Unbelievable but true: 15 facts about Helsinki

Helsinki is full of surprises

From its numerous islands and vast underground bunker system, to its light festivals and pizza taxis, there is always something unexpected happening in Helsinki. Here are 15 strange but true facts about this quirky city.

  1. There are over 300 islands within the city limits of Helsinki.
  2. The city has an official "Helsinki Day," which is celebrated on June 12th each year.
  3. Helsinki has a dog island where dogs are allowed to roam off-leash, as long as they are well-behaved.
  4. The city has a population of 650 000, with 1.5 million people in the metropolitan area. However, these are spread out over 715 square kilometres, making it one of the least densely populated urban areas in Europe.
  5. Despite being the Northern most capital city in the mainland Europe, it has more rainy days than snowy days, averaging 121 days of rain a year.
  6. Helsinki has the largest number of art nouveau buildings in Europe, with over 600 buildings in the city designed in this style.
  7. Helsinki has a "Pizza Taxi," which is a taxi service that delivers pizzas to customers.
  8. Helsinki has a restaurant called "Restaurant Day," which is a food festival that takes place four times a year. During this event, anyone can set up a temporary restaurant for one day and serve whatever food they like.
  9. There are 500 underground bunkers in the capital built to protect the population from war or nuclear disaster. The bunkers are connected by a vast network of underground tunnels stretching 200 miles and have enough space and beds to hold all of Helsinki's 650,000 residents.
  10. Helsinki is home to a church built entirely inside a giant rock. Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church in the Töölö neighbourhood of the city.
  11. Helsinki's tram system has been in operation with electric drive continuously since 1900. There are 13 routes that cover the inner part of the city.
  12. While Helsinki locals will still refer to the city by its given name, it also has the more common nickname of Stadi. This Helsinki slang is derived from Swedish word for ‘city’.
  13. Helsinki is known as the ‘White City’. That’s not a result of the climate but a result of the striking buildings and architecture here. Many of Helsinki’s buildings are made from white granite.
  14. Helsinki is also known as the Daughter of the Baltic Sea.
  15. The 120 kilometer long Päijänne Water Tunnel, the second-longest tunnel in the world, running at a depth of 30–100 meters supplies Helsinki with fresh water.
  16. Helsinki Cathedral and Helsinki's Orthodox Cathedral, Uspenski Cathedral, were both built at the same time between 1830 and 1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.

These are just a few of the unique and interesting aspects of Helsinki that make it a truly one of-a-kind city. Whether you're a local or a visitor, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Helsinki.

1 comment

  • This is so fascinating to learn about! Wish my father or grandparents taught us about our heritage when we were young. They only spoke Finn when they didn’t want us to know something. My husband’s parents stopped talking it when he was 5 years old so he could learn English for school.

    Phyllis Kleimola

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