Helsinki, Finland – The White City Of The North

Finland Is One Of The Richest Countries In The World

Paasitorni by the sea
 
Article by Kathleen Peddicord

“We are not Swedes, and we do not want to be Russians. Let us be Finns.”

We heard that refrain again and again while traveling in Helsinki. Finns are proud folks and independent. Originally, they were part of Sweden. Then in a bold 13th-century land grab, Russia took the easternmost region of the country known as Karelia for their own and that little arc of land has been fiercely fought over ever since.

For centuries Karelia has been a battlefield between East and West, trading hands again and again and at one point being renamed the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire. The history of the population of Karelia is among the most tumultuous in Europe, and Finns today speak openly of their continued hope of reclaiming the whole of Karelia someday.

Meantime, they carry on working hard to continue the evolution of their capital city. Helsinki is a young town for this part of the world. It dates to the 16th century but became what you see today in the 1800s, when Russia named it the capital of its newly formed grand duchy.

It’s not those 19th-century government buildings, though, that Helsinki is becoming increasingly recognized for but the city’s commitment to all things cultural. As one guide put it, “Helsinki is the Scandinavian capital that went to art school.”

The city boasts a great density of theaters and museums per capita. It’s clean and green, modern and eclectic, open-minded and forward-thinking, quirky and fun-loving.

Finland is one of the richest countries in the world but struggling still to recover in the wake of Nokia’s fall to Apple. Nokia was 10% of the country’s tax income. In this land where tax cash supports and subsidizes everything and everyone, that loss has been keenly felt.

Senate Square with its art-nouveau structures is pleasant and should be on every grand tourist’s list, but my favorite part of Helsinki was its waterfront, where many of the country’s tax dollars have been invested to great effect.

We took advantage of the uncommonly warm sun during our visit and dined harborside in the open air. I recommend the moose meatballs and reindeer burgers.

Between Tallinn, which I told you about yesterday, and Helsinki, we visited St. Petersburg.

When Lief and I planned this summer’s Grand Tour itinerary, St. Petersburg was the city I was most excited to see. In the end, that leg of our trip disappointed.



Conceived and built to compete with the capital cities of Western Europe, St. Petersburg has all the requisite pieces of a great city but none of the heart. The churches, palaces, and monuments are big but often gaudy, generally worse for wear, and somehow soulless.

Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki, and our final port of call Stockholm, though, cities with complicated histories working hard to make places for themselves on the modern global stage, all captured our imaginations, often for unexpected reasons.

Stockholm, for example, was founded as one of the world’s first tax havens.

More tomorrow

Kathleen Peddicord     Live and Invest Overseas

[Photo Credits-Featured Image: inserted by Openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]
[Photo Credits-Intext Photos: By ©George Stewart (Own Work) Openeyesopinion.com]

###


Worldwide Hotel Accommodations Hotels.com

Check out the Top Ten reasons why people buy Travel Insurance and see if it is right for you.

Visiting Las Vegas?… Look at this website first



Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 openeyesopinion.com
Share This Post
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit1Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on LinkedIn0Digg thisShare on Yummly0Share on Tumblr0Buffer this pagePrint this pageEmail this to someone





Related News

  • Europe – Some Countries Have Set Travel Alerts For Catalonia
  • ‘Mastercard Cities Index’ – Dubai Is The Fourth Most Popular City In The World
  • Indonesia Prepares To Divert Tourists Due To Threat Of Volcano Eruption
  • Flight Cancelled? Stuck In The Airport? Why Not Dance The Night Away?
  • Belize “Mother Nature’s Best-Kept Secret”
  • Ryanair Swamped With Disgruntled Passengers Over Massive Flight Cancellations
  • Japan’s Niigata Festival
  • Thailand To Kick-Off The ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’
  • France – Mayor Anne Hidalgo Wants To Make Paris The World’s Most Bikeable City
  • Social Media Platform Exposes Passenger Bad Flight Behavior
  • Kodiak – Alaska’s Emerald Isle
  • Tens Of Thousands Of People Will Visit Black Rock Desert, Nevada, To Attend The “Burning Man Festival”
  • Stockholm, Sweden – The Venice Of Northern Europe
  • 21 Facts About The U.S Transportation Security Administration
  • World Tourism Organization Launches Travel-Enjoy-Respect Campaign