History Highlights

Katunäkymiä Vaasassa.Taking a peek at the history of Vaasa, you might be surprised: there are many riveting stories to grab your attention. The Vaasa we know today obtained its first characteristics as early as the ice age, but seafarers, patrons of the arts and even the King of Sweden have also left their mark on it and its residents.

Out of the ice and water

About 3,000 years ago, even after the ice age had long departed, the entire Ostrobothnia region was still covered by water. As the land slowly rose back up, people began to settle as islands emerged from the sea. This sheltered place with excellent connections to the world by sea grew into Mustasaari stadh and was later named Wasa. Read more…

Business over the seas

The sea and long traditions in export trade created a foundation for Vaasa’s present-day, exceptionally high export figures. Prominent individuals, such as the shipowner Abraham Falander and the merchant Carl Gustaf Wolff, showed future generations the way to success.  Falander’s frigate Allmänna Bästa was the largest merchant ship of the 18th century, and Wolff owned the largest fleet of commercial vessels and was the richest man in Finland. Read more…

City of Art Collectors and Patrons

This success brought numerous wealthy art collectors to the Vaasa region and they have had a crucial impact on the establishment of various art collections and museums. The National Museum of Finland and the Ostrobothnian Museum would be quite different today if it weren’t for Frithiof Antell, Karl Hedman, Frithiof Tikanoja and Simo Kuntsi. Read more…

Vaasa burns down

On the morning of August the third in 1852, a new leaf was turned in the history of Vaasa when a disastrous fire destroyed the whole town. After the fire, the Swedish architect Carl Axel Setterberg was given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to design the town from scratch. Still today, Setterberg’s hand can be clearly seen in the city. Read more…

Capital of the white Finland

With its broad avenues and lanes that function as fire breaks, Vaasa is the centre of the Ostrobothnia region. Its coat of arms is adorned with Finland’s Cross of Liberty as a reminder of the time the city functioned as the capital of Finland in the spring of 1918. Other reminders of this exciting time, when Finland was taking its first steps as an independent state, include some stamps and banknotes from the bank Vaasan Osake Pankki. Read more…