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For the surname, see Lahti (surname).
Lahden kaupunki
Lahti skyline.jpg
Coat of arms of Lahti
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Finland's Chicago, Business City
Location of Lahti in Finland
Location of Lahti in Finland
Coordinates: 60°59′N 025°39′E / 60.983°N 25.650°E / 60.983; 25.650Coordinates: 60°59′N 025°39′E / 60.983°N 25.650°E / 60.983; 25.650
Country Finland
Region Päijänne Tavastia
Sub-region Lahti sub-region
Charter 1905-11-01
 • City manager Jyrki Myllyvirta
Area (2011-01-01)[1]
 • Total 154.58 km2 (59.68 sq mi)
 • Land 135.05 km2 (52.14 sq mi)
 • Water 19.53 km2 (7.54 sq mi)
Area rank 318th largest in Finland
Population (2014-09-30)[2]
 • Total 103,667
 • Rank 8th largest in Finland
 • Density 767.62/km2 (1,988.1/sq mi)
Population by native language[3]
 • Finnish 95.7% (official)
 • Swedish 0.3%
 • Others 4%
Population by age[4]
 • 0 to 14 14.7%
 • 15 to 64 67.2%
 • 65 or older 18.1%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[5] 19.5%

Lahti (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈlɑxti], Swedish: Lahtis) is a city and municipality in Finland.

Lahti is the capital of the Päijänne Tavastia region. It is situated on a bay at the southern end of lake Vesijärvi about 100 kilometres (60 mi) north-east of the capital Helsinki. In English, the Finnish word Lahti literally means bay.

The symbol of the city depicts a train wheel surrounded by sparkling 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 Vyborg.

Lahti town plan from 1878 by Alfred Caween.
A map of Lahti made by Nils Westermark in 1750-1752.

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.

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.

The city centre of Lahti

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 70's as a result of mass urbanization. The population growth came to a sharp end in 1975 and the city has since grown very little.


Sibelius Hall

Lahti harbors cultural ambitions, and recent years saw the building of a large congress and concert center, the Sibelius Hall. This has sparked much controversy amongst the population, many of whom[who?] feel that the money used for these purposes would be better spent on health care and education. Lahti has one of Finland's most widely known symphony orchestras, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (Sinfonia Lahti), which performs both classical and popular music, notably concentrating on music by Jean Sibelius.

Lahti’s annual music festival programme includes such events as Lahti Organ Festival, Jazz at the market place and Sibelius Festival.


Lahti is best known for its annually held World Cup winter games, the Lahti Ski Games (Salpausselän kisat). Ski jumping events of Lahti Ski Games are part of the Nordic Tournament.

For the 1952 Summer Olympics, it hosted some of the football preliminaries.

The city endeavors for achievements in sport, which has led to such things as the hosting of a World Games event. As of 2010, it is the only city to host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships six times, doing so in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, and 2001.

The city also has an ice hockey team, the Lahden Pelicans, an Association Football (soccer) club, FC Lahti, and a basketball team Namika Lahti. In July–August 2009, Lahti hosted the 18th World Masters Athletics Championships, an outdoor age-group track meet for men and women 35 and over.


Lahden Yhteiskoulu from 1896
Lahti Folk High School

Lahti's greatest educational asset is the highly valued Institute of Design, which is a part of Lahti University of Applied Sciences. The institute has gained international recognition in particular for jewelry and industrial design. Other areas of expertise include metal, woodworking and furniture.

The Faculty of Physical Activity at Lahti University of Applied Sciences offers a bachelor's degree programme in Sports Studies. The Sports Institute of Finland, which is based in Vierumäki near Lahti, is the most versatile centre of sports education in the country. In addition, Pajulahti Training Center, located in the neighboring town of Nastola, is one of the leading sports and training centres in Finland.

Lahti is also the home of Helsinki University's department of Environmental and Ecological Sciences (Faculty of Biosciences). It's the only science department of the University of Helsinki 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 Lahti Region. The number of jobs had slowly increased to 79,138 in 1999.

Lahti unemployment rate.png

Employment by sector (City of Lahti) 1980 1990 2000 2007
Services 52.0% 59.3% 63.5% 72.4%
Industry 47.1% 40.1% 36.4% 27.4%
Agriculture & Forestry 0.9% 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) 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
GDP at current prices; million € 3,449.3 3,709.7 3,697.5 3,982.3 4,136.8 4,242.4 4,381.9
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%


As of 31 January 2012 Lahti’s population was 102 358, making it the eighth largest city in Finland by population.

Population by district 1964 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007
Center (Keskusta) 27,400 21,800 15,600 13,700 17,280 19,778
Laune 13,200 17,100 23,300 22,600 23,670 24,568
Kivimaa–Kiveriö–Joutjärvi 17,100 23,500 20,700 18,300 17,790 16,974
Kärpänen 9,400 7,600 12,800 12,700 11,940 11,612
Ahtiala 4,600 5,100 5,100 9,100 10,500 10,897
Mukkula 1,300 9,100 9,500 8,500 8,120 7,877
Jalkaranta 2,500 1,950 5,600 6,200 6,020 5,852
Kolava–Kujala 900 550 400 300 310 710


Railway station, built 1935 by architect Thure Hellström.

Lahti has a railway station on the Helsinki–Kontiomäki line, between Mäntsälä and Kouvola; before 2006, connections to Helsinki went via Riihimäki. The shortened railway connection is expected to boost the growth of Lahti.

Single ticket Adults Travel time
Helsinki Central Station
13.20 € – 24.10 €
0:50–1:35 h
19.30 € – 25.20 €
1:41–1:54 h
35.00 € – 40.10 €
2:39–3:50 h
63.50 € – 72.00 €
6:37–10:02 h
40.30 € – 48.80 €
3:07–5:19 h
38.70 € – 46.10 €
3:21–4:31 h
Coach station, built 1939 - architect Kaarlo Könönen
Express Bus
Single ticket / Return Adults Travel time
Helsinki Kamppi
20.90 € / 37.70 €
1:30–1:45 h
22.40 € / 40.40 €
1:55–2:05 h
35.70 € / 64.30 €
3:10–3:50 h
74.80 € / 134.70 €
6:50–11:10 h
46.70 € / 84.10 €
4:45–6:05 h
38.70 € / 46.10 €
2:25–3:10 h
Local Buses
Single ticket Adults Children(7-11)
0–6 km
3.20 €
1.60 €
6–12 km
3.80 €
1.90 €

Local buses leave from the market square. Bus stops are on both the Aleksanterinkatu side and the Vapaudenkatu side of the square. See also the Local traffic Trip Planner for Lahti.


Distance by road (km)


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

Born in Lahti[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns—sister cities[edit]

Lahti is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Area by municipality as of 1 January 2011" (PDF) (in Finnish and Swedish). Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "VÄESTÖTIETOJÄRJESTELMÄ REKISTERITILANNE 30.09.2014" (in Finnish and Swedish). Population Register Center of Finland. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  4. ^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Міста-побратими м. Запоріжжя [Twin Cities Zaporozhye]. City of Zaporizhia (in Ukrainian). Шановні відвідувачі і користувачі сайту. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 

External links[edit]