Two czars in Helsinki

Finland was under Russian rule as a Grand Dutchy from 1807 until 1917.

We have some reminders from those times in Helsinki. Here are two ‘things’ named after two of the czars who ruled also Finland.

The statue of Alexander (Aleksanteri) II (lived 1818-1881, ruled 1855-1881) is located on the Senate Square, in front of the Helsinki Cathedral. Alexander II was known as one of the ‘better’ czars, who initiated several reforms increasing Finland’s autonomy from Russia. – He earns a fine statue in the prime location in Helsinki.

20121208-G15-0672-4During the rule of Nicholas (Nikolai) II (lived 1868-1918, ruled 1894-1917) Finland faced a difficult time of oppression  – russification – over almost 20 years from 1899 until we got our independence 1917 (largely due to our resistance to russification). – Maybe it is  quite right to have a bar & cafe boat called Nikolai II floating in an icy harbor of Helsinki. This is the oldest boat built in Helsinki (1903) which is still in operation.


I took both of the pictures handheld during the second weekend of December 2012 with Canon G15.


About Olli Laasanen

Eyes and ears open. New and old. Jobs and hobbies. Pictures and music. Entertaining and serious. Change and stability. Nature and urban.
This entry was posted in Country, Finland, Photo, Travel, Yhteiskunta and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Two czars in Helsinki

  1. rigbyte says:

    What an elaborate assembly of statures… Finland had some very fine craftsmen, it seems, and plenty of money to spend on so much bronze. I’m always astonished at the gigantic egos of rulers who think they’re worthy of such monuments. He must have had many good qualities, or at least excellent health to have ruled for 64 years.
    The boat is in excellent condition considering its age, and appears deservedly modest, compared to the monument. Both photos exploit the advantages of monochrome, the high contrast suggesting the crisp, cold atmosphere.
    What’s the illuminated sign at the top right hand corner? Advertising beer, I suppose. 🙂

    • You can read more about the meaning of the statue of Alexander II here: (I’ve edited my post to include bot the living and ruling times of the czars: Alexander II ruled for 26 years and Nicholas II for 23 years.)

      The sign at the top of the boat picture is the logo of the Finnish pulp, paper and timber company UMP-Kymmene (

  2. rigbyte says:

    Ooops… statues – not statures. And as I’m asking questions, what’s the cute little building wrapped in snow behind the boat?

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