By decree of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden in 1550, the city was founded at the mouth of river Vantaa. From there, the city was moved further south to its present location in 1643. Helsinki has been the capital city since 1812, three years after Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Helsinki continued as the capital after Finland gained its independence in 1917.
Today, Helsinki is the centre of the Helsinki Region,a functional urban region of about 1.4 million inhabitants and 753,800 jobs. Population Population of Helsinki is becoming more and more international every ear. Over ten percent of the population speaks as a mother tongue other language than Finnish or Swedish. Languages in Helsinki: Finnish-speaking 80.2%, Swedish-speaking 5,7% and other languages 14,0%.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a modern city with over half a million residents and is situated on the Baltic Sea. In 2012 Helsinki was the World Design Capital and celebrated its 200th anniversary as the capital of Finland. In 2014 Helsinki was awarded City of Design status as part of the Creative Cities Network established by UNESCO. Helsinki alongside its neighbouring municipalities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen form a metropolitan area of more than a million inhabitants.
Espoo is founded and is the second largest city (population: 275,522) in Finland and is located next to the capital city of Helsinki. The special feature of Espoo is an urban structure that relies on five different centres, dominated by detached houses that combine urban and rural living. Espoo is a centre of international company headquarters and high-technology businesses. Many commute daily to Espoo from the neighbouring municipalities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Espoo is a fixed part of the public transport network of the Metropolitan Area.
The city is has gained international fame as a hub of know-how, research and development, at the heart of which stands the Aalto University campus.
Large natural areas are characteristic of Espoo: seashores, the archipelago, the wilderness in nature reserves and the waterways of the lake highlands.
Kauniainen’s history begins in the year 1906, when a corporation selling villa properties primarily for inhabitants of the metropolitan area was established. Other garden suburbs sprang up in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, e.g. in Stockholm, Kauniainen’s twin municipality Danderyd was built in a similar fashion. In general, areas with conifer and pine forests were considered healthy residential environments, and Kauniainen was able to offer these features. In addition, the city had a link to the capital, Helsinki. A railway line was inaugurated for traffic in 1903.
In 1920, the suburban community became a borough. The population was 1346 inhabitants and there was a 70% Swedish-speaking majority. The borough got its Finnish name Kauniainen in 1949 by decision of the Council of State. Today Kauniainen has approximately 9300 people, of whom 59% are Finnish-speaking and 36% Swedish-speaking.