Sibeliuksen syntymäkoti

Composer Johan Julius Christian (Jean) Sibelius was born in Hämeenlinna in 1865 and was schooled here, but the town makes surprisingly little fuss about it. His childhood home is a small museum containing photographs, letters, his upright piano and some family furniture. It’s a likeable place, although uninformative about his later life. Concert performances on summer Sundays are free with an entry ticket.

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1. Hämeenlinnan kirkko

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Dating from 1798, this church in the town centre was designed by Louis Jean Depréz, court painter for King Gustav III of Sweden, and is modelled on the…

2. Museo Skogster

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The ground floor of this newly opened museum in the former Skogster Department Store has a small theatrette where an excellent short film about the…

3. Palanderin Talo


Finland loves its house-museums and this is among the best, offering a wonderful insight into well-off 19th-century Finnish life, thanks to excellent…

4. Hämeenlinnan Taidemuseo

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Housed in a former granary designed by CL Engel, the town gallery holds an interesting collection of Finnish art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Notable…

5. Vankilamuseo

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Häme Castle's old cellblock, last used in 1993, has been converted into a prison museum where you can visit a solitary confinement cell or see graffiti…

6. Hämeenlinna

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Hämeenlinna means Häme Castle, so it’s no surprise that this bulky, twin-towered, red-brick fortress is the town’s pride and most significant…

7. Museo Militaria

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There are numerous museums devoted to Finnish involvement in WWII, but this takes the cake. It’s huge. There are three floors packed with war memorabilia,…

8. Aulanko

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North of the town centre, this central-European-style park with ponds, swans, pavilions, a granite fortress and exotic trees was created early in the 20th…