A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Helsinki as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in Helsinki.
History & Geography
As Europe’s most north lying major city, Helsinki is one of the continent’s most famous capitals and Finland’s most populous city. It is located to the south of the country and is spread across a number of bays and penninsula’s on the Gulf of Finland, which lies on the Baltic Sea. Technically Helsinki also includes the cities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, a small enclave in Espoo. King Gustav I founded Helsinki in 1550 specifically in order to rival Talinn as a trading hub, however success was elusive and Helsinki stayed a relative backwater into the 18th century. This situation was exacerbated by a plague ravaging the city in 1710. The city’s fortunes turned with the construction of the imposing naval fortress of Sveaborg later in the 18th century, which transformed it into an area of importance. And when Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish Wars, resulting in the creation of the Dutchy of Finland, the city finally came into its own. In order to further reduce Swedish influence over the new duchy Russia moved the capital from Turku to Helsinki, where it has remained since. The influence of Russia can still be seen in the architecture of downtown Helsinki, which is built in a neoclassical style reminent of St Petersburg. In the 20th century the city continued to rapidly modernize, gaining railways and a university. In 1952 the Olympic Games were held in the city, and later the 1970s saw rapid industrialization. Since then Helsinki has become of the most modern city’s in Europe, and a world renowned centre of design and technology.
Currently Helsinki and its surrounding urban area generates over one third of Finland’s entire GDP. With 83 of Finland’s 100 largest companies located in the city, Helsinki is Finland’s financial and commercial hub. Service is the largest sector of the economy both in Helsinki and in wider Finland. This is closely followed by manufacturing, mostly of electronics for export to the rest of the world. Mobile phone giant Nokia has its headquarters in Espoo and is a major employer in the city. The Nokia Research Centre is also based in the city, where most of the company’s R&∓D work is done. The chemical and paper and pulp industries are also large in Helsinki. Finland itself has the fourth largest knowledge economy in Europe after Sweden, Denmark and the UK. It is also notable that Finland is the only Nordic country to have joined the Eurozone.
Finnish tourism recently grossed over six billion Euros, and much of that was due to the rising popularity of Helsinki as a destination for visitors from the rest of Europe and beyond. Commercial cruises between Helsinki and cities like Travemunde, Stockholm, Turku and Talinn also account for the city’s rising popularity with tourists. Due to its pristine neoclassical architecture, designed by the famous Carl Ludvig Engel, the city is one of the most attractive in northern Europe. Senate Square is the focal point of the city, flanked by Government Palace and Helsinki University. The city also boasts some very notable Art Nouveau buildings built in the early 19th century. As well as stunning architecture, Helsinki also has a plethora of museums, the most notable being the impressive National Museum of Finland, which has a collection ranging from the prehistoric era up to the 21st century. The Finnish National Gallery is also popular with visitors, and is actually made up of three separate museums. Helsinki’s nightlife is extensive, but alcohol is notoriously expensive. Clubs and bars usually open late and stay open until the morning hours. The city also has an array of restaurants, many of which specialize in Russian style cuisine, as well as meats like venison, pheasant and reindeer.
Public transportation in Helsinki is generally considered to be among the best in Europe. The city has an extensive tram and commuter rail system as well as subway, buse lines and ferry lines. The Helsinki Metro, which was opened in 1982, is the only subway in the country and has just been significantly extended, now running into Espoo. Currently a tunnel running from Helsinki to the Estonian capital of Talinn is also being discussed. Helsinki Central Railway Station is the hub of public transport in the city and is used by 200,000 passengers per day. Helsinki Airport is about 12 miles from downtown Helsinki and is the main airport in Finland. A second airport, Malmi, mostly handles private planes and cargo. There are also ferries which run from Helsinki to Talinn, Stockholm and Mariehamn, as well as Rostock and Travemunde in Germany.
The first half of this year has seen Helsinki’s office market begin to recover from what was a slow year in 2010. Demand has been creeping up in the first two quarters of this year, though no sector in particular has been especially active in renting more office space. Offices in the central business district of Helsinki have been in demand much more so than those in outlying districts, however incentives for renters in the central business district are nearly nonexistent. The vacancy rate in the city is still at 10.3 percent and supply is plentiful. This is likely to remain the case, with 30,000 square meters of new space entering the market in the first half of this year. And 2012 is predicted to see 150,000 square meters of new office space built. Average rent per square meter in Helsinki stands at approximately EUR 294.