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Between two lakes: Tampere, Finland

Last updated on December 29, 2018

Tampere, Finland’s second biggest city. One of the most beautiful places in the country.

tampere finland Finland's second biggest cityPhoto by Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere

Where you can go from Lapland-like sceneries to outdoor graffitigalleries in just one hour (or quicker, if you’re staying in Lapland Hotel!).

Can you think of a place like that? Well, I’ll show you.

tampere finland Finland's second biggest cityPhoto by Laura Vanzo

History of Tampere in a Nutshell

How did Tampere grow to be Finland’s second biggest city? Tampere’s story began in 1779 when some big shot from Sweden (Finland was still a part of Sweden then) camy by here and just fell in love with the scenery. Tammerkoski rapids got a name and some people came to accompany the farmers of the region. But what really kicked off the growth of Tampere, was a Scotsman James Finlayson. You’ve probably never heard of Finlayson but it was the biggest factory in the Nordics in 1800s. The first lightbulb of Nordics was also lit here! So there’s two things that came from Scotland, Finlayson’s Finlayson and Watt’s lightbulb. Thanks Scots, we appreciate it.

tampere finland graffiti Finland's second biggest cityGraffities at abandoned factory area. Photo by Laura Vanzo.

Funny thing is, Finlayson factory was not run to success by Finlayson. He made machines to create textiles, and where his plan went wrong, is when no one wanted to buy the machines. So he sold the company to a German family coming from St. Petersburg, who started to make textiles with the machines.

I know right, who knew the world and espesially Finland was that international in 1800s?

Well, to keep the story short, Tampere grew to be a workers’ town and is that still. We had like half of Finland’s working women here (yay feminism!) because we had the biggest factory and we are proud of that, or at least I am.

tampere finland sauna Finland's second biggest cityMe and my friends in the oldest public sauna in Finland. Tampere is the sauna capital of Finland! Photo by Laura Vanzo.

Future of Tampere: Still to Be Discovered!

Nowadays Tampere is in transition. We have the best people which is why everyone wants to move here – yikes! Where do we put all these people? There are building sites everywhere and the city is expanding and becoming more and more expensive to live in. Nowhere near Helsinki prices yet, though.

So what to do, how to grow? Well, City of Tampere has realised that building apartments just doesn’t cut it. So now they are building a tram line (metro is waaaaay too expensive so we’ll go with a tram for now) and a Deck Project has just started with a new Central Arena, which will host Ice Hockey World Championships 2022. Tampere is thinking BIG and I LOVE it. We WILL be the best event city in the Nordic Countries eventually. It’s just a matter of time. And a matter of all these worksites to finish: This is Tampere 2017

tampere finland festival Finland's second biggest cityHappy right before my favourite Finnish band at a festival in my hometown. Photo by Laura Vanzo.

So is there anything else to Tampere than industrial history and future as an event city? YES, there is! And here’s some of my favourites:

tampere finland nature national park Finland's second biggest cityHell’s Lake (Helvetinjärvi) national park is just an hour’s drive from Tampere city centre. Amazing! Photo by Laura Vanzo.

tampere finland restaurant Finland's second biggest cityTampere city is famous for its many gastropubs, but….

tampere finland doughnut Finland's second biggest cityIf there’s any food Tampere is known for, it is munkki (=doughnuts). Can’t be described, must be tasted.

tampere finland city centre Finland's second biggest cityTampere city centre and the rapids of Tammerkoski are my favourite thing in summer…

tampere finland lake Finland's second biggest cityBut I don’t mind the lakes surrounding the city either!

tampere finland lake Finland's second biggest cityIn winter the lakes are frozen. It is only logical that us Finns would cut a hole and dip in the freezing lake, right..?

tampere finland nature Finland's second biggest cityBut whatever you do in Tampere, remember: buy ice cream, sit on grass or a pier, let wind play with your hair and enjoy the  warm weathers that allow you to wear Converse. ‘Cos that’s what life’s about.

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    • Hi, so happy to hear that! You can subscribe on the home page (under search). Just fill in your details and you will get an email every time I post 🙂 On Thursday I’m posting about Tampere winter activities!

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