Helsinki’s grand Parliament House has been a part of the city’s landscape since 1931. One of the reasons the Parliament House is so noticeable is because of its position on Arcadia Hill. Town planners originally wanted to build a group of public buildings on the hill, but their plans never made it off paper. Instead, Parliament House stands alone on Arcadia Hill.
Construction on this imposing building started in 1926, and took only five years to complete. The building was designed by the architectural firm Borg-Sirén-Åberg, with most of the credit being given to Johan Sigfrid.
The classic, red granite building was built as a testament to Finnish democracy and independence. Fourteen Corinthian columns line the exterior, and the interior features a few art deco touches. Most of the building’s furniture was designed specifically for the Parliament House. Designers wanted to use as many Finnish materials as possible and used mostly birch, oak and walnut for the furnishings. Two rooms, the Speaker’s Room and the Session Hall, feature some decor made of South American rosewood.
The building was completely refurbished in the 1980s, to give each floor a distinct atmosphere. The first floor holds the lobby, a restaurant, the newspaper room, reception rooms for the Speaker and several offices. The first floor’s features include green-tinged limestone flooring, white marble stairs and gray marble pillars in addition to gray and yellow stucco walls.
The second floor is the Parliament House’s main floor. The Session Hall, Hall of State, Speaker’s Corridor, Government’s Corridor and cafeteria are on this floor along with viewing galleries for the public, media and diplomats. Several varieties of marble were used on the second floor, including Swedish Kolmården, calacata and green stucco.
Committee rooms, media facilities and the Minutes Office are all located on the building’s third floor. Committees also have exclusive use of the Parliament House’s fourth floor. The fifth and sixth floors hold meeting rooms, parliamentary offices and additional media facilities.
Guided tours of the Parliament House are held on weekends. Tours are at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. Tours are also offered at 2:00 p.m. on weekdays during July and August. Visitors are welcome to watch the Parliament in session on Tuesdays and Fridays from the public balcony.
the Parliament House on the map