During this semester, I visited capitals of the Nordic countries. Oslo, Copenhagen,Stockholm, Helsinki… These capitals keep a close connection between each other.
Why are there similarities between capitals of the Nordic countries ?
1155. Sweden Empire annexes the Finland’s current territory; this empire spread from the current Norway to the current Finland, and some lands in the North of Denmark and Estonia. For six centuries, Finland was a Sweden province. Swedish developed this strategic land, neighbour Russian country; they build roads, harbour and created cities such as Turku, the most important Finnish cities or Helsinki. Nowadays, Sweden Empire disappears but vestige of this period, especially in architecture are present yet.
During Sweden Empire, frontages of building were painted in different colours according to the social class of their owners (red for low class, yellow for middle class and white for upper class). We find these colours in historic districts of all Nordic capitals (Senate in Helsinki, royal castle in Oslo, old districts of Copenhagen and Stockholm), vestige of the rise of Sweden Empire.
But architecture isn’t the only similarities between those countries in this area of Europe: the organization of the city (around the Royal of the Presidential Palaces), the common strong respect of the environment, the quit and altruism attitude of populations, etc.
The Norwegian capital counts 600 000 inhabitants whose 27% immigrant. This city spreads across 450 km2, as a result of the respect of the nature (parks, green spaces, etc) and ski pistes through the city.
Design, modern architecture, sport, nature, artistic culture are symbols of Norwegian culture. If you want to feel this atmosphere, visit:
- The Norwegian national Opera and ballet: open in 2008, this monument is one of main monument in terms of dance (one of the most prestigious Opera), architecture (its façade represents an iceberg and respects environmental norms).
- Bjørvika Barcode: twelve skyscrapers of different widths and heights. This district regroups national and international business.
- Tjuvholmen: this residential district is one of the most prestigious district in the city. It is famous because of the modern architecture of this district.
- Holmenkollen Ski museum and tower: Norwegian athletes are feared by the entire world in ski, biathlon, ice-skating, etc. Holmenkollen, a ski jump in Oslo, resprent this culture of sport.
- National Gallery: “healthy mind in an healthy body”, for Norwegians, sport is as essential as articitic culture. That is why, there are many museums in Oslo. National gallery is very famous because Cry by Munch is exhibited.
- Vigelandsparken: this famous parks exhibits status, representing evolutions of human life.
- Norsk Folkmusuem: Norwegians are very proud of their ancestors. This open-air museum resprensents habits, house, etc of Vikings.
Helsinki, the most densely populated Finnish city counts 602 200 inhabitants and it is the capital of Finland. This city, comprised 300 islands, give an important place for shipping activities such as seaport, fishing, marina, etc. Like Oslo, nature is essential for Finns; for this reason, we can find a natural park, Nuuskio park, at 30 minutes from the center of Helsinki.
If you go to Helsinki, don’t forget to visit :
- Kauppatori: cover market are very common in Finland. There are often the center of the city. In Helsinki, Kauppatori is one of the famous place where Finns use to enjoy the first sunny days after a dark winter.
- Tuomiokirkko : Senate place or Alexander III place is famous places in Helsinki : near to Finnish political center, this place is used for manifestations and events (for example for national day), near to Lutherian cathedrale of Helsinki, this place is employed for religious events.
- Esplanadi, near to Kauppatori, is a convivial park in the center of Helsinki where families use to take picnic on Sunday in summer, and where families see Christmas lights in winter.
- Töölo district. This is the art district; National museums, National Opera of Finland, Theater of Helsinki are concentrated in this district. (National Opera of Finland : )
- Töölo district: furthermore, this borough hosted Olympic complex for this event in 1952. Nowadays, we can visit the Olympics museums, swim in the Olympic pool and practice athletic in the stadium.
- Sibelius monument: Sibelius (1865- 1957) is one of the most famous composer in Nordic countries. Still today, Finns vow a huge admiration to this artist.