Vanhankaupunginkoski and Viikki


For myself, the central point of Viikki is the university campus with its international atmosphere. What makes Viikki special is a feeling reminiscent of the countryside and the bird paradise of the Vanhankaupunginlahti bay. Viikki has become a home and working place for a community of people who are interested in environmentalism, equality and tolerance.

Annina Mattila
butterfly researcher and doctorate student at the University of Helsinki

The rapids found at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki carried the name Helsinge fors ('Rapids of Helsinge') when a city was established there in 1550. The name of the city became Helsingfors in Swedish, which locals then turned into  Helsing or Helsinge. The city was founded by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden and started to slowly extend around the rapids until Per Brahe the Younger had its centre relocated to the current location on the Vironniemi peninsula due to floods. 

Vanhankaupunginkoski is a significant location not only in cultural history but as well as an environmental haven. The rapids are 200 metres wide over a 6-metre drop in altitude. It is particularly popular among fly and lure fishers. Part of the rapids has a fishway and another part is protected. 

The rapids lead into the sea via two channels. The island of Kuninkaankartanonsaari is situated between these. Today it is home to the Museum of Technology. The museum building used to belong to the city waterworks. The complex in its present form also has an events centre and a restaurant. 

Viikki spreads out on the eastern side of the rapids. The district has been carefully developed following ecological guidelines and with an eye to promoting academic research in the area. Eko-Viikki is a modern residential neighbourhood organised along principles of sustainable development and it doubles as a campus of the University of Helsinki. Top notch biological research is conducted here. The Viikki Research Farm has large field areas where visitors from near and far pass by to admire the grazing cows. 

The Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve is Helsinki's biggest and offers prime opportunities for birdwatching as one of the city's most significant nesting and migration areas for birds. The arboretum of Viikki measures around 20 hectares with about 250 distinct tree and bush species. 

Viikki's newest residential zones are Latokartano and Viikinmäki

A future railway connection called Raide-Jokeri will connect the district to the eastern and western districts of the city. In spite of construction efforts, Viikki is set to hold on to its core: a natural paradise open to all in the spot where the story of the city began. 

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Vanhankaupunginkoski and Viikki are significant locations not only in cultural history but as well as an environmental haven. They form a natural paradise open to all in the spot where the story of the city began.