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Building The Future Since 1640

History of the University :

Building the future

Helsingin yliopiston päärakennus

Education, research and international interaction have a several hundred year old history at the University of Helsinki. During the past centuries, the University of Helsinki has played a decisive role in building Finnish identity, learning and affluence. These pages present the history of the University from 1640 to the present. The pages have been edited by FM Pia Österman.

The many names of the University

The first stage in the history of the University of Helsinki reaches from its founding as a Swedish university in 1640 to the War of Finland in 1808. The University’s name was originally the Royal Academy of Turku.

The second stage covers the period from 1809 to 1917 when Finland was a Grand Duchy of Russia. In 1809, it was renamed the Imperial Academy of Turku. In 1828 it was transferred to Helsinki and renamed the Imperial Alexander University in Finland.

The third stage as the university of the Finnish republic began with Finland ’s independence in 1917. The name was changed again in 1919, this time to the University of Helsinki.


Building the future since 1640

Building the future since 1640

A handsome concise publication by
Rainer Knapas and Laura Kolbe reviews the history of the University of Helsinki and its significance in the Finnish society.
Browse » »

Further information:

Helsinki university museum

History Presentation

The University of Helsinki turned 365 years in 2005. The multimedia presentation is drawing a picture about the eventful history of the university.

University of Helsinki History Presentation