Vintage: Helsinki in the late XIX Century (1890s)

Vintage: Helsinki in the late XIX Century (1890s)


During the 19th century, Helsinki became the economic and cultural center of Finland; as elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and industrialization were key factors behind the city’s growth. The first Helsinki railway station opened in 1862 with service to Hämeenlinna. Beginning from the late 19th century, the Finnish language became more and more dominant in the city, since the people who moved in from the countryside mostly spoke Finnish. In the beginning of the 20th century, the city was already predominantly Finnish-speaking, although with a large Swedish-speaking minority. Nowadays the Swedish speakers are a small minority.

Helsinki’s role as a capital resulted in its being the location of many prominent events in 19th and 20th century Finnish history. While the first 90 years under Russian rule were beneficial to the development of the city and the Finnish nation, the Russification of Finland began in 1899, during the reign of Nicholas II. In 1898, military officer Nikolay Bobrikov had been named by the tsar to be the Governor-General of Finland. Bobrikov’s role was to hasten the Russification processes and assimilate Finland more fully into the Russian empire, by force if necessary. This made him extremely unpopular among the Finns, and in 1904 he was assassinated in Helsinki’s Government Palace by Eugen Schauman.

People gathering outside St Nicholas' Church (today called Helsinki Cathedral)

People gathering outside St Nicholas’ Church (today called Helsinki Cathedral)

People in the park of Helsinki Old Church

People in the park of Helsinki Old Church

People on a boat on Helsinki archipelago

People on a boat on Helsinki archipelago

Pitkäsilta bridge from Kaisaniemi to Siltasaari, Helsinki

Pitkäsilta bridge from Kaisaniemi to Siltasaari, Helsinki

Punavuori, Helsinki. St. John's Church in the background

Punavuori, Helsinki. St. John’s Church in the background

Resting in a park in Helsinki

Resting in a park in Helsinki

Bulevardi, Helsinki

Bulevardi, Helsinki

Roadwork, Helsinki

Roadwork, Helsinki

Russian soldiers on Helsinki Senate Square

Russian soldiers on Helsinki Senate Square

Seashore of Töölönlahti, Helsinki

Seashore of Töölönlahti, Helsinki

Simonkatu, Helsinki

Simonkatu, Helsinki

Ski jumping in Alppila, Helsinki

Ski jumping in Alppila, Helsinki

Ski jumping in Alppila, Helsinki

Ski jumping in Alppila, Helsinki

South Harbour, Helsinki

South Harbour, Helsinki

Steam ship 'Arcturus' departure from the South Harbor in Helsinki

Steam ship ‘Arcturus’ departure from the South Harbor in Helsinki

Steamship 'Oihonna', South Harbor, Helsinki

Steamship ‘Oihonna’, South Harbor, Helsinki

Swimtower in Merihaka, Helsinki

Swimtower in Merihaka, Helsinki

Central railway station square and the Finnish National Theater in Helsinki

Central railway station square and the Finnish National Theater in Helsinki

Photos from The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland


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