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The Old Student House

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Discover the Historic Charm of The Old Student House in Helsinki

If you're looking to immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of Helsinki, a visit to The Old Student House is a must. Located in the heart of the city, this iconic building holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Let's dive into the captivating world of The Old Student House and explore its fascinating features and attractions.

A Glimpse into the Past

The Old Student House, also known as Vanha Ylioppilastalo, was originally built in 1870 as the student house for the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. Designed by Axel Hampus Dalström, this architectural gem stands proudly at the corner of Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie. Its construction was funded by a collection from the citizens, symbolized by the Latin inscription on its facade, "Spei suae patria dedit" meaning "Fatherland gave to its hope."

Architectural Marvels

As you approach The Old Student House, you'll be greeted by stunning statues adorning its facade. These statues represent Väinämöinen and Seppo Ilmarinen, characters from the Finnish national epic, Kalevala. Inside, you'll find a treasure trove of Kalevala-themed artwork, including Akseli Gallen-Kallela's mural "Kullervo Rides to War" and Robert Wilhelm Ekman's towering painting "Väinämöinen's Play."

Historical Significance

With over 140 years of history, The Old Student House holds a significant place in Helsinki's cultural heritage. It has witnessed countless events and parties, making it a legendary space for celebrations. In fact, on November 25, 1968, the building became the center of a student uprising known as the "takeover of Vanha." Inspired by the European student movement and the events of May 1968 in France, students demanded democratic reforms and changes to the university's administration.

Things to Do and See

Today, The Old Student House continues to be a vibrant hub of activity. It hosts a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and theatrical performances. Check the schedule to see if there's a performance or exhibition that piques your interest during your visit. Additionally, the building houses a cozy café where you can relax and soak in the historic atmosphere while enjoying a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry.

When to Visit

The Old Student House is a year-round destination, offering something for everyone regardless of the season. However, if you're looking to experience the liveliness and energy of the building, try to plan your visit during one of the events or parties hosted here. The festive atmosphere and the opportunity to mingle with locals will make your visit truly memorable.


The Old Student House in Helsinki is more than just a historic building; it's a symbol of the city's vibrant student culture and a testament to its rich heritage. Whether you're interested in history, architecture, or simply immersing yourself in the local atmosphere, a visit to The Old Student House is an absolute must. So, make sure to add this captivating destination to your Helsinki itinerary and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the city.

Updated on 27 May 2024
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