Hospital area – no entrance

Hospital area, no entrance.

Don’t let the old sign disturb you, just continue walking and you’ll find a peaceful headland area right next to Hietaniemi cemetery. There used to be a mental hospital there for over 160 years, but it closed its doors a couple of years ago and now the old main building designed by Carl Ludvig Engel in 1835  – but finished only a year after he’s dead in 1841 – is waiting for a complete renovation and new users. Meanwhile, it houses a kindergarden of Lapinlahti opened last year in 2011, and for a couple of days in August there will be “Do-it-yourself school“, an event part of Helsinki Festival’s program.

The area has a unique, calming atmosphere. The white main building is surrounded by a landscape garden, typical during the 19th century, which was used in the healing process of the patients. The last patients treated in the hospital suffered of eating disorders. But during it’s long history – this oldest mental hospital in Finland – has seen patients of all kind. Also many well known Finns have been treated there: among them Aleksis Kivi (1834-1872), the first significant author to write novels in Finnish language.

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