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University of Helsinki Helsinki University Museum Arppeanum

Helsinki University Museum


Contact information:

P.O. Box 3 (Unioninkatu 34)
00014 University of Helsinki

Fabianinkatu 33 (3. floor)
Opening hours
Tue-Thu 12-17, Fri 12-16
Summer break 19.6.-31.7.2017.



The History of University of Helsinki

Per Brahe, Queen Christina, Alexander I, Edwin Linkomies. Photos Matti Ruotsalainen.

The history of the University of Helsinki begins with the founding of the Royal Academy of Turku in 1640. The Academy´s Charter of Foundation, signed by the regency of Queen Christina, is dated the 26th of March. The Royal Academy fo Turku had four faculties and initially eleven professorships: three in theology, one each in law and medicine, and six in philosophy. Two hundred and fifty students enrolled at the Academy in the first year, the majority of whom were Swedes. Even at its peak the Royal Academy did not have more than a few hundred students. The great majority of students became clergy or civil servants.

At the beginning of Finland´s period of autonomy as a Grand Duchy of Russia, Alexander I, Emperor of Russia and Grand Duke of Finland, significantly improved the economic conditions of the University. For this, he has been called the second founder of the University. The Great Fire of Turku in September 1827 caused great damage to the Academy. By Emperor Nicholas I`s edict of the 21st of October, 1827, the University was instructed to relocate to Helsinki which had become the nation´s capital in 1812. In the end of the 1860s the number of students in Imperial Alexander University began to show a steady increase. The position of Finnish language gained strength in the last half of the nineteenth century.

After Finnish independence in 1917, the official name of the University became the University of Helsinki in 1919. At present the University comprises 11 faculties. The number of students at the University of Helsinki has grown dramatically. Their number at the beginning of Finnish independence was 3 400; degree students now number nearly 40 000.

Photo Eero Roine 1998.