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Lahden kaupunki
Lahtis stad
City of Lahti
Lahti centre.JPG
Center of the city
Coat of arms
Chicago of Finland, Business City
Location of Lahti in Finland
Coordinates: 60°59′N025°39′E / 60.983°N 25.650°E / 60.983; 25.650 Coordinates: 60°59′N025°39′E / 60.983°N 25.650°E / 60.983; 25.650
CountryFlag of Finland.svg  Finland
Region Paijat-Hame.vaakuna.svg Päijänne Tavastia
Sub-region Lahti sub-region
Charter 1905-11-01
   City manager Pekka Timonen
 (2018-01-01) [1]
  Total517.63 km2 (199.86 sq mi)
  Land459.47 km2 (177.40 sq mi)
  Water19.53 km2 (7.54 sq mi)
Area rank 191st largest in Finland
 (2021-03-31) [2]
  Rank 9th largest in Finland
  Density261.41/km2 (677.0/sq mi)
Population by native language
   Finnish 95.7% (official)
   Swedish 0.3%
Population by age
  0 to 1414.3%
  15 to 6460.8%
  65 or older24.9%
Time zone UTC+02:00 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+03:00 (EEST)
Municipal tax rate [5] 20.75%

Lahti (Finnish pronunciation:  [ˈlɑhti] ; Swedish : Lahtis) is a city and municipality in Finland. It is the capital of the region of Päijänne Tavastia (Päijät-Häme) and its growing region is one of the main economic hubs of Finland. Lahti is situated on a bay at the southern end of lake Vesijärvi about 100 kilometres (60 mi) north-east of the capital city Helsinki and 74 kilometres (46 mi) east of Hämeenlinna, the capital of the region of Tavastia Proper (Kanta-Häme). It is also situated at the intersection of Highway 4 (between Helsinki and Jyväskylä) and Highway 12 (between Tampere and Kouvola), which are the most significant main roads of Lahti.


In English, the Finnish word Lahti literally means bay. Lahti is also dubbed the "Chicago of Finland" due to the premise of both cities, when they were known as "slaughterhouse cities". [6] [7] [8] Also, the troubled history of both cities in the field of crime has been seen as one of the similarities. [6] [7] [8]

Lahti is a long-time pioneering city in environmental sustainability, dating back to as early as 1990 and before. The European Commission has named Lahti as the European Green Capital of 2021. [9] [10]

The coat of arms of the city depicts a train wheel surrounded by flames.


Lahti was first mentioned in documents in 1445. The village belonged to the parish of Hollola and was located at the medieval trade route of Ylinen Viipurintie, which linked the towns of Hämeenlinna and Viipuri.

Lahti town plan from 1878 by Alfred Caween. Alfred-Caweenin-asemaaka-vuodelta-1878.jpg
Lahti town plan from 1878 by Alfred Caween.
A map of Lahti made by Nils Westermark in 1750-52 Lahti old map.jpg
A map of Lahti made by Nils Westermark in 1750–52

The completion of the Riihimäki – St. Petersburg railway line in 1870 and the Vesijärvi canal in 1871 turned Lahti into a lively station, and industrial installations began to spring up around it. For a long time, the railway station at Vesijärvi Harbour was the second busiest station in Finland. Craftsmen, merchants, a few civil servants and a lot of industrial workers soon mixed in with the existing agricultural peasantry.

On 19 June 1877, almost the entire village was burned to the ground. However, the accident proved to be a stroke of luck for the development of the place, as it led to the authorities resuming their deliberations about establishing a town in Lahti. The village was granted market town rights in 1878 and an empire-style, grid town plan was approved, which included a large market square and wide boulevards. This grid plan still forms the basis of the city center. Most of the buildings were low wooden houses bordering the streets.

