Capital celebrates 469th birthday with Helsinki Day

The festival of free events has been a staple on the calendar since the 1950s.

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Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (L) meets the 2019 Helsinki Day Baby (C) / Credit: City of Helsinki

The Finnish capital is celebrating it’s 469th birthday today, with the annual Helsinki Day celebrations which bring tens of thousands of people to events in the city.

Helsinki Day was first marked in 1959 and has grown since then to become a major festival. This year there are more than a hundred organised activities spread out across different neighbourhoods including art and music, sports and exercise, guided tours, workshops and garden partes – and all the events are free.

The day marks the anniversary of 12 June 1550, when King Gustav I of Sweden decreed that Helsinki would be Finland’s new capital, replacing Turku.

One of this traditional elements of the day is to find the Helsinki Day baby, and this morning Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) met with new mother Imane Kafi and her baby Mouad Abdelah, the first baby born in the city on 12th June. Among gifts of flowers and a quilt, the baby will also receive a €200 gift certificate when he has been added to the population register.

Helsinki Day events culminate in the evening with a pop concert, where some of Finland’s best-loved acts will perform their hits. This year the artists include Ellinoora, Ville Valo & Agents, Anna Puu and Juha Tapio from 16:00 until 22:00 at Kaisaniemi Park. The concert is free of charge.

Picture of Helsinki Market Square from City Hall, 12th June 2019 / Credit: @KiviluotoSuvi Twitter