Helsingin Kaupunginmuseo


This museum complex spreads over five buildings from different eras, including Sederholmin talo, Helsinki’s oldest central building (dating from 1757 and built by a wealthy merchant). They're linked by a contemporary structure, along with four other museums at separate locations. The must-see of the bunch is the main museum. Its collection of 450,000 historical artefacts and more than one million photographs is backed up by entertaining information piecing together Helsinki’s transition from Swedish to Russian hands and on into independence.

There are three beautiful inner courtyards.

Its other museums all have free entry and focus on an aspect of the city’s past or present through permanent and temporary exhibitions. The delightful Ratikkamuseo displays vintage trams and depicts daily life in Helsinki’s streets in past decades. Mustard-coloured Ruiskumestarin talo is set in central Helsinki’s oldest wooden townhouse, built in 1818. The Työväenasuntomuseo shows how industrial workers lived in the early 20th century.