What You Need To Know
Espoo, is the second largest city and municipality in Finland. The population of the city of Espoo was 268,924 as of 30 September 2015. It is part of the Finnish Capital Region, and most of its population lives in the inner urban core of the Helsinki metropolitan area, along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, andKauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen. The city is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, in the region of Uusimaa. Other bordering municipalities of Espoo are Nurmijärvi and Vihti in the north, and Kirkkonummi in the west. The national park of Nuuksio is situated in northwestern Espoo. Espoo encompasses 528 square kilometres (204 sq mi), of which 312 km2 (120 sq mi) is land. Espoo has several local regional centers. Espoo is thus divided into seven major areas. Vanha-Espoo (with administrative center), Suur-Espoonlahti, Pohjois-Espoo, Suur-Kauklahti, Suur-Leppävaara,Suur-Matinkylä, and Suur-Tapiola. Aalto University is based in Otaniemi, Espoo, along with a thriving science community that includes numerous startups and organizations such as VTT – the Technical Research Center of Finland. Several major companies are based in Espoo, includingNokia Solutions and Networks, Microsoft Mobile, KONE, Neste Oil, Fortum, Orion Corporation, and Outokumpu, as well as video game developers Rovio and Remedy Entertainment. The city of Espoo is officially bilingual. The majority of the population, 83.6%, speaks Finnish as their mother tongue, while a minority of 8.3% speaks Swedish. 8% of Espoo’s population has a first language other than Finnish or Swedish.
Area: 312 km²
Population: About 267 900
Results of the Finnish parliamentary election, 2011 in Espoo:
- National Coalition Party 40.4%
- True Finns 14.6%
- Social Democratic Party 14.4%
- Green League 11.6%
- Swedish People’s Party 6.7%
- Centre Party 4.3%
- Left Alliance 3.6%
- Christian Democrats 2.7%
Espoo’s city council has 75 members. Following the municipal election of 2012 the council seats are allocated in the following way: National Coalition Party 29 seats, Greens 13, Social Democrats 10, True Finns 10, Swedish People’s Party 7, Centre Party 2, Left Alliance 2, and Christian Democrats 2.
Espoo hosts a Museum of Modern Art called EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art), built in a renovated old print house, the WeeGee house, named after an old book print company Weilin & Göös. The same building hosts also Finland’s only Museum of Horology (Finnish: Kellomuseo, and a Toy Museum. Glims Farmstead Museum is also located in the city. The Espoo cultural centre, home of world renown Tapiola Sinfonietta, where numerous concerts and theater performances are held, is located in Tapiola. Espoo has several manors two of which are open to the public. The most important isEspoon kartano, mentioned first time in 1495, and belonging to the noble Ramsay family since 1756. The current main building dates from 1914, but a mill dates from the 1750s and Finland oldest walved stone bridge from 1777 is on the King’s Road which passes by the manor. The main building can be rented for weddings and similar occasions. Guided tours are available on request for groups. The other manor open to public is Pakankylän kartano, located on the northern shore of Lake Bodom. The manor hosts a restaurant and club rooms, partly with original furniture open to the public, but meant originally to Kaisankoti sanatory and old people’s home located on ground of the manor. The Metal band Children of Bodom comes from Espoo, Finland. They are named after the unsolved murder known as the Lake Bodom murders which took place at Lake Bodom, a lake in northern Espoo, in 1960. The bands Norther and Kiuas also come from Espoo. The educational department takes part in Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland.
Although Espoo is relatively highly populated, it has large amounts of natural wilderness, particularly in the city’s western and northern portions. The city has a total of 71 lakes, the largest of which are Lake Bodom, Nuuksion Pitkäjärvi, Vanhankylän Pitkäjärvi, Loojärvi, Velskolan Pitkäjärvi, Saarijärvi, Matalajärvi, Siikajärvi, and Lippajärvi. The city has a large coastline on the Gulf of Finland. Espoo has six Natura 2000 protected areas: Bånberget forests, Espoonlahti–Saunalahti bay area, Laajalahti bay, Matalajärvi lake, Nuuksio National Park, as well as forests in Vestra (partially in Vantaa). The official animal of Espoo is the Siberian flying squirrel, the official bird is the common blackbird, and the official plant is Anemone nemorosa.
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden.
Espoo is home to several premier league sports teams. The Espoo Blues play at Barona Areena in the SM-liiga – professional ice hockey league. The club was established in February 1984 as “Kiekko-Espoo” and played their first season in 1984–1985 in the Finnish Second Division. In 1988 they achieved a place on the Finnish First Division and in 1992 they celebrated their promotion to the SM-liiga. The club and the team changed their name in 1998. The name came from the dominant colour of their home jersey. The full name of the club is Blues Hockey Oy. The Blues are a contender for the title almost every year, but have yet to win the series. They have come second two times though, most recently in 2011. FC Honka is a football club that was promoted into the Finnish premier division (Veikkausliiga) for the first time in its history at the end of the 2005 season. Honka now plays in the third tier Kakkonen. They play home matches at Tapiolan urheilupuisto. Espoo is the birthplace of 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, formerDallas Stars forward Jere Lehtinen (three time NHL Selke Trophy winner), formerFormula One driver JJ Lehto, professional downhill mountain biker Matti Lehikoinen, professional ten-pin bowling star Osku Palermaa and 2009 European Figure Skating Champion Laura Lepistö.
Getting around Espoo and capital area of Helsinki is easy and affordable with extensive public transportation network operated by Helsinki Region Transport (HSL). HSL is a joint local authority who plans and organizes public transport in the region and improves its operating conditions. HSL procures bus, tram, Metro, ferry and commuter train services in Helsinki Region. Although traveling by car is the best option, there is a good bus network connecting different districts but it gets confusing with so many different residential areas in Espoo.
In Espoo, the climate is cold and temperate. The rainfall in Espoo is significant, with precipitation even during the driest month. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Dfb. The average temperature in Espoo is 5.1 °C. In a year, the average rainfall is 638 mm.