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Otaniemi from the air (1989).
Location of Otaniemi within Espoo
|Inner District(s)||Otaniemi, Keilaniemi|
Otaniemi is the home of the Aalto University engineering schools campus, thus "Otaniemi" is often used as a synonym for Aalto. However, several research and business facilities are also located in Otaniemi. The most prominent institutions for science and engineering in Otaniemi are the Finnish Innovation Center, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and KCL pulp and paper research center of VTT, the Micronova Center of Micro and Nanotechnology, the CSC IT Center for Scientific Computing, the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), and the National Bureau of Measures (MIKES). Business is represented in the area by the business incubator Technopolis. In 2010, Otaniemi became home to Aalto University, formed from the merger of the Helsinki University of Technology, the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and the Helsinki School of Economics.
As late as the 1940s, Otaniemi was part of the Hagalund manor and used as a park and farmland, from where an old linden allée survives. In 1949, the Government of Finland purchased the lands of Hagalund Manor for use as the campus of the Helsinki University of Technology and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. First to be built was the student campus of the Helsinki University of Technology, which also served as one of the Olympic Villages in the 1952 Summer Olympics. Several thousand students currently live in Otaniemi. The region has since been built up around TKK and VTT, and is at the core of Finnish scientific and technological activities.
The area is architecturally unique, boasting buildings designed by leading Finnish architects including Alvar Aalto, Heikki and Kaija Sirén, and Reima and Raili Pietilä. Aalto is an alumnus of TKK, and the designer of both the city plan for the Otaniemi area and the main building of TKK. The area is protected as a national scenic area, representing the modernist and functionalist architecture for which Finland is internationally famous.
Otaniemi hosts a vibrant—and at times rowdy—student community especially concentrated in the several blocks of student housing called Teekkarikylä (Swedish: Teknologbyn, literally technology students' village). Some buildings of Teekkarikylä are owned by the student association of Aalto University AYY; others are owned by HOAS. There are very few non-student apartments in Otaniemi; because almost all inhabitants are students, Otaniemi is technically a low-income area.
Otaniemi has three daycares, a stadium and an indoor arena, a small shopping center with an Alepa grocery store, pharmacy, kiosk, ATM, and hairdresser. The closest general services and shopping centers are in Tapiola. Since 2017, Otaniemi is connected to the Helsinki Metro, and more business is springing up around the Otaniemi metro station.
On 1 January 2010, Otaniemi became home to Aalto University, formed from the merger of the Helsinki University of Technology, the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and the Helsinki School of Economics. Art and business teaching has been gradually moved from Aalto's Helsinki locations to Otaniemi. The name is a tribute to Alvar Aalto, a prominent architect known for his achievements in technology, economics, and art.
Otaniemi is also the location of the Border and Coast Guard Academy. Until 2008, the officer school of the Police College of Finland was also located there.
Research and development
Otaniemi is home to many of Finland's research and development organizations: The most prominent institutions for science and engineering in Otaniemi are the Finnish Innovation Center, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Micronova Center of Micro and Nanotechnology, the KCL pulp and paper research center, the CSC IT Center for Scientific Computing, the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), and the National Bureau of Measures (MIKES). Helsinki University of Technology's 10 national centers of excellence create most of Finland's hi-tech patents within this small area.
Otaniemi has gained international recognition in information and communication technologies thanks largely to Nokia, but it also contains a host of other cutting-edge technology clusters, including mobility-based software and web-ware, as well as nanotechnology and microelectronics. Major companies that have sites in Otaniemi are for instance Tieto and Pöyry.
The Finnish Customs laboratory is located in Otaniemi.