Helsinki, Finland


Etymology of the name Helsinki

According to oral tradition recorded in the 17th century, the early settlers in the modern Helsinki area came in the middle of the 13th century from the province of Hälsingland in central Sweden. The Vantaa River was accordingly known locally as Helsingå (‘Helsinge River’), and the parish founded in the 14th century was called the Helsinge Parish.

When the plans to found a town in the vicinity of the modern district of Koskela or Forsby (“village of the rapids”) started to materialise in 1548, the new town-to-be began to be called Helsinge fors, ‘the Helsinge rapids’. This name then evolved into Helsingfors, which is today the name of the city in Swedish. The ordinary people called the place Helsinge or Helsing, which evolved into the current Finnish name Helsinki.

The name Helsinki has been used in Finnish official documents and in Finnish language newspapers since 1819, when the Senate of Finland moved to the town and the decrees issued there were dated with Helsinki as the place of issue. This is how the form Helsinki came to be used in the Finnish literary language.

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Helsinki walking tour map

A pictures of Helsenki photo gallery shoted August, 20, 2014.