Mikko Kuustonen

Mikko Kuustonen

The most gratifying thing in Helsinki is aimless wandering.

Singer-songwriter Mikko Kuustonen grew up as the youngest of six children in a miner’s family. He moved from Leppävirta to the Helsinki metropolitan area to study in 1979. His mother had died, and Kuustonen first moved to Vantaa with his father. Already as a schoolboy, he often visited his older siblings in Helsinki.

“For me it was clear already as a child that I would move into the city.” Above all, Kuustonen loves walking in Helsinki. “I love the great café culture, terraces, parks and especially the sea, but the most gratifying thing in Helsinki is aimlessly wandering the streets.”

Kuustonen has two homes with his spouse: one in the Kamppi district near the Old Church Park and the other in Mäntyharju. “Returning to Helsinki always feels like being embraced by life. It is such an energising feeling.” Kuustonen’s occupation involves a lot of brainstorming and writing. The musician gains most of his insights by walking

One thing he has noticed is that many people who live elsewhere do not know how much they can actually experience nature in Helsinki. “One of my friends simply cannot understand why people speak about pollen allergies in Helsinki, since apparently there are no trees in Helsinki! Even though I live in Kamppi, I still wake up each morning to the sound of birdsong.”

Kuustonen has also lived in the Kruununhaka, Kallio and Töölö districts of Helsinki. “Each of those neighbourhoods has its own special atmosphere. Kallio is perhaps the homeliest place for me. It is like a lively and constantly changing village in the heart of the city.”

He also likes how the centre of Helsinki is so compact and charming. He enjoys going for walks to the quiet centre on Sundays and early mornings, around half past six. “I love Helsinki enormously. It is a sympathetic, creative and inspiring environment.”

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