Helsinki is a city at its height.
It is also something of an anomaly. Culturally, it is a partial amalgamate of its neighbors—and former rulers—in Sweden and Russia, but as the capital of a young and independent Finland, it is full of nascent pride and positivity. It rejoices in an entrepreneurial spirit and a belief that new projects and new legacies can be made here, even as older ones are preserved and celebrated.
While some cities in Scandinavia exude a “Nordic cool,” in Helsinki, there’s a collective nonchalance, and a widespread pragmatism. Helsinki’s streets are filled with art nouveau design, with the work of celebrated Finnish modernists also very much on display. Even now designers, artists, makers, chefs, and hip-hop stars embolden the city’s claim to a vibrant lifestyle.
In Issue 2: Helsinki, prepare to explore:
- The sweet smells and folkloric past of a Karelian bakery
- The island of Seurasaari, where deep in the woods you’ll find a centuries-old village, restored from along Finland’s eastern borders
- The old-school gems of Helsinki’s restaurant scene, institutions with classic Finnish fare and interior, unchanged in nearly a century
- An enigmatic bar with famous patrons where Soviet-era ideals still live
- The torikahvilat, the orange tents of Helsinki’s market squares, with their famous breakfasts and apple-mash doughnuts
- The history of the naval fortress of Suomenlinna, one of the largest in Europe, situated across the Wolf Isles