Helsinki – People Make the City

As many of you know, I have been working on a side project for the past year with local photographer Laura Iisalo.

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

Our book, Helsinki – People Make the City – was launched early May and is available in stores around the city.

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It’s an insiders’ guide to the city and contains interviews with local creative people, sharing insights into Helsinki and the local way of life.

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Kirsikka Simberg at the Winter Gardens – Photo: Laura Iisalo

I wrote the text and Laura took all the photos. She also did a fantastic job with the concept, creating six sections we are very happy to share with you.

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

My Helsinki

We interviewed six creative people about their neighbourhoods and they’ve each shared a ‘Day in the Life’ so that you too can explore each area like a local. Neighbourhoods covered are Punavuori, Kruununhaka, Töölö, Kallio, Vallila and Suomenlinna.

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Dorit in Suomenlinna – Photo: Viola Vertimo

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Alba and Thomas in Kallio & Vallila – Photo: Viola Vertimo

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Kirsikka in Töölö – Photo: Viola Vertimo

Makers

Three lovely women have given tips on creative projects you can try at home. These include making your own wildflower bouquet, how to turn a traditional Finnish heirloom into a magnetic keep-safe and harvesting pine sap from the forest to create natural incense.

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Justine harvesting pine sap – Photo: Viola Vertimo

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Hennamari foraging for wild flowers – Photo: Viola Vertimo

Keepers

Some of our favourite local shopkeepers share their love of what they do and what’s special about the neighbourhoods they work in.

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Kaisa at Pelago Bicycles – Photo: Viola Vertimo

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Linda at Ansa – Photo: Viola Vertimo

Taste Helsinki

We ate a lot of cinnamon buns to bring you the best! And some of our favourite local eateries were kind enough to share their recipes so you can replicate their contemporary takes on traditional Finnish fare. This include how to make porridge, rye bread, cinnamon buns, blini, salmon soup, meatballs with lingonberry sauce and a cocktail made with a Nordic twist.

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Meatballs at Ravintola KuuKuu – Photo: Laura Iisalo

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

Winter Cosiness

Laura and I worked hard to do all our shoots and interviews during summer while the light was good and then realised we also wanted to showcase the best parts of life in Finland during winter. The Swedes have a word for it and so do the Danes (hygge), so we chose the Finnish word kaamos as our description of winter cosiness and give tips on how to create your own warm winter nest.

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

Romany and Juha from Aan Tafel created some beautiful Nordic dishes for this and their recipes are included in the book.

Black Book

Finally, we put together a list of our favourite places in the city including sauna, coffee, design and urban nature.

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

The book is currently available in Helsinki in Nide Kirjakauppa, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, Akateeminen, Moko Market and Adlibris.

Weighing 700 grams, it’s a beautiful hardcover book, but shipping overseas can be expensive and it is not yet available to those living outside Finland. If you would consider paying for postage please do let them know at Cozy Publishing, as we’d love to be able to share the beauty of Helsinki beyond Finnish shores.

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Photo: Viola Vertimo

Helsinki – People Make the City

Concept & Photos: Laura Iisalo

Words: Melanie Dower

Layout: Viola Vertimo

www.peoplemakethecity.com

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12 thoughts on “Helsinki – People Make the City

  1. Your book looks very interesting. Love the concept. Your blog helps me maintain a link to Finland that started over 30 years ago!!!

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  2. Congratulations on your book Mel. I might have to get a copy! How much is postage to the U.S? It’s funny what you miss about Helsinki when you go. There is a lot I took for granted and I miss now I am gone. It might be nice to take some strolls down memory lanes in the form of an actual book and have something to take the girls through when they are bigger. Let me know costs if you can.

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    • Hey, postage out of Finland is pretty expensive at around 22€ a book. Unfortunately it’s not available online at the moment but if you want to go ahead just send me a message and I can organise it for you. Hope you are well and the family is enjoying your new home!

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