Espoo, Swed. Esbo, city (1998 pop. 204,962), Southern Finland prov., S Finland, 10 mi (16 km) W of Helsinki. Part of the Helsinki metropolitan area, Espoo saw enormous growth in the late 20th cent., and is now Finland's second largest city. The city has five regional centers, including Tapiola Garden City, an exemplary planned city. Espoo has many high-tech businesses and institutes; the Helsinki Univ. of Technology and Espoo-Vantaa Institute of Technology are there. Notable sights include the city museum and a granite church dating from 1458.

Espoo (ˈespoː; Esbo ([ˈɛsbo]) in Swedish) is the second largest city of Finland, with a population of approximately 240,000. It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen. Other bordering municipalities are Nurmijärvi and Vihti in the north and Kirkkonummi in the west. The national park of Nuuksio is situated in northwest Espoo.

Espoo encompasses 528 km², of which 312 km² are land. The current population is 240,132 (as of 2008-07-31), in Finland second only to that of Helsinki.

Espoo has several local regional centers. Espoo is thus divided into the following major areas: Espoon keskus (also administrative center), Espoonlahti, Kalajärvi, Kauklahti, Leppävaara, Matinkylä-Olari, and Tapiola.

The Helsinki University of Technology is based in Otaniemi, Espoo, along with a thriving science community that includes numerous startups and organizations such as VTT–the Technical Research Center of Finland. Nokia, the telecommunications company, operates from Keilaniemi (and also from Karamalmi), Espoo, along with other high-tech companies such as KONE and Fortum.


The name Espoo probably comes from the Swedish name for the River Espoo, Espå (or Espåå), which in turn comes from the old Swedish word äspe, meaning stand of aspen, and the Swedish word for "river", å. The name was first mentioned in 1431.

The first inhabitants in the area arrived about 9,000 years ago. A permanent settlement was established during the 12th and 13th centuries. The King’s Road that passes through Espoo on its way from Stockholm via Turku to Viipuri dates back to the 13th century. The oldest preserved building in Espoo, the Espoo Cathedral, originates from the 1480s. The administrative center Espoon keskus has grown around the church and the railway station.

In 1920, Espoo was only a rural municipality of about 9,000 inhabitants, of whom 70% were Swedish speaking. Agriculture was the primary source of income, with 75% of the population making their living from farming. Kauniainen (Grankulla in Swedish) was separated from Espoo in 1920, and it gained city rights the same year as Espoo, in 1972.

Espoo started to grow rapidly in the 1940s and '50s. It quickly developed from a rural municipality into a fully-fledged industrial city, gaining city rights in 1972. Due to its proximity to Helsinki, Espoo soon became popular amongst people working in the capital. In the fifty years from 1950 to 2000, the population of Espoo grew from 22,000 to 210,000. Since 1945, the majority of people in Espoo have been Finnish speaking. In 2006, the Swedish speaking inhabitants represented barely 9% of the total population. The population growth is still continuing, but at a slower rate.


Historical population of Espoo
Year Population Year Population
1901 5,888 1975 120,632
1910 7,891 1980 137,409
1920 8,817 1985 156,778
1930 11,370 1990 172,629
1940 13,378 1995 193,754
1950 22,878 2000 213,271
1960 53,042 2006 235,019
1970 92,655 2030 (est.) 305,000
Population by grand district (in 2006)
Area Population Area Population
Leppävaara 58,048 Vanha-Espoo 33,613
Espoonlahti 48,649 Pohjois-Espoo 9,754
Tapiola 41,905 Kauklahti 6,191
Matinkylä 33,613

Population by nationality on January 1 2007 was 95.1% Finnish nationality, 4.9% other nationalities. Religious affiliation was 77.4% Lutheran, 1.3% Orthodox, 1.3% other, 19.9% no religious affiliation.

Espoo contains many high income suburbs, six out of the ten highest average income zip code areas in Finland are in Espoo.


The Melodic Death Metal band Children of Bodom comes from Espoo, Finland. They are named after the mass murder known as the Lake Bodom murders which took place at Lake Bodom, a lake in northern Espoo. The bands Norther and Kiuas also come from Espoo.


Espoo is home to several premier league sports teams. The Espoo Blues play at LänsiAuto Areena in the SM-Liiga - professional ice hockey league. The club was established in February 1984 as "Kiekko-Espoo" and played their first season in 1984-1985 in the Finnish Second Division. In 1988 they achieved a place on the Finnish First Division and in 1992 they celebrated their promotion to the SM-liiga. The club and the team changed their name in 1998. The name came from the dominant colour of their home jersey. The full name of the club is Blues Hockey Oy.

Another sports club from Espoo, FC Honka, is a football club based in Tapiola in southern Espoo. It was promoted into the Finnish premier division (Veikkausliiga) for the first time in its history at the end of the 2005 season. The manager of the club is Mika Lehkosuo, and it plays its home matches at Tapiolan urheilupuisto. Originally founded in 1953 as "Tapion Honka", it changed its name into FC Honka in 1975. FC Honka is largely known in Finland for its extensive youth scheme with over 1000 young players playing in various age groups.

Espoo is the birthplace of 2000 and 2002 World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, current Formula One Champion Kimi Räikkönen and JJ Lehto.


 Espoo Blues
 Ice hockey
 LänsiAuto Areena

 Espoo Blues
 Ice hockey
 Women's SM series
 Laaksolahti Arena

 FC Honka
 Tapiolan urheilupuisto

 Tapiolan Honka
 Tapiolan urheiluhalli

 Espoon Oilers
 Tapiolan urheiluhalli


Sister cities


  • Espoon kaupungin taskutilasto 2007, issued by the City of Espoo, 2007

See also

External links

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