Everyday life in the capital: 19th century Helsinki, in pics

Helsinki experienced massive growth after it became Finland’s capital in 1812. As the new economic and cultural center, its population exploded, architecture grew quickly, and technology flourished. But what did it look like? Let’s take a stroll through 19th century Helsinki, courtesy of the Helsinki City Museum’s vast database of photos from the late 1800s.

 

 

Market Square and Market Hall, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

Kiosk in Esplanadi, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Helsinki’s first public transportation, the omnibus, 1889. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A pair of cyclists, circa 1880. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Unveiling the memorial of J.L. Runeberg, Finland’s national poet, in Esplanade Park, 1885. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Hjertzell Fritz

 

Fish market at the Market Square, 1885. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

 

Rowing in Kaivopuisto, circa 1870. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Group photo at a school for Swedish-speaking girls, 1886. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Nyblin Daniel

 

Sitting outdoors, 1888. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Rosenbröijer A. E.

 

Studio photo of the Gebhard family at the coffee table, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A diver at the old town waterworks construction site, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Family ski day, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Members of the amateur photography club, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

 

G.W. Sohlberg workers on the roof of the factory, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A walk by the sea on Seurasaari, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Studio photo of a woman dressed as a sailor, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Vappu celebration at Kaisaniemi, 1892. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Wasastjerna Nils

 

Polytechnic Institute (later Helsinki University of Technology) Mechanical Engineering students playing cards, 1893. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Market Square, 1895. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

Father and son sitting on a bench in Kaivopuisto, 1897. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Father and daughter sitting in Kaivopuisto, 1897. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Russian ice cream salesman in front of Ateneum, 1898. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

 

A much less crowded Aleksanterinkatu, 1899. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

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