Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Helsinki, Finland, 29-31 August 2012
General Information


A little history

Finland is one of the world's leading countries in education, innovative technology and design. How did all this come about?
Sweden's King Gustavus Vasa founded Helsinki on the mouth of Vantaanjoki River in 1550 to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea trade. The town grew slowly and the centre of Helsinki was moved to its current location in the 1600s.

In 1748, Sweden began construction of the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress off the coast of Helsinki to counter the growing threat from Russia. The massive project brought additional wealth, inhabitants and merchants to the town.

Finland became independent in 1917 and Helsinki assumed the demanding new role of the capital of the young republic. City planning was characterised by Classicism and Functionalism.

Recovering from the hardships of war, Helsinki hosted the Summer Olympics in 1952. The games created an international reputation for Helsinki as an efficient and friendly host city.

Helsinki is recognised as a city in which diverse views can interact in a constructive atmosphere. The Finlandia Hall has hosted many international summit meetings, including the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 1975. Finland became an EU member State in 1995. It held the EU Presidency in 1999 and 2006. Finland is also a country of peace mediation and has hosted several peace negotiations led by the former president and Nobel prize winner Martti Ahtisaari.

Today, Finland is a thriving country with beautiful natural surroundings. It values the quality of life and has been chosen as the most liveable city in the world. Helsinki is also the World Design Capital 2012.

Finland in figures

  • Independent since 1917
  • Total area: 338,424 km2
  • Population: 5.4 million
  • EU member since 1995
  • Introduced Euro in 2002
  • Finnish-speakers: 90.4 %
  • Swedish-speakers: 5.4 %
  • Other language groups: 4.2 %
  • Foreign nationals: 3.1 %
  • Evangelical Lutherans: 72 %
  • Orthodox: 1.1 %
  • Mobile phones per 100 inhabitants 96
  • Warmest month: July – mean maximum temperature (Helsinki) +21.5 °C
  • Coldest month: January – mean minimum temperature (Helsinki) -7.4 °C

Helsinki in figures

  • Founded in 1550
  • Capital of Finland since 1812
  • Population of Helsinki is approx. 587 000 - approx. 1.3 million live in Greater Helsinki
  • Coastline: 123 km
  • Islands: 315
  • Municipal tax rate: 17.5 %
Things to experience

Visitors to Helsinki may wish to extend their stay in this part of northern Europe. Information and travel options for Helsinki and its environs and for visiting other parts of Finland and its neighbours can be found below.

For things to see in Helsinki

For possible daytrips and other excursions from Helsinki