Espoo

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Espoo (Esbo in Swedish) is a city on the Southern coast of Finland. It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its western border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen. Other bordering municipalities are Nurmijärvi and Vihti in the north and Kirkkonummi in the west.

Espoo encompasses 528km², 312km² of which land. The current population is 227,472 (as of 2004-12-31).

The first inhabitants in Espoo arrived about 9,000 years ago. The permanent settlement was established during the 12th and the 13th century. The King’s Road passing through Espoo on its way from Turku to Viipuri (Vyborg) dates back to the 13th century. The oldest preserved building in Espoo, the Espoo Church, originates from the 1490s.

In 1920, Espoo was a rural municipality with less than 9,000 inhabitants, 70 per cent of whom were Swedish-speaking. Of the whole population, 75 per cent made their living from agriculture. In the 1950s,a period of vivid development set in. The population grew rapidly, the building rate increased and the service trade became the most important source of employment. Espoo received its town charter in 1972.

Due to its proximitity to Helsinki, Espoo soon became popular amongst the people working in the capital. The population grew from 22,000 in 1950 to 210,000 in 2000. The population growth still continues, albeit at a slower rate.

The purpose of the city has always been to preserve nature, while developing, which has led to the creation of several local 'city-centers'. Espoo is thus divided into the following major areas: Espoon keskus, Espoonlahti, Kalajärvi, Kauklahti, Leppävaara, Matinkylä-Olari, and Tapiola.

This decentralised nature has led to Espoo being jocularily called "Finland's only highway with city privileges".

The Helsinki University of Technology is based in Otaniemi, Espoo along with a thriving science community that includes numerous startups and organizations such as VTT - the Techical Research Center of Finland. Nokia, the telecommunications company, operates from Keilaranta, Espoo, along with other high-tech companies such as Kone, Fortum and the mobile telephony branch of Elisa Oyj.

See also

External links

cs:Espoo de:Espoo es:Espoo id:Espoo mi:Espoo nl:Espoo pl:Espoo ro:Espoo fi:Espoo sv:Esbo

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