Most first-time visitors to Finland know Vantaa only as the location of the country’s largest airport, a necessary stepping stone to reaching the capital Helsinki. This smaller city to the north of the capital, and its surrounding region, however, does have attractions of its own.
Music is a huge part of life in Vantaa. The city is home to about 20 individual choirs and a number of other musical endeavours, including concert bands and a symphonic pops orchestra. This part of Finland also upholds Scandinavia’s great reputation for science with the Heureka in Tikkurila. Opened in 1989, the science centre showcases interactive exhibits both indoors and out, as well as a 135-seat digital planetarium.
Technically, Vantaa is part of the Finnish Capital Region, and the presence of the airport means the town is very well connected to central Helsinki. Trains leave directly from the airport on a regular basis and terminate in Helsinki’s central train station after about a 30-minute ride. Visitors can also travel on the P-line or I-line trains.
While the area has been inhabited since the 14th century, the city has only been known as Vantaa since the early 1970s. Prior to that Vantaa was the river and Helsingin Pitaja referred to the salmon fishing settlement. Once Russia took over the country and discovered ore deposits in the area, the city rapidly industrialised.