Why every Helsinki lover needs The Helsinki Book


One thing is for sure: when visiting or moving to a new city in a foreign country, we all want to make the most of our stay. So, you pore over city handbooks, travel guides, and anything else you can get your hands on for a glimpse of your new city/country. However, while many travel guides and handbooks promise you a good time during your stay, most of them are either too touristy for my taste or simply lacking that interesting factor that keeps me glued.

But hey, that’s just me.

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Never mind the hipsters: The complete guide to Kallio, Helsinki’s coolest district

Kallio Block Party in 2013

Kallio Block Party in 2013. Photo by Kallu.

Oh, Kallio, where would Finland be without you?

By Kallio, we refer to a wider district in Helsinki, the name of which literally translates to “rock” or “hill”.  It’s also a place you might want to experience.

This hilly area on the northeastern outskirts of Helsinki’s urban core has a mystique and romanticism to it: tales of brawls, wild student life and for outsiders, the obvious subject for tired weed jokes. Kallio is an extremely dense urban neighborhood by Nordic standards, explained in part by its cramped apartments, which where typical for working class settings in Finland even after WWII.

Finland, which is mostly suburban sprawl, is lucky to have a dense and culturally rich place like Kallio. These days, the district has an almost obnoxious, hipsterish role to play in defining trends and culture for a Finland that tends to cling to cartoonish versions of its agrarian past.

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A love letter to the city: Beautiful new guidebook shows Helsinki through the eyes of its residents

Helsinki people make the city

The pioneering town planner, Patrick Geddes once said, “A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time”. If this is indeed the case, then what better way to get to know a city than to follow the stories of its inhabitants? It’s this idea that’s behind a beautiful new Helsinki guidebook, Helsinki – People Make the City, by New Zealand writer Melanie Dower and Helsinki native, photographer and Creating Helsinki Editor, Laura Iisalo.

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