Matti Klinge: Pääkaupunki – Helsinki ja Suomen valtio 1808–1863 [Capital City – Helsinki and the Finnish government 1808–1863]

27 June 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Pääkaupunki – Helsinki ja Suomen valtio 1808–1863
[Capital city — Helsinki and the Finnish government 1808–1863]
Kuvitussuunnitelma [Pictorial design by] Matti Klinge and Yrjö Klinge
Helsinki: Otava, 2012. 509p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-26235-0
€ 53, hardback

As a result of the war between Sweden and Russia in 1808–1809, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. In 1812 Helsinki was made Finland’s new capital, being more suitable than Turku, the administrative city of the time, as it boasted features such as the coastal fortress of Sveaborg (Suomenlinna), which was important to Russia. In his new book, Emeritus Professor Matti Klinge gives an account of the development of Helsinki as a capital city. Between 1808 and 1843 the Grand Duchy established its central administrative office, its civil service and the University in Helsinki. Tsars Alexander I and Nicholas I wanted Finland to have a monumental capital; Klinge describes the implementation of the carefully detailed city plan and the key buildings. He portrays the work of the individuals who contributed to Helsinki’s development as well as the city’s political, social and cultural life – Helsinki’s history is essentially the history of Finland. Also published in Swedish, this extensive work, which owes its origin to the Historical Commission of the City of Helsinki, is illustrated in a rich and informative manner.
Translated by David McDuff

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