not least if you are from Sweden.
Get to know Helsinki
Helsinki is a fairly new city on a European scale, although the city has been the capital of Finland for more than 200 years. The city was founded by the Swedish king Gustav Vasa in 1550 as a trading post to compete with Tallinn on the other side of the Gulf of Finland.
Formerly Turku, or Turku which is the Swedish name, was Finland’s foremost city where the governing powers and the university were located. But after Russia beat Sweden in the Finnish war in 1808-09 and annexed Finland, the capital was moved to Helsinki. This happened in 1812. You can still see the legacy from the era of Russian rule in the center of Helsinki, where Upenski Cathedral with its loop domes is a landmark in the cityscape.
Finland became independent in 1918, but was in new military meetings with the Soviet Union during the Winter War that lasted 1939-40. The Soviet forces had expected to take control of Finland within a few weeks of the November invasion, but were kept in check by fierce opposition from the numerous Finnish forces.
Today, Helsinki is Finland’s supremely largest city with just over 560000 inhabitants. Although the vast majority are Finnish-speaking, many also speak Swedish, and almost all speak English. Most street names in Helsinki have both a Finnish and a Swedish name.
- Abbreviation: HEL
- Country: Finland
Forget old prejudices about Finland and Helsinki
Before traveling to Finland, consider all the old TV theater prejudices about stereotypical silent finds by the name of Pekka as super vodka in the sauna and fight with a knife. Today Finland and Helsinki are at least as modern and technological as Norway. In the capital a number of architectural gems have emerged in the last half century, primarily the Contemporary Art Museum and the Concert Hall.
The center of Helsinki is not very big and it is not a problem to catch most of the attractions on foot. Public transport is well developed and precise, and Helsinki is the only Finnish city to have subways and tram lines in addition to the buses.
The historic center is located on a peninsula on the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki’s heart is Senate Square, and from here the parallel shopping streets Alexandersgatan and Esplanadis lead over to what can be called the city’s main street, Mannerheimgatan. Here are the largest department stores, the bus station and the railway station.
Facts about Helsinki
Helsinki is a port city, Finland’s largest city and the country’s capital. Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1812. In Swedish, Helsinki is called Helsinki. The location is in the south of Finland, in what is called “the Gulf of Finland”.
|Population||Approximately 570,000 inhabitants|
|Official languages||Finnish and Swedish.|
|Time Difference||Finland is one hour ahead of Norway.|
|Currency||Euro. Most credit cards (Visa, Mastercard Diners, AmEx) are accepted in most places. ATMs are available almost everywhere.|
|Tips||Service is included in hotels and restaurants. Tips are not necessary.|
|Embassy||The Norwegian embassy is located at Rehbindervägen 17, phone +358 (0) 9 686 0180.|
|Electricity||220 volts, the same two-pin contact system as in Norway.|
|Holidays and Holidays||January 6, April 30, May 1, Juhannus (third weekend in June), November 1, December 6 (Independence Day)|
|Visa||Not required for Norwegian citizens.|
|Vaccinations||No vaccines are required.|
|Water||Can be easily drunk from the tap.|
|Nearest major cities||Espoo, Turku, Tampere, Lahti.|
|Safety||Slightly violent crime, but beware of pickpockets and scammers.|
List of Helsinki Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Helsinki is HEL which stands for Helsinki. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Helsinki, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.