The city of Helsinki was founded in 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden and has been the capital of Finland since 1812. The city with its architecture and culture has been influenced by both the east and the west.
More than one-fifth of the country's population lives in the Helsinki area. The nature as well as the Baltic Sea is present even in the city centre. A great way to enjoy the sea and Finland's magnificent archipelago is to take a cruise from Helsinki to the Baltic Sea.
Top sights in Helsinki
A Unesco World Heritage Site, Suomenlinna sea fortress is one of the most popular attractions in Finland.
The Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive example of Neoclassical architecture. Helsinki Cathedral is arguably Finland's most famous and photographed building.
Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio church is one of the main attractions in Helsinki.
Oodi is Helsinki's new Central Library and a living meeting place in the city centre on the Kansalaistori Square, near the conference venue.
The Amos Rex museum's exhibition programme extends from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures.
See for example the city of Helsinki website for a longer list about possible sights in Helsinki.
Finland, a member of the European Union since 1995, has about 5.5 million inhabitants. The capital of the country is Helsinki. Two thirds of the surface area is covered by forest and there are nearly 200,000 lakes in Finland. The coastal archipelago with its labyrinthic waterways is unique. Finland has 35 wild and beautiful national parks covering 8170 square kilometres.
Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is the language of the majority, while roughly 5,3% of the population speaks Swedish as their main language. English is usually well spoken in Finland.
Helsinki's climate combines characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate. The proximity of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic creates cold weather, while the Gulf Stream brings in warmer air.
On February 20, the temperature in Helsinki typically ranges from -6°C to -3°C, the Sun rises at 7:46 AM and sets 9 hours, 37 minutes later, at 5:22 PM. Solar noon is at 12:34 PM.
For reference, on June 21, the longest day of the year, the Sun rises at 3:53 AM and sets 18 hours, 56 minutes later, at 10:50 PM
For the latest weather forecast, see for example website http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The time zone in Finland is Eastern European Time (EET), 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), GMT+3 during summer time.
The currency in Finland is the Euro (EUR/€), divided in 100 cents. Please check the current exchange rates.
Foreign currency and travellers' cheques can be exchanged in exchange offices located for example at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, Helsinki Railway Station as well as in the centre of Helsinki. Banks are usually open on weekdays 10am-4:30pm.
For an ATM machine, look for the sign OTTO. These 24-hour cashpoint machines are widely available and accept the following international ATM and credit cards: Visa, Visa Electron, EuroCard, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and EC.
In addition to banks, there are several foreign currency exchange points available around the city centre. See for example:
- Forex: Stockmann Department Store or Central Railway Station
- Tavex: Fabianinkatu 12
Voltage: 220-240 Volts. Electrical sockets (outlets) in Finland are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: Type C (Europlug) and Type E/F (Schuko).