Lahti was founded during a period of severe economic recession. The Russian Empire was encumbered by the war against Turkey. The recession also slowed down the building of the township: land would not sell and often plots were not built on for some time. In its early years, the town with its meagre 200 inhabitants was too small to provide any kind of foundation for trade. At the end of the 1890s, Lahti's Township Board increased its efforts to enable Lahti to be turned into a city. In spring 1904, the efforts finally bore fruit as the Senate approved of the application, although it was another eighteen months before Tsar Nicholas II finally gave his blessing and issued an ordinance for establishing the city of Lahti.

At the end of 1905, the area that now comprises Lahti accommodated around 8,200 people of whom just under 3,000 lived in the city itself. All essential municipal institutions were built in just ten years, including a hospital and a city hall. At the same time, a rapid increase in brick houses was taking place in the centre of the city. The Battle of Lahti was fought in the 1918 Finnish Civil War as the German Detachment Brandenstein took the town from the Reds.

In the early 1920s the city gained possession of the grounds of the Lahti Manor, an important piece of land previously blocking the city from the lake. Large-scale industrial operations grew rapidly in the 1930s as did the population; Lahti, at the time, was one of Finland's fastest-growing cities, and before the start of the Winter War its population was approaching 30,000.

Richard Nixon on train in Lahti, 1965. Richard-Nixon-1965-Lahti.jpg
Richard Nixon on train in Lahti, 1965.

Through the addition of new areas in 1924, 1933 and 1956, Lahti grew, both in terms of population and surface area. Especially strong was the growth after the wars, when Lahti accepted about 10,000 immigrants from Karelia, after the region was surrendered to the Soviet Union, and then later in the 1960 and 1970s as a result of mass urbanization. The rapid population growth came to a sharp end in 1975 and the city has since grown clearly slower albeit mostly steadily, with the latest notable growth in population happening in 2016 when the municipality of Nastola became a part of Lahti.

In December 2018 Lahti became the first new university city in Finland after Rovaniemi in 1979 when the Parliament accepted a change in the university law. LUT University nowadays consists of two campuses, Lappeenranta and Lahti.


The terrain of Lahti is dominated by the first Salpausselkä ridge that cuts through the city from west to east. The city is located in the transition from the southern coastal area to the Finnish Lakeland; prominent to the north of the Salpausselkä are rocky hills and fragmented lakes, while its south side is dominated by forests and small rivers. The divide is also apparent in the soil, which mostly consists of till in the north and clay in the south. [11] The biggest lake is Vesijärvi which also is a gateway to the Central Finland via Lake Päijänne. There is also pond called Pikku-Vesijärvi ("Little Vesijärvi") near the Lanu-puisto park. [12]


The area of the city of Lahti is divided in two ways: first, the 40 individually numbered districts (Finnish : kaupunginosa), [13] and second, the 9 greater areas (Finnish : suuralue), which are divided into 41 statistical districts (Finnish : tilastollinen kaupunginosa) and further into 169 statistical areas (Finnish : tilastoalue). [14] The definitions of the districts and statistical districts do not necessarily match each other. Below are listed the districts:


Under the Köppen climate classification, Lahti is right on the boundary between being a humid continental climate (Dfb) and a subarctic climate (Dfc). Summers are generally mild to warm, while winters are cold and snowy.

Climate data for Lahti Laune (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1938- present)
Record high °C (°F)7.5
Average high °C (°F)−3.5
Daily mean °C (°F)−6.4
Average low °C (°F)−9.8
Record low °C (°F)−40.6
Average precipitation mm (inches)48.2
Average precipitation days12.
Source 1: FMI climatological normals for Finland 1981-2010 [15]
Source 2: record highs and lows 1961- present [16]

FMI(record highs and lows 1938-1961) [17]


Sibelius Hall Sibelius Hall.jpg
Sibelius Hall
Church of The Cross Lahden Ristinkirkko 01.jpg
Church of The Cross

Lahti harbors cultural ambitions, manifested notably in the construction of a large congress and concert centre, the Sibelius Hall (2000) by architects Kimmo Lintula and Hannu Tikka. Lahti has one of Finland's most widely known symphony orchestras, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (Sinfonia Lahti), based at the Sibelius Hall, which performs both classical and popular music, notably concentrating on music by Jean Sibelius. The orchestra has won several well respected international prizes.

