Viikinmäki – a mountainous hill city by the Vantaa River
Viikinmäki is one of the most unique neighbourhoods in Helsinki. Viikinmäki is located on the rock surrounding the Vantaa River. The steep hill slopes and valleys make the area diverse and distinctive in terms of differences in altitudes. The nature is strongly present in Viikinmäki.
The Viikinmäki rocks are divided by numerous valleys of different sizes. The biggest valley divides Viikinmäki in the middle. The valley is utilised as the Maarianpuisto Park, which will become the common green recreational area of the neighbourhood. The construction of the park will start by the block house in 2014.
In the stony hill city, the topography of the terrain, the beautiful river views and the ample valleys are utilised for the enjoyment of the inhabitants. The Viikinmäki area has been planned mainly as a residential and recreational area.
Urban design and proximity to nature meet
The construction of the Viikinmäki residential area started at the turn of the century. The neighbourhood of Viikinmäki is planned as a compact area, where urban design and proximity to nature meet. The housing development has been placed on a rock ridge and their slopes, while the valley formations have been preserved as parks. In this way, it is possible to utilise the varying shapes of the terrain and the beautiful views in the housing. Row houses and low-rise houses with 2-3 floors will be built on the rock brow. The aim with the residential blocks has been to compose a compact and urban small-scale environment.
Viikinmäki already has a population of approximately 2,200. The housing development in the western part is still unfinished. When completed in 2020, Viikinmäki will have approximately 3,700 inhabitants. Viikinmäki will be a balanced neighbourhood when it comes to housing development, with a mix of owner-occupied flats, rented flats, Hitas flats and right of residence flats.
The school opens in early 2015
The Viikinmäki block house will be completed in autumn 2014. The block house will encompass a day care centre for 100 children and a comprehensive school (classes 1–6). The Vikkeri day care centre is already open in the north-east part of Viikinmäki.
Viikinmäki is also has some award-winning architecture. The Rose for Building Prize (Rakentamisen Ruusu) 2013 was awarded for the high-rise building on Harjannetie 44 in Viikinmäki. The award-winning house is a City of Helsinki rental property, which evokes admiration and interest, especially in the international context. The house is a great landmark for the hill neighbourhood.
The footbridge that crosses the Vantaa River was named the Bridge of the Year in 2010. The white wood-decked bridge is structurally elegant and fits well into the landscape. The bridge is located by the lower course of the Pikkukoski Beach and it leads from Viikinmäki over the river to the beach.
Attractive place of residence for outdoor persons
The Viikinmäki area is an attractive place of residence for outdoor persons. There are some nice walking routes on the waterfront of the Vantaa River, which lead to, for example, to the Vanhankaupunginkoski rapids or the Museum of Technology (1.5 kilometres). The Viikki–Vanhankaupunginlahti bay area is a bird paradise in the middle of the city and a good destination for nature trips, for example, in spring and autumn, when thousands of migratory birds stop to rest in the beach waters of the bay and on the meadows and fields. The route northwards along the Vantaa River leads, for example, to the Tuomarinkylä Manor and the Haltiala farm.
In the summer, the Helsinkians head for the idyllic Pikkukoski beach. The bold ones jump from the diving tower built on the rock, while the athletic people play basketball or volleyball on the beach courts. The Vantaa River offers a beautiful paddling route as well. During the winter, the Pikkukoski beach is transformed into a winter swimming spot and the ski tracks run along the Vantaa River. By the beach, the frozen Pirunkallio rock becomes an ice-climbing wall.
The steep rock slope from Viikinmäki to the Vantaa River waterfront is scenically stunning and its lush, grovelike vegetation is composed of European hazels, anemones and other spring bloomers, as well as the widespread ostrich-ferns in the northern part.
The area has a steep-sloped terrain. The river is bordered by rugged rocks, whose types of stones tell the early history of the earth, draws and glaciated rocks the events of the ice-age.
Many of the brows in Viikinmäki are good vantage points due to their height.
Excellent transverse public transport links
The bus traffic in Viikinmäki is a convenient option, regardless of direction: links are available to the centre of Helsinki as well as to the eastern or western parts of Helsinki. The trunk route 550 has a stop on Maaherrantie, in the northern part of Viikinmäki. The bus service operates at five minute intervals during rush hours and it runs to Itäkeskus in the east and to Oulunkylä, Pitäjänmäki and Espoo’s Leppävaara and Otaniemi in the west.
The city plans to replace the transverse bus service in the 2020s with a light rail line, which would mainly drive in its own lane. The decision on the construction of the Rail-Joker has not yet been taken. There are also plans for a bus stop slip road on Lahti motorway (Lahdenväylä), whereupon all the buses on the Lahti motorway would stop by the southern part of Viikinmäki.
A bike ride from the city centre
Viikinmäki is geographically located in the middle of Helsinki. West of Viikinmäki, on the other side of the Vantaa River, lies Veräjämäki and Oulunkylä, on the north side there is Pihlajisto, while the fields of Viikki and the nature conservation area of Vanhankaupunginlahti can be found east of Viikinmäki. The distance from Viikinmäki to the centre of Helsinki is about 8 kilometres, a nice bike ride.
Viikinmäki in figures
- 60 hectares
- construction years 2000–2022
- 3 700 inhabitants
- 2 000 dwellings
- 350 job opportunities
- 8 km distance to the city centre