Facts about Helsinki

Helsinki’s fascinating past

  • Sweden’s King Gustav Vasa founded Helsinki at the mouth of the Vantaa River in 1550 to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea trade: the centre of Helsinki was moved to its current location in the mid-17th century.
  • In 1748, construction of the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress began off the coast of Helsinki to counter the growing threat from Russia.
  • Sweden eventually ceded Finland to Russia in 1809.
  • In 1812 the status of Helsinki was raised to that of capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. A monumental city plan was drawn up in the Empire style to reflect the power of Russia and the Tsar.
  • Finland gained its independence in 1917, with Helsinki as the capital of the young republic.
  • Recovering from the hardships of war, Helsinki was awarded the Summer Olympics of 1952.

Helsinki today

  • Today Helsinki is a rapidly developing international metropolis that has managed to maintain a human touch throughout the centuries.
  • Helsinki is known as a city of well-organized conventions, conferences and important summit meetings.
  • Finland became an EU member in 1995.
  • Helsinki was one of the nine European Cities of Culture in 2000.
  • Helsinki was the World Design Capital 2012.

Basic Facts

Total area, km²: 715.6
Shoreline, km:   123
Islands               315

Helsinki City: 588 549
Helsinki Region: 13 03 485
Finnish-speaking, %: 83.9
Swedish-speaking, %: 6.1
Other languages, %: 10.9


  • Evangelical Lutheran: 62.1
  • Orthodox: 1.6
  • Other: 2.3
  • No religious denomination: 34


  • Hotels: 53
  • Hotel rooms: 8 300
  • Restaurants: 1 254
  • Hotels,restaurants & equivalent : 2 230
  • Museums: 72
  • Cinemas: 34

Recomended Sights by Green North


Euro (€) since 2002.

Drinking Water

Tap water in Finland is perfectly safe
for drinking.

Local Time

Finland is in the Eastern European Time Zone:
GMT +2 hours


Tips are welcome when you are very satisfied with the service given or you have received exceptionally good service, but they are not obligatory. 

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