Lahti's annual music festival programme includes such events as Lahti Organ Festival, a jazz festival held in the city's market square and the Sibelius Festival.

In addition to the Sibelius Hall, other additional notable works of architecture in Lahti are the City Hall (1911) by Eliel Saarinen, the Church of the Cross (1978) by Alvar Aalto, Nastola Church (1804), the oldest church in the city, Joutjärvi church, the City Theatre (1983) by Pekka Salminen, the City Library (1990) by Arto Sipinen, the Piano Pavilion (2008) by Gert Wingårdh, and the Travel Centre (2016) by JKMM Architects. The City of Lahti has also acted as the host city for the international Spirit of Wood Architecture Award, established in Finland in 1999. Some of the prize-winners have received commissions to design small structures in the city; these include small works by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian architect Richard Leplastrier.

Museums and galleries


Ski jumps at the sports centre Lahti skijumps.jpg
Ski jumps at the sports centre
Hiihtostadion, also known as the Lahti Stadium Lahti sports center.jpg
Hiihtostadion, also known as the Lahti Stadium

Winter sports

Lahti has a rich sporting tradition, especially in various wintersports. The city is well known for the annually held Lahti Ski Games (Salpausselän kisat) and the Finlandia-hiihto cross-country skiing contest. It is also the only city to host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships seven times, doing so in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, 2001 and 2017.

Ice hockey

The Pelicans have competed in the top level of Finnish ice hockey, the Liiga, since 1999. Before the new millennium Reipas represented Lahti in top-flight hockey for 50 years. Many former NHL players, such as Janne Laukkanen, Toni Lydman and Pasi Nurminen, have started their careers in Reipas.

Association football

Historically the city's most successful association football club has been Kuusysi. In their golden years lasting from the early 1980s to the 1990s they won five Finnish championships as well as two Finnish Cup titles, with appearances in European competitions each year. Their greatest rivals, Reipas, won a total of three championships and seven cup titles from 1963 to 1978 but diminished in the early 1980s as Kuusysi got stronger.

In the 1990s both clubs ended up in such massive financial difficulties that a merger was executed in 1996, with the newly formed club adopting a new name, crest and colours. FC Lahti has played in the Veikkausliiga since 1999, excluding a season-long visit to the first division in 2011, having placed twice third and appearing in Europe three times.

Other events

The 1997 World Games and the 2009 World Masters Athletics Championships were held in Lahti. For the 1952 Summer Olympics, some of the football matches were played at Kisapuisto.


Lahden yhteiskoulu from 1896 Lahti - yhteiskoulu.jpg
Lahden yhteiskoulu from 1896
Lahti Folk High School Lahden Kansanopiston torni.jpg
Lahti Folk High School

Comprehensive and private education

Lahti has 16 comprehensive schools and eight secondary schools. Comprehensive education is also available in English and Swedish. [25] Lahden yhteiskoulu is the city's only private school offering both comprehensive and upper secondary education.

Upper secondary and vocational education

All four upper secondary schools in Lahti have a specialty: the Lyceum has expertise on subjects such as mathematics and biology, and sports (formerly in Salpauselkä), Tiirismaa focuses on music in association with the Lahti Conservatory, Kannas organises theatre classes and Lahden yhteiskoulu offers an economy-centered class.

Salpaus is an educational consortium owned by the municipalities in Päijänne Tavastia arranging most of the region's vocational education and trade schooling. The privately owned Dila and Lahti Conservatory educate students for healthcare and music-related professions, respectively.

Higher education and LUT University

Lahti's greatest educational assets are the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT as well as also highly valued Institute of Design and Fine Arts, which is a part of LAB University of Applied Sciences.

LUT University offers education in engineering science as well as in business and management. The Institute of Design and Fine Arts has gained international recognition in particular for jewelry and industrial design, while other areas of expertise include metal, woodworking and furniture.

