While strolling around Helsinki Market Square, I took notice of a magnificent architectural wonder draped in an off-white elegance. Despite the hustle-bustle of the Market Square neighbourhood, this building seeks your attention, evoking a bizarre sense of stillness and calm. Get closer, and you will heed potted flowers, preceding the royal flag emblem over a pyramid-shaped ceiling decor. It’s the royal flag emblem that made me realise that I was standing in front of none other than, the Helsinki City Hall; an 18th-century Finnish architecture, featuring a remarkable blend of modern engineering, and old-world charm. Word has that that this well-preserved edifice was once, a beautiful Hotel called, “The Seurahuone.” In 1930, the Finnish government acquired the building and turned it into the City Hall.
Word has that that this well-preserved edifice was once, a beautiful Hotel called, “The Seurahuone.” The hotel was built in the 18th-century by Carl Ludvig Engel, the man who also designed the Senate Square. In 1930 the Finnish government acquired the building and turned it into the City Hall. Before which, they revamped the building with the help of the renowned architect Aarno Ruusuvuori, who seamlessly replaced the traditional interiors with modern glass veneers. For a tourist, the City Hall is just the right place to obtain free city maps and pens. Use these maps while navigating the city and each time, you visit a new place circle it around with your Finnish pen. This way, even after, you have returned from the trip, taking a quick glance at the maps will recap your Helsinki trip in no time. Believe you me, it’s a pleasant nostalgia, and these maps and pens make great souvenirs.
What’s inside Helsinki City Hall?
Inside the Helsinki City Hall, lays a whole new world of Helsinki’s cultural heritage. That accompanied by a generous amount of exhibits to display the history of the country. The Banquet Hall, in particular, trickles grandeur enveloped in gold with matching crystal chandeliers. Apart from that, the City Hall has also made available six workstations which allow you to discover the city’s historical facts online. They also distribute pamphlets in case you want to read the literature in your own free time. However, to truly experience the City Hall like a local, attend one of the council meetings from the balcony. For this, you will have to accompany a local resident attending the council meeting. Helsinki City Hall also being the office of the Mayor, conducts a meeting every alternate Wednesdays in the Council Chamber.
On your first visit to the Helsinki City Hall, you will be left mesmerised by its interiors depicting bygone tales through its wall display. You will see a lot of paintings, sketches, and figure prints adorning the wall. Two of the most noteworthy paintings worth having a look are the “Chain,” by Kimmo Trench which narrates the solidarity of European people and Oscar Klineh’s painting of Helsinki portraying city lifestyle from yesteryears. Beautiful inside out, literally! While you are here, admiring the edifying grace of the City Hall, you may also venture out to discover its vibrant neighbourhood by the shoreline. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, spas and boutique cafes to keep you entertained.