Matti Rönkä


Helsinki has a size that fits – no need for something bigger.

When the author and news anchor Matti Rönkä moved to Helsinki to study in 1979, there was a festive mood in the air. "I arrived in the city wearing an army uniform, found my way to the Domus student campus from the train station, and stopped by the Anttila store in the city centre to buy some bed sheets."  Rönkä had spent his childhood in Outokumpu, Northern Karelia. His arrival in the capital from Eastern Finland kicked off a long adventure as he did not know the city before and had only ever visited shortly twice before.

Rönkä's favourite sceneries are in the northern districts of the city: Tapanila, Malmi and Puistola. Rönkä has called Tapanila home for almost three decades already. "My lifestyle has adapted to this area. I have my exercise spots and sports facilities, a library, train connections and a pleasantly informal neighbourhood feeling." 

The main character from Rönkä's crime novels, private detective Viktor Kärppä, is also a resident of Northern Helsinki. "Kärppä has an office in Hakaniemi but he lives in Tapanila. He also owns property in Tattarisuo, and an industrial space in Suutarila. My novels feel and taste of these blocks and landscapes," Rönkä shares. 

Rönkä also enjoys the many historical layers of Tapanila. Other parts of Helsinki tend to also live through layers. "The city districts have been formed in a funny way. They are rebuilt and then different types of new generations move in. Of course I could long for an old block or a stretch of street, but this is what development looks like!" 

Rönkä is not one to get excited about overflowing urbanism, or someone who wants it. "Helsinki is a city that does things in moderation – not too big and with no endless summer." 

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