There are two national sports institutes in greater Lahti. The Vierumäki International Sports Institute based in Heinola is the most versatile centre of sports and physical education in the country, operating under the Ministry of Culture and Education. In addition the Pajulahti Sports Institute, located in the district of Nastola in Lahti, is one of the leading sports and training centres in Finland.

Furthermore one of Finland's six multidisciplinary university campuses is based in Lahti. The University of Helsinki's Department of Environmental Sciences is the university's sole science department located outside the Greater Helsinki area.

Lahti - Level of Education.png


The economic region of Lahti, which includes the surrounding municipalities, was strongly affected by the collapse of Finnish-Soviet trade and by the recession in the early 1990s. The value of production slumped, especially in the mechanical engineering industry and other manufacturing industries (e.g. the furniture industry). Production also decreased in the textile and clothing industry. In 1990, there were 90,370 jobs in the Lahti region. The number of jobs diminished over the next couple of years, so that in 1993 there were fewer than 70,000 jobs in the region. The number of jobs had slowly increased to 79,138 in 1999.

Lahti unemployment rate.png

Employment by sector (City of Lahti)1980199020002007
Agriculture & Forestry0.9%0.6%0.1%0.2%

In 1995, R&D expenditure was FIM 715 per person, while Finland's average was about FIM 2050. The amount of Tekes (the National Technology Agency) funding in the Lahti Region grew 40% during 2004–2007 while the average growth in Finland was 60%.

R&D Finland 2005.png

Gross domestic product (Lahti Region)2000200120022003200420052006
GDP at current prices; million €3,449.33,709.73,697.53,982.34,136.84,242.44,381.9
Changes of GDP; year 2000 = 100%100.0%107.5%107.2%115.5%119.9%123.0%127.7%
GDP per capita; whole country =100%80.7%82.0%79.4%84.3%83.9%83.4%81.2%
GDP per employed; whole country =100%86.6%87.3%83.6%88.9%88.7%88.6%87.1%


The city centre of Lahti Centre of Lahti.JPG
The city centre of Lahti

As of the end of March 2021 the population of Lahti was 120,112, making it the 9th largest city in Finland by population. The chart below encompasses the area of Lahti as of 2021.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1975 107 801    
1980 108 631    
1985 108 919    
1990 108 272    
1995 110 038    
YearPop.±% p.a.
2000 111 656    
2005 113 203    
2010 116 582    
2015 118 743    
2020 119 984    
Source: Statistics Finland [26]


Railway station, built in 1935 and designed by architect Thure Hellstrom. Railway station in Lahti of Finland.JPG
Railway station, built in 1935 and designed by architect Thure Hellström.

Local transport

The city is served by 20 local bus lines, most of which are pendulum lines between two different areas via city centre. Bus transport in the Päijänne Tavastia region is organised by the regional transportation authority, known as Lahden seudun liikenne or LSL, and run by several private companies which have bid for the right to run their lines. LSL buses cover all urban areas at 10–20 minute intervals and most nearby municipalities at 30–60 minute intervals.

Lahti is served by VR commuter rail, the Z train to Helsinki and the G train to Riihimäki run hourly. Most services to Kouvola don't have a letter designation and are run every three hours aside from rush hours. There are plans for building two new train stops inside the city limits before 2020, Hennala and Karisto. A local service to Heinola has been proposed but renovating the old line has been deemed too expensive and unprofitable in the long term, unless the Finnish state reaches an agreement with regional councils to finance a direct rail link from Lahti to either Jyväskylä or Mikkeli.

Long-distance transport

Bus station, built in 1939 and designed by architect Kaarlo Kononen. Lahti - Coach station.jpg
Bus station, built in 1939 and designed by architect Kaarlo Könönen.

The city's main transportation hubs are the market square (Kauppatori) and the travel centre (Matkakeskus), with local buses providing a non-stop service between the two. The travel centre, which replaced the old Lahti bus station that had been in use since 1939, was built between 2014 and 2016 around the Lahti railway station by building new local bus stops around the station, a long-distance bus terminal next to the station building and an automated parking facility for commuters.

