Helsinki’s Talking Statues

Statues and sculptures abound throughout Helsinki, and these statues tell interesting stories that are often lost on passersby. Now, Helsinki has developed an innovative way of telling you the stories behind each statue – by letting the statue do the talking! Currently there are fifteen statues which have this feature. When you visit the statue […]

Lapinlahti Mental Hospital and Park – Hidden History in Helsinki

The Lapinlahti former psychiatric hospital stands poised on the edge of Lapinlahti Bay, a naturally beautiful site noted for its richness in biodiversity.  Much like the rare butterfly (Depressaria Chaerophylli) that can be found in the area, its future is uncertain, but its history certainly deserves preservation. The Lapinlahti estate is comprised of several structures, […]

From Rococo to Realism

Profane art (or secular art) had its hesitant origin in Finland in the 18th century Isak Wacklin’s rococo portraits and in Nils Schillmark’s paintings, which employed the Neoclassical idiom. Elias Martin’s landscape paintings documenting the fortification of Viapori represent a unique curiosity from the same period. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Finnish artists absorbed influences from the […]

National Fervour and Symbolism in Finnish Art

The influence of plein-air painting The plein-air method drove Finnish artists out into the midst of the peasantry and into the natural landscape. Artists, who usually had an upper-class background, began to make excursions into the “original Finland” that was supposed to lie in the forest wilderness of Karelia. Romanticism Landscape painting and realistic depictions […]

The yellow city is born

In 1808, Russia invaded Finland. One year later Finland was ceded to Russia, and Helsinki was destroyed by a huge fire. More importantly, in 1812, Czar Alexander I declared Helsinki the new capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. All this paved the way for a new town plan drawn up by Johan Albrecht Ehrenström. […]

Helsinki – A growing city

Finland suffered great hardship during the World War II, and the post-war reconstruction effort was not completed until the 1950s. With the burgeoning growth of the city in the 1950s and 1960s, the focus of new building shifted to the suburbs. Tapiola Garden City was built among pristine forests and meadows in Espoo, west of […]

Nouveau ideas – boldly modernist architecture

Nouveau ideas Helsinki’s architecture offers many examples of turn of the century Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) and the classicism that followed. These styles can be studied in numerous public buildings. The National Museum, the National Theatre, and Eliel Saarinen’s Central Railway Station are some of the landmarks of this period. Of the original interiors that still […]

Towards metropolitanism

The hectic construction that took place in the closing decades of the nineteenth century is evident nearly everywhere in central Helsinki. Four- and five-storey commercial buildings and residential blocks were erected on Pohjoisesplanadi, Bulevardi, and Erottaja, designed in a style that emulated the architecture of Vienna and Berlin. The so-called period of Eclecticism produced many […]

It started as a modest town

Finland was part of the Swedish empire until the early nineteenth century. Helsinki was founded in 1550 by King Gustavus I Wasa at the mouth of the River Vanda, to compete with the Hanseatic port of Tallinn across the Baltic, and to boost trade with Russia. In 1640, the town was shifted close to the […]

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