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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Is Helsinki on Your Bucket List? Maybe It Should Be!

Visit Helsinki! Summer in Finland is warm, bright and exhilarating. Most importantly, the air is fresh, clean, and pure and invigorating at all times of the year. 



Helsinki doesn’t often appear on travelers’ bucket lists. Even those who dream of exploring Scandinavia usually defer to Norway’s fjords or Sweden’s cities, but Finland’s capital is a destination in itself — and one that’s on the rise.

What is the condensed history of this great European Capital?

Sweden’s King Gustavus Vasa founded Helsinki on the mouth of Vantaanjoki River in 1550 to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea trade. The town grew slowly however, and the center of Helsinki was moved to its current location in the 1600s.

In 1748 Sweden began construction of the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress off the coast of Helsinki to counter the growing threat from Russia. The massive project brought additional wealth, inhabitants and merchants to the town.

Russia conquered Finland in 1809. The status of Helsinki was raised to capital of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland three years later. A monumental Empire-style city plan was drawn up to reflect the power of Russia and the Tsar.

Finland became independent in 1917, and Helsinki assumed the demanding new role of capital of the young republic. City planning was characterized by Classicism and Functionalism.

During World War II, Finland was in many ways a unique case: It was the only European country bordering the Soviet Union in 1939 which was still unoccupied by 1945.  Of all the European countries fighting, only three European capitals were never occupied: Moscow, London and Helsinki.

Recovering from the hardships of war, Helsinki hosted the Summer Olympics in 1952. The games created an international reputation for Helsinki as an efficient and friendly host city.

With stark differences between seasons, Finns are used to contrasts. Dark Arctic winters have their counterpart in one of the most iconic of Finnish natural phenomena, the Midnight Sun.

Many wonder how Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter, and nature replies with 24 hours of it in the summer. The intense contrast in light conditions has a profound effect on all walks of life in Finland.

For understandable reasons, public spaces come to life in the summer. After the harsh winter, endless daylight never arrives a day too early. Summer in Finland is a time spent outside the house enjoying the short but sweet season, and all worries are postponed until nights get dark again.

Often considered to be Finland's only metropolis, it is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people as well as the northernmost capital of an EU member state. After Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki is the third largest city in the Nordic countries.

Helsinki is a thriving city, being named the "World's Design Capital" in 2012 and as a leader in the online gaming industry, among so much more!

Visit Helsinki! Summer in Finland is warm, bright and exhilarating. Most importantly, the air is fresh, clean, and pure and invigorating at all times of the year.

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

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