All local and long-distance trains and buses stop at the travel centre, making it convenient to transfer from one mode of transport to another. The city council has sold the old bus station in the city centre and it will be redeveloped for other uses in the near future.


The asteroid 1498 Lahti was named after the city by its discoverer, the Finnish astronomer Yrjö Väisälä.

The radio masts on top of the Radiomäki are 150 metres (490 ft) tall. [27]

Lahti won the European Green Capital Award of the year 2021.

Notable people from Lahti

International relations

Twin towns—sister cities

Lahti is twinned with: [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Hämeenlinna City in Tavastia Proper, Finland

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Lahti railway station

The Lahti railway station is located in the city of Lahti in Finland.

Nastola railway station

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Reipas Lahti

Reipas Lahti is a sports club in Lahti, Finland. It is involved in various of ball games and also other sports. The club emerged in the late 1940s, when the inhabitants of Viipuri had mostly been relocated in Lahti, after evacuation during World War II. As a consequence, the activities of Viipurin Reipas, which had been founded in 1891, were continued in the new home town of the evacuees. The name of the club was still Reipas Viipuri until 1962, when the ball game section became simply Reipas.


Pikku-Vesijärvi is a pond in Lahti, Päijänne Tavastia, Finland. Its greatest depth is 4.5 meters (1998). Around the pond is an arboretum where is even more than 40 tree species. Also, near Pikku-Vesijärvi is Lanu-puisto, a park where is 12 Olavi Lanu's statues made of concrete. The pond has connection to Vesijärvi. Pikku-Vesijärvi is a popular social spot and is located near to Lahti's center.

Battle of Lahti

Battle of Lahti was a 1918 Finnish Civil War battle, fought from 19 April to 1 May between the German troops and Finnish Whites against the Finnish Reds in Lahti, Finland. Together with the Battle of Vyborg, from 24 to 29 April, it was the last major battle of the war.

Lahti Ski Museum Museum in Lahti, Finland

Lahti Ski Museum is a sports museum located in Lahti, Finland, specialising in skiing and other winter sports. It is situated in the city's main sports complex adjacent to the Salpausselkä ski-jumping venue.

Radio Hill (Lahti) Hill in Lahti, Finland

Radio Hill is a hill located in the city centre of Lahti, Finland. It is part of the Salpausselkä ridge system, with its peak at an elevation of c. 140 metres (460 ft).

Kartano District of Lahti in Päijät-Häme, Finland

Kartano is the 2nd district of the city of Lahti, in the region of Päijät-Häme, Finland. It borders the districts of Niemi in the north, Kiveriö in the east, Keski-Lahti in the south, Salpausselkä in the southwest and Jalkaranta in the west.

Ahtiala is the 13th district of the city of Lahti, in the region of Päijät-Häme, Finland. It borders the districts of Viuha and Seesta in the north, Kunnas in the east, Koiskala in the southeast, Myllypohja in the south and Kytölä in the west.

Vesijärvi railway station Railway station in Lahti, Finland

The Vesijärvi railway station is located in the city of Lahti, Finland, in the district of Kartano. It was one end of the port and industrial siding that branched off of the Riihimäki–Saint Petersburg railway, on the west side of the Lahti railway station.

Uusikylä, Lahti District of Lahti in Päijät-Häme, Finland

Uusikylä is the 36th district of the city of Lahti, in the region of Päijät-Häme, Finland. It borders the districts of Immilä in the north, Villähde in the west and Nastola in the northwest, as well as the municipalities of Iitti in the east and Orimattila in the south.


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  6. 1 2 7 Interesting Facts about Lahti
  7. 1 2 Lahti on Suomen Chicago - syystäkin (in Finnish)
  8. 1 2 Onko Lahti oikeasti "Suomen Chicago"? Poliisi kertoo (in Finnish)
  9. Lahti - European Green Capital 2021
  10. European Green Capital: 2021 - Lahti
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