Hyvinkää, also known by its Swedish name Hyvinge, is a city in the region of Uusimma in Finland. With a population of around 47.000 inhabitants, it is the sixth-largest urban center in the region and home to the headquarters of companies such as Ahsell and KONE. It is the city’s geographic location at the intersection between rail and road that for a long time has been an advantage. Important roads have passed the area for centuries, especially between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna, and the addition of the railway in the second half of the 19th century increased the city’s importance.
A Short History of Hyvinkää
The first known mention of Hyvinkää dates back to the end of the 15th century. It was at the time a small village known as Hyvinkäänkylä. This was an agricultural area with the small addition of shorter periods of mining. It was mainly the road between Helsinki and Häneenlinna that passed through the small village that prompted its importance. For a long time, the village was most famous for its inn, the Puolimatkan Krouvi, an important stop along the road.
Hyvinkää’s modern development began with the railway. The railway line between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna was completed in 1862. Hyvinkää had until then been a part of Nurmijärvi Parish, but the rapid development meant the establishment of a new separate parish in 1917. The railway and industrialization also brought two new industries to Hyvinkää at the end of the 19th century. The first one was the establishment of a sanatorium in the 1880s, opening up for health-oriented tourism. The second one was the opening of a wool factory in the 1890s, a factory that was in operation for about a century until the 1990s.
The Second World War brought with it another boom in the town’s population as many refugees from Finnish Karelia made Hyvinkää their new home. The Soviet Union annexed Karelia during the war and it is still a part of Russia. The increased population meant that Hyvinkää in 1960 received its city rights.
Its more recent history is a bit grimmer. Hyvinkää was in 2012 the location of one of only a few recent mass shootings in Finland. It was May 26, 2012 that an 18-year-old killed two and wounded seven others when he with two rifles fired on people that had gathered outside a restaurant. The shooter has since been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Things to Do and See
You can find museums and other sights in the modern center of Hyvinkää, where restaurants and shops are. In addition, there are plenty of outdoor activities in the city that always has nature close by.
Villatehdas is the old wool factory in the center of Hyvinkää. The wool production has been discontinued for decades, but the building complex still stands. In fact, today the building houses several companies, showrooms, and even the Hyvinkää City Hall. Ther complex consist of a total of 20 buildings, the oldest of which dates back to 1895.
The Finnish Railway Museum
Officially known as Suomen Rautatiemuseo in Finnish, the railway museum presents the history of the Finnish railways. Its exhibitions include locomotives from different eras of Finnish rail transport and the museum is in possession of the only known Russian royal carriage that has survived to the present day.
The local church in the city, the Hyvinkään kirkko in Finnish, is rather modern-looking compared to many other churches in the Nordic countries. It was built in 1961 and is shaped like a pyramid with a height of 32 meters. It is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
In English the name would be Taika Museum center and it includes the Hyvinkää Art Museum (Hyvinkään taidemuseo) and the Hyvinkää City Museum (Hyvinkään kaupunginmuseo). This is where you will find contemporary art and can learn more about the local history.
Hyvinkään Karjala-seuran museo
The Hyvinkään Karjala-seuran museo, in English the Museum of the Hyvinkää Karelian Society, is a museum showing artifacts that have been donated by the many evacuees that came from Finnish Karelia after the Second World War when the region became a part of the Soviet Union.
Kytäjä-Usmi Outdoor Recreation Area
To the west of Hyvinkää is the Kytäjä-Usmi Outdoor Recreation Area, Kytäjä-Usmi ulkoilualue in Finnish. This is an area with around 40 kilometers of marked hiking trails and several sites for campfires. The area has several trails created also for skiing and cycling.
The Sveitsinpuiston luonnonsuojelualue, or The Swiss Park Nature Reserve in English, is a 270-hectare forested area close to the center of Hyvinkää. There are several hiking paths in the area.
Sveitsi Hiihtokeskus, The Swiss Ski Resort, is a ski center close to Hyvinkää. Five lifts take the visitors up the hill to access the seven prepared slopes. The base is at an elevation of 89 meters, while the top reached 119 meters above the sea. This makes the maximum difference 30 meters in elevation from the top back to the base.
How to Get to Hyvinkää
- Flights: The closest major airport is Helsinki Airport (HEL), 49 kilometers drive away with both domestic and international flights. The local airport, Hyvinkaa Airfield (HYV), is for flying clubs.
- Car: Hyvinkää is along Road E12, between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna.
- Train: Commuter trains connect Hyvinkää with Helsinki and Riihimäki.
The driving distance from 5 major Finnish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Helsinki – 57 kilometers (52 min)
- Turku – 174 kilometers (2 h)
- Vaasa – 369 kilometers (4 h 8 min)
- Oulu – 574 kilometers (6 h 19 min)
- Joensuu – 406 kilometers (4 h 24 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Finland by visiting our page Exploring Finland